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wood kilns in urban area

updated mon 4 nov 02


Kurt Wild on sat 2 nov 02


At 06:37 AM 11/2/02 -0600, you wrote:

A great post to Clayart - very informative and should be of help to both
institutional potters and non as well.
>Giving away some nice mugs every once-in-awhile to the administration =
>and physical plant guys is a nice gesture just as some of you do with =
>your neigbors...................

A very good idea and a practice which I followed for years - my biology
prof son has followed my lead with favors and small gifts to maintenance
people and others on his campus. That practice has served him well
also. I now have a computer tech that I met at the university who now
comes to help me privately because I treated him right - like a human being.


Karen Terpstra on sat 2 nov 02

I just got into the Beecher/wood kiln posts this week and hope the best =
for her. Sending $10 today.

Institutions have similar scenarios as Susan. I have heard of many =
campus situations where they are shut down or not given approval. Here's =
our situation with a 200 cu ft wood kiln in the middle of campus (9000) =
and in the middle of the city of La Crosse (50,000)....and I hope our =
situation remains a positive one!!!

We first built a small train kiln half the size. I had the approval of =
the art department---if administration would approve. Administration, =
the Deans, told me I had their approval---if the Heads of the Physical =
Plant approved. This included Safety, Building and Grounds, and =
Security (they patrol the campus at night, work with city police and =
fire dept.) =20

The Director of the Physical Plant told me they would all approve---if =
the City of La Crosse would approve. We arranged a meeting with the =
appropriate people on campus and invited a representative from the La =
Crosse fire dept and planning/zoning office. =20

We met at school on location. I had the plans of the kiln in =
professionally as I could make them. I showed them exactly where the =
kiln was to be built, how often it would be fired, who would fire it, =
who would manage the firings and shift changes I had Jack Troy's book =
"Wood Firing Porcelain and Stoneware with me. I showed them pictures of =
other wood kilns on college campuses and explained the validity for =
student learning. They had a short lesson in Wood Firing 101.

Then it was question and answer time. I had to explain the workings of =
the chimney and dampers and how I expected to control the flame (that's =
another post). When asked what kind of emissions would come from the =
chimney the Safety manager answered for me and said that it would be =
minimal, what would come from it would dissipate quickly and the kiln =
was the required distance from the building.

The Zoning representative approved since the kilns was to be built in a =
"learning institution" setting. If it were for a private individual the =
answer would have been "no". The fire department representative asked if =
he could participate in our first firing.

After 2 years, we realized the train kiln was too small for our program. =
I called the Physical Plant and asked if I could build a larger one. =
We had another meeting and discussed plans etc. There was no need to =
call the city according to them since we had prior approval. They gave =
me their blessing. =20

Am very fortunate to have the support that I have on this campus. =
However I take great pains to insure that it stays that way. I know how =
volatile this situation could be.

We keep the place neat and tidy. We call the physical plant before each =
firing so if they get phone calls about smoke they know what's going on. =
We anally stack wood in very neat piles, clean up immediately after a =
firing. We are a "dry" campus. No one drinks alcohol around the kiln. =
No one comes to the kiln (even to watch) with alcohol on their breath or =
they are asked to leave. If I am not there, I make sure the student or =
person in charge can handle that situation. =20

We have learned to fire WITHOUT a 5 foot flame or any show of fireworks =
coming out of the chimney. Any guest artist or student that does this =
is not invited back for the next firing. I think I'll put more about =
this in another post. I hate looooong posts.

Giving away some nice mugs every once-in-awhile to the administration =
and physical plant guys is a nice gesture just as some of you do with =
your neigbors.

happy firings,

karen terpstra
La Crosse, WI