Making Our Pots

Materials

 Ballmill used for grinding local glaze materials

Making

Carl working on a water jug

Sarah decorating pitchers

Arthur throwing a tall jar

1 qt. mixing bowls in progress.

Kilns

firing video clip
The groundhog kiln nearing temperature

‘Groundhog’ Kiln

A primitive low-tech kiln design that goes back to Roman times.Brought to America by English brick-maker/potters who settled in the southern Appalachians.

Groundhog kilns are cranky and difficult to fire. The design characteristics that make groundhog kilns inefficient, also result in many pleasant surprises that usually make the trouble worth the effort.

Our groundhog kiln is used for ‘salt glazing’. At the height of the firing (about 2300F) a small amount of salt is introduced into the kiln. The result is a variegated ‘orange peel’ texture with a wide range of colors. This process was discovered in Germany during the Renaissance. Salt glaze has been mostly used for heavy utilitarian ware – like our familiar Early American jugs and crocks.

The ware chamber is 11 feet long, 5 feet wide and 28 inches high. It holds about 400 pots. The kiln is fired with wood and diesel oil. It takes two people about 24 hours to stack and 60 hours to fire, using about two cords of wood and 80 gallons of diesel fuel. The kiln takes a week to cool.


Pots in the groundhog kiln after firing

Downdraft Wood Kiln

      The origin of downdraft kilns is in China, perhaps as early as 500BC. It was one of the Chinese trade secrets that allowed the production of high-temperature stoneware and porcelain (or Chinaware) in China, Korea, Japan and Thailand centuries in advance of Europe.

       Our downdraft wood kiln is used for high-temperature (2300F) glaze ware. The ware chamber is 3.5 feet long, 4 feet wide and 4.5feet high. It holds about 250 pots. The kiln is fired with wood and diesel oil. It takes two people about 12 hours to stack and 60 hours to fire, using about one cord of wood and 60 gallons of diesel fuel. The kiln takes four days to cool.

Ware


A shelf in the showroom

'Basket weave' stoneware jar

1 Gallon bread bowl

A classy spread

'Milk pan' mixing bowls

Special order dinner set

Gravy pitcher

Vase with blue overglaze

Divided serving bowl

Storage jar, salt glaze with scraffito decoration

16oz Mug with finger comb-pattern

9" Pie plate with finger-comb pattern

1 Gallon pitcher with extra 'helper' handle