It Takes a Community to Fire a Kiln....

In her article 'The Picture In the Frame' Joy Schaverien highlights the importance of shared experiences within communities. She uses the gallery, the theatre and the church as examples of spaces where communities come together within a space to then share a collective focus, (the alter or the stage). This focus can become a scapegoat or a talisman for collective emotional energy. I often wonder how the loss of these spaces is affecting our communities.

Woodfiring is often a collective and community activity... its a big space to fill alone and it takes a long time to reach the desired temperature, (kilns fire for anything from 24 hours to weeks at a time depending on the processes being used). So people share space, pack the kiln together, and fire in groups taking shifts so others can sleep. The kiln, as the alchemy takes place, becomes a shared focus- a hearth. There are times of intense work, stoking to reach top temperature, (in this case 1250C) but also periods of quieter time to reflect and consider strategies and processes together. 

I fired my work using the woodfired soda kiln at Guldergagaard. This was the first time I had initiated and taken the lead in a woodfiring, but it was a community event and I was priviliged to have the help, support and knowledge of the other 9 arists resident at Guldergagaard throughout the 30 hour process.

I thought a lot about the new woodfired kiln back home on the Manor Estate and its potential role in an already established community. This will be something to consider as part of my residency.