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wood kilns revisited: spiritual aspects

updated thu 16 feb 06


Elizabeth Priddy on wed 15 feb 06

The reason this came about is due to a desire
to respond to this environment.

The dropped ash and crusty bits from the wood
firing constantly remind me of the ten foot zone of
shell debris that you have to cross to get to the
smooth sand at the ocean. I want to encrust the
shoulders of pots and fire that beautiful but painful
debris into glaze.

If it were to go to cone ten, it would all go away.
I have tried it. Sand and shell debris survive to
about cone 6 and then they turn into crumbles
of ash.

So to keep them I need to keep the temperature

And then there is the second part of the ocean that
I want to put into my pots. After storms here, the
streets are lined with salt water soaked tree debris.
All the wood you could ever need. We have a hard
time getting rid of it in fact. I want to gather it and
cure it out and fire with it. It will be an impure fire at
best, and possibly a salted one whether I like it or not.

Then there is the pallet factory, for back up on blessed
years with no storms.

So I want to incorporate my environment into my pots,
put a little of here into a little of me and a little kiln and
make some beautiful things for people to take back off
with them.

I like the spiritual aspect of using fire to fuse wind and sea
to earth. I think these will be beautiful pots, on many
many levels. Hopefully, they will be attractive as well.

The sand and shells encrusted in these pieces should also
have colorant activity with the glaze as well, as the trace
chemicals in the bits influence the glaze.

I have been advised that shino may be the way to go, so
it will be a truly strange amalgam of current and past work.

I am not looking for the traditional wood fired look. Far from it,
having been raised with tobacco spit glazed pots around, my
aesthetic is unmoved by the romance of it. I might be getting
something similar in the end, and I might have to educate my
buyers about what I am getting at, but I think you have to
respond to your personal surroundings to really find your
most beautiful work. This is why I have always tried to encourage
my students to work with what they have instead of moaning
ther fate of having to fire electric instead of gas, or gas instead
of wood, or wood instead of raku. Whatever you have as your
limiting ingredient is the thing somebody else yearns for.

Just thought I would share the more ephemeral aspect of why
I want to work with a little wood kiln, as I did the practical aspect
in my earlier post about not working well with others.

Because it all had to be true in order to make this happen.
And it is very exciting.


mel jacobson wrote:
remember, there are all kinds of wood fuel kilns.
all sizes and shapes.

elizabeth has a great idea to fire to cone 6 with
her own glazes. she can do that without any suffering.
she has a source of free wood. we are going to work
out a plan together.
no big deal.

Elizabeth Priddy

Beaufort, NC - USA

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