Sunday, December 4, 2016

Brick Ovens and Pottery Kilns

Long ago, in a faraway universe... I was a potter.  I threw pots on a kick wheel and fired them in a wood-fired kiln that I built.  It was an experience of transformation: soft clay became shapes and fire turned them to stone.

First Oven
Much later, in a universe I presently live in, I built my first brick oven from the salvaged bricks of my original kiln.  I made loaves and baked them in the oven; flour, water, and yeast became bread.

I recently returned from an oven build in North Carolina and stopped in at my friend, Willi Singleton's Pine Creek Pottery in Kempton, PA.  We had been fellow grad students.

Willi has a climbing kiln, sort of the Holy Grail for potters (the way a brick oven is often seen as the Holy Grail for chefs).

oven dome in progress

It reminded me of how similar my present work is to being a potter; rather than throwing curved objects from clay I build curved objects from brick.  Rather than turning clay to stone, I use stone as it is found or worked.

What comes around, keeps going around and for me, is round.

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