The Kiln Project
What am I building?
I am currently in the process of building a kiln which will be fired using only wood as fuel. There are many types of wood-fired kilns for pottery, but I have based the design of mine on a Japanese anagama kiln.* My kiln will be composed of hard firebricks which are designed to withstand very high temperature (over 2400 degrees F). Its main ware chamber will be insulated with ceramic fiber and a fireclay mixture.
Why am I building it?
I am building this kiln for multiple reasons. First, it will be significantly larger than the electric kiln that I am currently making work with. The size of my wood-fired kiln will allow me to create pots which are up to 4.5 ft tall and wide. There will also be plenty of room for smaller decorative and functional pieces. Second, the wood kiln will allow me to create pots with uniquely rich visual and tactile qualities. The types and amounts of wood used to fire a kiln, and the movement of air through a kiln are all critical variables which can be changed to determine the results of a firing. For example, during a firing wood ash is distributed onto the pots throughout the ware chamber. This ash ultimately melts at peak firing temperature, creating an earthy glaze on the pots.
When will it be finished?
I am working hard to finish building my kiln as soon as possible. Once the kiln is built, I will need to ensure that I have enough pottery to fill it up! I would like to fire the kiln for the first time before the end of of 2021.
Wood firing philosophy.
My goal as a wood firing potter is to learn how to use my kiln as a tool to create desirable effects on my pots. At the same time, I will do my best to relinquish my expectations and embrace unforeseen results. The balance of control between a potter, their kiln, and their materials is what drives creativity in the wood firing process.