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olsons fast fire

updated mon 21 feb 00


David Woof on sun 20 feb 00

us north americans, just have to see how fast it will go, wood kilns,
potters wheels,or horses with buggys. this is not to whack at fred olson
here, if memory serves , the fast fires were being designed during the
"energy crisis" and i'm thankful the research was started. more voices in
the chorus, wealth in accumulated knowledge, awareness and encouragement,
divergent thinking. look where we are today! I do shows in wisconsin and
hear people say "oh woodfired pottery" as they approach my display. twenty
years ago they were asking my wife if i was depressed. the "depth and
warmth" was escaping them it seems.
so how much depth and warmth do we get in four hours of exposure to the
fire? what deep interaction between the clay and fire could possibly happen
in so short a time?
in the woodfireing aesthetic , the fire is a substance not just a heat
source or tool. a substance bearing the chemicals that have such a wonderful
affinity with the elemental make up of clay.
up at st.johns, astro-physisists are interested in the fire richard is
makeing. we're playing with things like hydrogen reduction, train kilns,
and fire boxes bigger than the setting chamber. we're playing with fire and
loving it, why hurry?
if speed were the factor, use gas. wood procurement and handleing rule
it out as an efficient use of time and resources.
in 1981 i built a 36 cu.' cross draft that would fire consistantly to
cone 10 in 11 hrs. 15 min, but it wasn't long before we were fireing 22 hrs
because of the increased depth and warmth. long soaking in the cone 8 zone
and it's hard brick construction which took days to cool worked a particular
magic not accessable in faster fire. glazed or raw body,mouth watering
things going on.
well i didn't set out to rant about why i woodfire, (don't get me
started) i wanted to provoke questions as you work toward your decision on
kiln design.

david woof
earth and fire studios
tomah, wi. 54660

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