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Ground Breaking

Reuse, recycle, reduce. We hear these ideas all the time and I tend to think they are good ones. It comes in especially great when someone gives me an old kiln.  That is exactly what happened when the electric kiln that we used for cone 6 glaze firing gave up the ghost at Callanwolde. It’s a good size kiln, much bigger than my electric kiln but I’m not interested in rewiring this one. You may remember I did that with my electric kiln when I installed the kiln sitter (you can read about that here) which I got from another free kiln.

My plan for this kiln is to make it a reduction kiln since that is the look I like best for my pots. I am even considering adding a stoke hole so I can feed some small piece of wood into the kiln for some ash and wood effects.

Before I can start converting it into a gas kiln I need to build a kiln shed. My current kiln room is fine for the electric kiln but it’s too crowded to add flame to the mix. I’m designing a simple lean-to type shed that will have a m…

Opening the Penland Wood Kiln

Peter Callas taught the session 5 workshop which culminated in wood kiln firing.  I love wood fired pottery, I love firing the kilns, and of course, unloading them.  I had to show up for at least some of the unloading, even if I didn't have any work in the kiln.

Peter Callas unloading the Penland anagama by Lori Buff
Peter Callas Examines His Pot

Everything that I saw came out great.  Some of the pieces did need some sanding, that's not unusual in a wood firing.  Some were perfect just as they were.  Peter commented to the class that all of the pieces that moved in the firing had the wadding glued on to the pot.  If the wadding was stuck on while the pot was loaded it held still in the firing.  Wadding is a mixture of water, clay and alumina hydrate that is put on the pot (usually on the foot) to prevent the pot from becoming glazed onto the self.  It's used in wood, salt, and soda firings mostly since pots in these types of firings are glazed inside the kiln by the wood ash, and/or the salt and soda.  The heat and flame does cause an effect like wind which can cause a pot to move.  If a pot moves and touches another pot they kiss and are fused together.

Unloading the Penland wood kiln by Lori Buff
Inside The Wood Kiln

Later we hiked around the Penland campus, saw a mother deer and her fawns heading down to Jane Peiser's studio.  Those deer have great taste in art.

Since it's the end of a session an auction was held.  The auction helps fund the scholarship programs and consists of work from the sessions students, instructors and some local artists.  It's also a really good time.  We had dinner in the Pine's dining hall and then went up to the auction with a bottle of wine and some friends.  It was a fun time as promised and we came away with a few very nice pieces that were a really good deal.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff


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