The Rocky Road to the New Kiln

The old train kiln’s chimney was leaning like the tower of Pisa and, in fact, Markus Boehm called it the ‘Pisa chimney’ quite often as he thought about the design for our new wood kiln at the School.  The brief was:  had to be able to be fired by only 1 or 2 students in a period of time that they were not exhausted plus some ash effects.  The old kiln was worn out, its bricks had expanded and contracted and without mortar, it was leaking air like a sieve.  The last firing that the students did with Martin Tagseth’s special workshop for the Ceramics Club took around 48 hours but the temperature was uneven with the front reading cone 8/9 and the back cold and the work oxidized.  Our director, Paul Hess, had already decided it was time for a new one in the fall of 2017.

Through a series of events, the School wound up having to get a permit at the 9th hour.  Kudos to Scott Shank, Andrew Sinclair, and the amazing structural engineer whose name I forget (complete apologies).  They took Markus’s sketch, turned it into a detailed drawing and it was stamped by the engineer and presented to the City of Winnipeg for approval.  This was May 11.  Our workshop starts on June 21.  We need materials!  What if we didn’t get our permit?  Some of the participants already had their airline tickets.  I never thought of myself as too anxious a person but this was beginning to cause me to worry.  There were quite a number of people holding their breath.  We kept the faith.  Chris Pancoe ordered the materials that Markus had specified.  Some were coming from Georgia in the US.  The rail strike lingered but was resolved.  Whew!  Everything just seemed like it might be going our way.  Accommodation for the workshop participants was found at St John’s College.  Now, where can you stay for $55 a night including 3 meals?  [They are even making box lunches for the five of them so that they can work through the standard time and not have to leave the construction site.]  The permit came the third week of May.  Materials were to arrive June 18 and 19 – and they did!  It all came together.  The workshop participants arrived from across Canada and from Winnipeg, many current or former students of either the School of Art or the Faculty of Architecture.  They are a great team.  It was inspiring to watch them learn from and work with Markus yesterday.  Stay posted.  The logs arrive today for our firing of the kiln on Thursday the 28th.  I will keep you posted on the progress.

 

One space in the kiln building workshop opened up!

Sadly, one of our participants is unable due to an illness in their family.  So if you have been hoping to be part of this amazing workshop with Markus Boehm and missed out, now is your chance.  The cost is $325.  If you are coming from out of town, we have arranged accommodation and three meals per day at St John’s College for only $55.  What a bargain!  And their food is good, too.  Best on campus most days.

So get in touch:  maryannsteggles@icloud.com

Julia Nema, Budapest ceramic artist, will join Markus Boehm in Winnipeg to build the new wood kiln for the School

Julia Nema is one of the most respected wood fire potters.  She has a studio in Budapest and was recently featured in an article ‘Welcome to Budapest’.  Julia has been firing her work in a Phoenix Fast Fire Kiln.  She now needs to build a new kiln in an urban area, so she is joining us to learn how to build this smokeless kiln designed by Markus Boehm.

I am so pumped that she will be able to join us.  You can check out her work online.  Really beautiful dinnerware used by some of the finest restaurants in the Budapest.  If you go to Budapest, please check out her studio.  And if you are thinking about joining us for the wood kiln building workshop and firing from June 21-30, she is another reason to come.  We had two cancellations so spread the word there is now another opportunity if you thought you missed out!  Contact me:  maryannsteggles@icloud.com

Photo credit:  LB9 kep

Kiln Building Workshop with Markus Boehm, School of Art, U of Manitoba, June 21-30

The School of Art at the University of Manitoba is hosting a Bourry box kiln building workshop with Markus Boehm from June 21-30.  It will be a one cubic metre kiln and participants are asked to bring pieces for the firing.  The fee is $325.  Spaces are limited and are on a first come basis.   Please e-mail me of your interest:   maryannsteggles@icloud.com

 

Markus Boehm lives in Alt Gaarz, Germany where he has his studio and a sales shop and gallery.  In 1989 he passed the rigorous state examinations of the GDR to receive his master potters certification.  Boehm was the driving force behind the First European Wood Fire Conference in Brollin, Germany in 2010, an event that was so successful it spread to Denmark for 2014 and to France for August 2018.

 

You know those days when you feel like you should buy a lottery ticket? Today feels like that for me. I want to share some upcoming events that are so ‘hot’ they don’t have confirmed dates yet.

The first is news of a really big event.  The last two weeks of June, Master Potter Markus Boehm from Germany will be with us.  For years I have been advocating for a wood kiln that was for the students, one that could be fired by a single person achieving the level of ash that would put a smile on your face without using so much wood and without having to be fired for 46 hours.  Well, we are going to build it!  A state of the art smokeless Bourry Box kiln that will reach cone 14 in 14 hours using only two cubic metres of hardwood logs.  Honestly, you can knit a sweater while firing this kiln.  Good for one person, great for a group, too.   I will be putting out the call for 10 workshop participants.    It will be 10 days and will include a firing.  I need individuals who are keen to learn how to put German engineering into wood kiln design and who are not afraid of long days, sweating, learning a heck of a lot, and walking away with some nice wood fired pieces.  Final dates and workshop costs will be forthcoming.

Bob Archambeau has been with the School of Art for 50 Years.  In the late fall, the School of Art Gallery at the University of Manitoba will be holding a retrospective of Archambeau and his work.  I will be curating this special exhibition and will be looking for work of Bob’s dating from 1968 to 2008 as well as historic photographs and great stories about Bob as a teacher and potter to go into the catalogue.  Stay tuned as Paul Hess and I work towards finalizing dates.

Ceramics Club at the University of Manitoba will be holding their spring sale in mid-April.  Watch this site for dates and times.

And two articles of mine were published.  One features Joo Young Han (Grace Han), Onnghi Master and recent MFA graduate from the School and is in the latest edition of New Ceramics (Neue Keramik) and Markus Boehm:  East German Master Potter Adapts to Changes since the fall of the wall in Ceramics:  Art and Perception.  Also, Grace Han will be featured on a short documentary by the CBC.  I will try to get the dates and times it will be shown.  Congratulations Grace!