The students are fabulous at problem solving. Alexandra took her knowledge of wood burning stoves to set up a schedule for the second team to mix the oak and the scrap wood for optimum heat and then for the third team, Monique designed a sandwich of a layer of poplar or pine, then oak, and then a layer of poplar and pine again. The temperature rose nicely but stalled and then we used only a mixture of poplar and pine to finish the firing. Ms Zhang cannot wait to open the kiln; she noticed all the beautiful colours in the ember bed. And once again we are all grateful to Keith and his table saw and Matt for bringing batteries that worked for the Oxyprobe. All of the students showed up and the first entry in the log book showed that the temperature today was warmer than when we fired in October. The wind wasn’t a problem either. The only nuisance was the damp.
Wool really helped! There was food and laughter and well…did I say blessed? We will open the kiln together on Friday but it is hard to wait. Oh, and leave it to Monique – she decided to burn an entire pallet!
The students in the wood fire class at the School of Art fired their first kiln load a month ago. It was so cold that day and the wind just whipped through our coats right to the bone with a sharp chill. It is hard to believe but it will actually be warmer in Winnipeg tomorrow when this kiln is fired. How many times have I said that we are blessed?
The students did a great job. Julia cleared the entire kiln courtyard of snow before Monique and Kendra started loading. Jiawei, Kewan, and Hyounjung helped to sort all of the work and everyone pitched in wadding work if it needed it. We loaded the kiln keeping in mind that The Laidback Wood Fire book by my friend Steve Harrison says to place the bag wall in the front. Markus Bohm puts it at the back and in the end Steve has abandoned a bag wall altogether and gone with a tight stack in the middle. Ours is a combination of all of those. Pots were placed in the extended throat to slow and move the flames about. Kewan’s arches are helping to keep the flames contained on the floor at the back and on the first shelf. We listened and did not load the top as tight as we did before and there is room all around for the flames to travel. Fingers crossed. These students have worked hard and learned a lot – although I doubt if they fully comprehend all that they have learned yet. Sara, Anastasia, and Alexandra put the finishing touches on bricking up the door. It all starts in the wee hours of the morning when Sara does the gas pre-heat. Stay posted…firing pictures to follow on Sunday. We unload the kiln on Friday with high hopes.
The permit is in hand, the materials are on site or on their way, and excitement is beginning to stir. It is just 16 days away from the first day of the wood kiln workshop at the School of Art, University of Manitoba. I have opened up 2 additional spaces for another lucky 2 people to join us. If you know of anyone, please let me know. The fee is $325 – a bargain. If you are coming from out of town, there is accommodation at St John College for $55 per day and that includes three meals. Feel free to contact me for further information or any questions you might have. It is a great group coming from Budapest, Vancouver, Maple Creek, Red Deer and Winnipeg!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.