Monday, 4 May 2015

Niklas Preukschat - April

There was so much going on in April that I don't know how to bring it all into that post... I'll try to give you some brief impressions of what happened.
For the first couple of weeks the germans carried on with making and finishing their pots as well as building the barrel-arched kiln. Nic and me helped them out whenever we were short on time...

bricking up the arch

putting another layer of bricks on top of it

then a layer of fibre blanket and chicken wire

topped off with a few layers of clamming

Nic and me bricking up the front wall and flue


Then packing both kilns...

 ...and firing them

The kiln building project was such an incredible experience! I think it was a perfect first-time experience for that it showed, with what simple materials a kiln can be build. The whole pallett with fire bricks I collected over the last months got used but we also reused loads of scrap materials like broken firebricks and bits and pieces of fibre blankets. 

After the job was done we took the Germans out for a sightseeing tour through North Devon, having a stop at Svend Bayers' workshop and then heading further north towards the sea.
kiln building and wood-stacking at its best

But with having the firings finished it didn't mean that the pressure was off - it was quite the contrary!
There was still a major exhibition of the 'Gnarly Dudes' ought to be held at ours the weekend after.

The Gnarly Dudes

For those who don't know who the Dudes are:
They are a group of five british woodfire potters - John Fellows, Chuck Schwartz, Charles Bound, Svend Bayer and Nic Collins - who first came up in the mid/late 90s' with two exhibitions which showed the countries' probably most defining woodfired ceramic of that time.
Here's a video of the '99 exhibition:


So, 16 years later they all came together for one last big bang which gave us only a few days to get prepared! A big cleaning up was needed with unnumerable bundles of wood to be stacked, the workshop had to be transformed into a proper exhibition showroom, there was an outdoor display to be set up, and so on... we were very fortunate having six fairies from Germany buzzing around...
The exhibition itself then was absolutely stunning! It was a great input for me talking to the other potters about their way of firing, their kilns and work and to see that variety of woodfiring.
Here's an impression of the indoor part of the exhibition:

Somewhere between the preparation we managed to squeeze the opening of the new kiln in, Sabines kiln we opened earlier on.

The firing itself was, as expected, a bit of a struggle due to the wet kiln which sucked a lot of energy to dry out but the results were exceptional!

the new porcelain body: nuka glazed, plain and celadon glazed

The end of the exhibition also marked the end of the four-weeks course with the Germans and after having them send away it was very strange to rediscover the peace- and quietness our place can offer! Since then we took down the display, splitted wood for the next firing in three weeks time, shifted 2,5 tons of clay around and picked up a few new kiln shelves near London which should last for the next ten years or so...
and my new throwing project after bottles and vases is making mugs for the Adopt a Potter stands at the ceramic fairs in Rufford and Hattfield.

I love the look of that...

... and that!

Hm. I think that's it.

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