If you follow me on Instagram (@annieoclay), you probably know I have a passion for wood-firing. That passion is always there, smoldering in the back of my heart and mind throughout the year between firings. It fully ignites when I have a firing on the horizon, or in this case, just past.
Recently I had the opportunity to fire with renowned Montana wood-firer, Tara Wilson, thanks to the Washington Clay Arts Association. As part of the WCA's annual Summer Social, we teamed up with Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA, to host a workshop for WCA members, with Tara as our fire master. What a time we had! The weather was wild: cold, windy, hot, windy, cold, windy, windy. Did I mention windy? The participants varied in experience level, from newbies to experienced wood-firers. The anticipation, camaraderie and cooperation created a delightful firing atmosphere, despite the challenges we encountered along the way. Midway through the firing we struggled to even the heat of the kiln. The front roared beyond where we wanted, while the back remained too cool. Eventually we succeeded in balancing things out with a little Tara Wilson know-how, and we managed to get the back of the kiln up to a solid Cone 10 (which was our goal, although up front, Cone 11 was a puddle and we hit 2460 on the pyrometer). The roaring temperatures made for a lot of group sculptures, and the broken shelf in the front section didn't help those pots any, but there were some mighty fine survivors, and I think the newbies are hooked!
Thank you, Any Guelmann, for the slow-motion stoking video!
Ann Marie Cooper
Consumed by a love of clay.