Wood and Soda Fired Pottery

Brick by Brick

It has been one never ending pile of bricks for me over the last few weeks.

As mentioned in the last post, I was hired to build a new soda kiln for the good folks at the Odyssey Center.  This particular kiln is a cross draft soda kiln, about 15 cubic feet of stacking space, fired with natural gas and forced air burners.  The building week went well, and now there is a shiny new kiln sitting ready for the first firing coming soon.  Hopefully sometime next week we’ll get to fire it, and then right after that it will be fired again for the class I’m teaching there.

My nine week class was designed to talk a good bit about kiln-building, but also to talk about and explore the process of actually firing a soda kiln.  Of course I’m doing some wheel throwing demos, but so far a lot of  the class has been talking about bricks and coatings for bricks, and what happens inside the kiln during the firing.  It will be good to get some real live firings going so we have some physical evidence to look at.

In the “down time” after finishing the building of the new kiln, I went up the mountain to tear down my old wood kiln.  Of course, the wood kiln was not all that old but the time had come.  I built the wood kiln in 2007 knowing that I would almost certainly take it down before it had reached the end of its life.  Being a wood and soda kiln, I had taken measures to ensure I could move it, brick by brick, to a new location without it being stuck together from the sodium build-up.

So for now the bricks are piled upon pallets, under a new roof, awaiting a new life in a different shape perhaps.

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