Anagama kiln at Tye River Pottery filled with very large pots featured in this show.

Anagama kiln at Tye River Pottery filled with very large pots featured in this show.

The dimension of the kiln at Tye River were recreated by the potters in the District Clay Gallery with the pots repositioned as they were during the actual firing.

The dimension of the kiln at Tye River were recreated by the potters in the District Clay Gallery with the pots repositioned as they were during the actual firing.

The four potters made very large pots for this show. Very large pots are inherently more prone to shattering because of their large size. Pictured here are Adam McNeil, Noah Hughey-Commers and Kevin Crowe.

The four potters made very large pots for this show. Very large pots are inherently more prone to shattering because of their large size. Pictured here are Adam McNeil, Noah Hughey-Commers and Kevin Crowe.

While every inch of the kiln is utilized - the kiln is fired only twice a year - it is the placement of the pots, their relation to one another and to the wood fire itself that determines the success of a piece. In this photo, Adam McNeil, Kevin Crowe and Noah Hughey-Commers evaluate the placement so far.

While every inch of the kiln is utilized - the kiln is fired only twice a year - it is the placement of the pots, their relation to one another and to the wood fire itself that determines the success of a piece. In this photo, Adam McNeil, Kevin Crowe and Noah Hughey-Commers evaluate the placement so far.

The kiln is a single chamber anagama with 450 cubic feet of space. It can hold up to 1,500 pots. Eight cords of wood or roughly 700 cubic feet of wood - or one and half times the size of the kiln itself - are feed into the kiln during the firing. Pictured here are Vicky Hansen, Kevin Crowe and Adam McNeil.

The kiln is a single chamber anagama with 450 cubic feet of space. It can hold up to 1,500 pots. Eight cords of wood or roughly 700 cubic feet of wood - or one and half times the size of the kiln itself - are feed into the kiln during the firing. Pictured here are Vicky Hansen, Kevin Crowe and Adam McNeil.

This firing took place over eight days in early May and required round the clock attention by the potters and two apprentices - Sam Deering and Fisher Broder. In this picture, Adam McNeil and Kevin Crowe monitor the firing.

This firing took place over eight days in early May and required round the clock attention by the potters and two apprentices - Sam Deering and Fisher Broder. In this picture, Adam McNeil and Kevin Crowe monitor the firing.

Peter Rausse doing a final pot inspection . . .

Peter Rausse doing a final pot inspection . . .

The Space Between

- An Exploration of Clay, Fire and Time

Large Woodfired Pots by:

Kevin Crowe, Noah Hughey-Commers, Vicky Hansen and Adam McNeil

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Show Run: July 13 - Aug. 17

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Closing Show Panel with the Firing Team

Moderator: Louise Cort, ceramics curator, Freer/Sackler

The Peril and Promise Firing Really Big Pots (Together) in Wood Fire Kiln

Sat, Aug 17, 6:30 pm

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NEW - attendees are invited to a Potluck for the Potters on the roofdeck immediately following the panel. You MUST register separately from the panel to attend. Please go here.

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Thanks to apprentices Sam Deering and Fisher Broder for their assistance.

Special thanks to photographer Kristen Finn.

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We are Extremely Grateful to Clayworks Supplies and Larkin Refractory Solutions for their Generous Support

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About the Show:

This special show recreates the placement of very large pots in Tye River Pottery’s anagama kiln using photographs from the firing. The dimensions of the actual kiln are shown using bamboo poles and the now-fired pots are placed in the same location within the mocked up kiln in District Clay Gallery as they were during the five day firing.

This unique staging enables visitors to see for themselves how the careful placement of pots within the kiln directs fire and ash to create the spectacular glaze results.

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A photographic journey through the making, loading, firing and unloading of the kiln is presented along with a large chart showing how the kiln temperature climbed.

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District Clay has created two guides - How to Decode a Woodfired Pot and Walking the Firing at Tye River Pottery - as well as other educational materials for viewers.

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About this Firing:

The four potters worked together for months making the work and then spent many preparing the kiln for firing. In early May 2019, the potters along with Kevin’s two apprentices, fired the anagama kiln for eight days. This included five days of continuously stoking the kiln with firewood. The firing featured mostly very large pots, which presented it’s own difficulties.

By shifting the perspective of the firing to very large pots, the firing gave the potters the space to explore the making and maturing of large pots together as well as the stacking and stoking patterns that exploit the negative space that large scale work produces.

Large pots always present risks as they are more liable to shatter during a high temperature firing. In this case, an entire kiln load of large pots made the warming, firing and cooling cycles of this firing especially fraught. Interestingly, as the firing progressed and pots shifted - and a few shattered - the crew became closer as they observed the fire doing its work.

By challenging old patterns, they saw new patterns and closer bonds emerge.

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The Spaces Between:

In any wood-fired kiln, the space between pots is where heat is transferred to clay through currents, collectively called draft. Early in the firing the draft is made of hot air, later becoming fire, flowing around, under and across the pottery as it moves from firebox to chimney. Ash and unburnt carbon, carried by the draft, leaves its mark on every surface as it travels through the kiln.

The spaces between the pots determine the path of heat, ash and carbon which creates the unique patterns of glaze and color on each of the pots.

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“The way things are spaced is really another way of talking about the way things are related. So you Begin to realize tht space is relationship.”

Alan Watts