Those of you reading my blog know that the idea for the new Bourry Box kiln came because there was a need for a ‘learning’ kiln. A kiln that is easy to load, clean, fire and that can be fired numerous times in a short period of time to cone 13/14 and by one or two persons. We just about did it. The bagwall will be adjusted, new shelves will be ordered (please don’t use old soda kiln shelves), and a nice coat of Adobe will be spread. Anyone have any ideas what colour we should tint that Adobe? And we need some new insulating bricks for the door – we used the ones we had but it takes far too long to mortar them if they are broken.
The kiln requires a proper shed or it will simply deteriorate. Putting a temporary one up is an option but then people begin to see that this might work and they give up on building one that would cover the space, the ware carts, and the students when they are loading and firing. Hopefully, we will have this before winter sets in. Then the lever and pulley system can be installed allowing for one person to fire. But, we also need to figure out a way to safely pre-heat the kiln in a public setting. But, for now, this chimney needs to be attached to the building!
The kiln went up as Markus and I had planned and as we knew that it would. But others were caught off guard. You cannot mortar a proper chimney and weld all of the metal supports in two days. It simply cannot happen with other demands such as the welding of the fibre board firebox lid. And then if the scaffolding company comes and you haven’t finished, well…I can’t do a tell-all in my blog because in about a year the story of this kiln is going to appear in Ceramics Monthly and, hopefully, it will help others planning a community build. What I will continue to do is to praise the participants who signed up to learn and help; they were very thankful and repeatedly told me and Markus what a good experience this was. As I have said many, many times in this blog, it was their motivation, respect, and desire to build something the right way that made this possible (and, of course, Markus).
For now, though, I have to move on. The ashes from the first firing have been fathered (yes I wore one of those horrible masks) for experiments with Nuka glazes. I am going to go and see my friend Gunda Stewart in Canyon, BC in mid-July. She has a beautiful manibigama kiln and her wood-fired domestic vessels are solid. Then it is Guldagergaard and finally, The Third European Wood Fire Conference is in Le Borne, France at the end of August. Check it out. Paul Davis is giving a workshop on Oribe at Sturt (Australia) in early July (won’t be there but some of you might be able to jump on a plane; there are a few spaces left). There are lots of things happening around the world within the wood fire community.
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!
My e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
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.
Richard Selfridge arrived in Canada in 1969 to pursue a PhD in Political Science. A native of Seattle Washington, he first studied at Washington State University leaving the United States just before completing his PhD dissertation in Political Philosophy. Selfridge taught at the University of Alberta for four years. He became a Canadian citizen in 1974.
Richard Selfridge never intended to become a potter. But life has a way of throwing curve balls at each of us. “Happy Accidents” was what Paul Soldner used to call them. In between his studies, Richard met Carol and his interest in ceramics began. In 1973 he took his first pottery lessons with David Green, one of the individuals behind the formation and an instructor for the Edmonton Potters Guild. These early classes were followed by specialized
studies at the Banff Center with Wayne Ngan, Walter Keeler, Tom Coleman and Janice Tchalenko, amongst others. A year later Richard built his first electric kiln with a single chamber downdraft gas kiln quickly following in 1975. He was hooked on clay! Carol and Richard are both interested in clay, its form and its functionality. At the same time, they are passionate about experimenting with different firing temperatures and glaze effects. The couple built a two chamber cross draft gas and wood-fired salt chamber kiln in 1980 while continuing to fire their majolica in the electric kiln. In 2001, they built a wood-fired coffin kiln. Since 1974 their work has been a joyful collaboration.
The duo taught at the Student’s Union at the University of Alberta in the 1970s, later teaching for the Extension Division of the University of Alberta. Carol was a high school art teacher in Vancouver and Edmonton from 1969-74. Her interest in the figure and drawing have been furthered by workshops at Red Deer College, The Banff Center, and the University of Alberta. In addition to more than 250 international exhibitions, Richard and Carol have also taught workshops across Canada and internationally while still finding time to host two annual studio sales per year since 1974. The pair received major grants from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and the Edmonton Arts Council. They are nothing short of prolific in their output and the generosity with which they share their knowledge of firing effects and glazing. Their work was part of the prestigious Claridge Collection.