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Firing Log

ancient kiln | 21st century logbook

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November 26, 2006

Snow Day

Filed under: Firewood,General,Kiln Cats,shed,Studio — odin @ 4:51 pm

Winter has arrived somewhat earlier than normal — the snow has been falling since morning and there is no sign it will be letting up soon. It’s very pretty though and of more importance, the white blanket has relieved me from raking duty (the front yard is covered with bits of bark and wood chips from my latest wood chopping session — all of which are now happily hidden from view):

anagama kiln/studio and front yard covered in snow enlarge

While outside, the wind blows, tarps flap, and the shed rattles, inside is warm and cozy. The kiln cats are especially fond of the stove although after snapping this shot, I moved Stripe back from the fire a bit. Cats are flammable after all, and they are worringly inclined to snuggle right up to the glowing ceramic briquette (this shot is actually from yesterday but it snowed yesterday as well):

Kiln cats Stripe, Spot, and Little Nugget enjoy the fire enlarge

A word about the heater. I used to have a “Dyna Glo” heater which looked very similar to this one. Apparently however, it was designed to accept fuel only from the small disposable bottles. After 1.5 seasons of use connected to a 20 pound propane tank, it quit working altogether.

My new stove is a “Mr. Heater” and it’s designed to use propane from a bulk tank. As with any Mr. Heater device though, it’s rather noisy — it hisses quite a bit on the “high” setting, but tolerably so. On the “low” setting however, it makes such a painful high pitched whistle that I’ve decided the stove is either on “high” or “off” — “low” is unusable. Nothing is perfect: the Dyna Glo is quieter but only works with disposable bottles. The Mr. Heater is noisy but works with bulk tanks. Now, if someone would just build a quiet heater that could be connected to a 20# tank, I’d pay double!

And on the topic of fuel sources and payment — here is a shot from inside the studio looking out on the last few bits of the woodpile before I chopped it up. The payment? My wrists and fingers hurt after excessive bouts of repetitive stress, e.g., chopping wood. I think the picture is pretty though:

Firewood pile outside studio at anagama kiln enlarge

November 18, 2006

Podcast: Australian Woodfire with Steve Harrison

The second podcast is finally complete and well worth a listen. Settle in for a fascinating discussion after which you may wish to give yourself some quality time with google as well as the links below. Download episode two directly, or through iTunes (mp3, 55mb, 60:00 min).

portrait of steve harrison, australian woodfire potter Image courtesy of Arthur Rosser.

Steve Harrison is a potter from Australia with decades of woodfire experience under his belt, plus an obvious love and ability for the geological sciences as applied to ceramics. To understand the breadth of his experience, take a peek at his CV, or consider that he is currently firing work in a kiln he built himself out of bricks that he made from local materials; the pottery fired in the kiln is made of clay he collects locally, glazed with materials he collects locally, and fired with wood grown locally.

bowl made from steve harrison's black magic clay body photo gallery of Steve Harrison’s work, bricks, and kilns. Photo courtesy Michael Bradfield.

His work is shown (and available for sale) at the Legge Gallery in Sydney Australia. During the course of the podcast, Steve discusses his current showDirty Little Secrets” and how he developed the clay body used to create these examples of black-bodied ware (as well the white porcelain work represented in a prior show “From the Ground Up“). His recent work is influenced by the way “perfection” has been devalued by modern manufacturing techniques. You can read more in an article he wrote entitled: Perfect Is the New Junk (pdf, © Steve Harrison, used here with permission).

Steve’s kiln building/rock glaze books are available directly from him. Additional photos of his studio, kilns, and work can be seen on his Sidestoke page. Lastly after talking with Steve, I had much to google. Here are some of the more interesting things I picked up:

I think you will find that Steve’s interview, aside from being interesting and entertaining (Steve has a great sense of humor), will foment a storm of ideas. Enjoy.

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