Friday, November 19, 2010

Wood firing at Clarion University.

Wood firing at Clarion University.

 The site and kiln.

The wood kiln (anagama style was built on the side of a hill located on the far side of Clarion campus beyond the football field.  The clay program is run by "Greeny" Greenberg and the kiln was designed and built by his predecessor, Jim Brashear. 
The kiln is fired at least four times per year or more, depending on Greeny's desire and the availability of interested participants.  I attended the firing that was done late summer and the participants were a collection of a few students, former students, and other potters in the area.  

Most of the pictures were taken by Mark Anderton with some by myself and Lisa Sittig.  Greeny's name is spelled correctly (his official signature on campus documents).  Ignore the misspelling by Mark on some of the photographs.  Mouse-over the photos and click to enlarge for better detail.  Also, if you are interested in participating in a future wood firing, drop Greeny a line to express your interest:

 Greeny and Dr. Karen M. Whitney, the president of Clarion University.  I'll let you figure out who is who. 

 Inspecting the entry fee for the firing.

"Coca-Cola!! Sorry, you failed.  Go home."

 As most of you know, one of the first steps is wadding each piece so it does not stick to the shelves or to other pieces.  Wadding is usually fire clay mixed with sawdust and held in place by glue.

 More wadding and more socializing.

 Potters sometimes have to improvise.

 Chopping wood.  Greeny asked me to help him find an inexpensive, mechanical wood splitter.  Some of his log splitters have aged and they complain too much.  Much of the wood is gathered from trees that have fallen or taken down on campus.

 That is a small door opening to climb through if you ask me.  On the other hand, it does not take long to brick it up.

Ready to load.

Kiln loading.

More loading.

 Loading finally done!

 Hot coals being prepared for the start of the firing.

 Last minute modifications.
 The firing.

More firing.

And more - it gets intense at times.

One log at a time.

Stirring things up.

The blaze.

The flames.

The stack.
Stack, at night.

Night firing 1.

Night fire 2.

Night fire 3.

Night fire 4.

The kiln dog.  Someone got confused and wrote "We need a kiln god", but god came out dog.  Maybe he works better than a clay kiln god.  Anyway, he is Greeny's and he is part of every firing.  He keeps the pests away and nips complainers in the butt.

It takes a whole village to fire this wood kiln.

Workers resting.

"You said, what! I have to go check the cones again?"

The results #1.

The results #2.

Results #3.  

The results #4.

The results #5.  Suspect this was Greeny's.

The results #6.

Essential kiln unloading tool.

The cone packs.  As with many wood kiln firings the temperature and the results vary from firing to firing.  This one turned out well.  Kiln reached Cone 14 at the back and that is where the porcelain was stacked.

Greeny's tired and it's time to go home.
Good job girls and guys!


  1. The wood fire with Greenie/Greeney/Greeny/Greene is always a great time. His wit and knowledge about the procedure is a gift for all those in attendance. Looking forward to the next one.
    Thanks Greeny

  2. That teapot Greeny is holding was made by me, Chelsey Albert. The Greeny firings are always what I look forward to and will definatly will be at the next one! Just wanted to set the record straight.


  3. Thanks for the feedback, Chelsey. I think I made the assumption because Greeny seemed to be admiring it but that is why Greeny is Greeny, because he can admire other's work too - not just his own! By the way, I liked it too. Keep up the good work.

  4. just lovely!!! your photos left me feeling nostalgic for days past - your pieces look great - hope i can make it back for another firing some day *)