Thursday, April 17, 2014

Gulf Coast Kiln Walk Society's Anagama Kiln

The Island King has a new hobby, which is smelting. He's been recycling cans and anything aluminum he can get his hands on and he was determined to build his own furnace – which involved clay.

The creek at Tower Camp has some really nice clay so we brought some home for him to mess with.

Clay became his obsession and all he read or talked about was the different types of clay.

Right about the same time, I read an article in the newspaper about the Gulf Coast Kiln Walk Society, who happened to be having a clay conference and event the next weekend. The event would be the opening of the Anagama Kiln after it's 10th annual firing.

Who better to talk clay and furnaces with than potters?

Our timing couldn't have been better because the event was amazing.

In 2005 the Kiln Walk Society built the 32 foot, wood fired, Anagama Kiln. The kiln, which is the largest wood burning kiln in Florida is huge, holding almost 800 pieces. The kiln fires at 2,400 degrees and they say the kiln glows so bright when firing that it can be seen from a half a mile away.

The pottery that came out of the kiln was incredible.

There were tables and tables of every kind of pottery imaginable and the people emptying the kiln just kept bringing out more.

There were 750 pieces total and I could have happily brought every one of them home with me.

The coolest thing about wood firing is the differences the flame creates in each piece.

It was fun watching them unload the kiln and hearing the oohs and aahs as the different pieces came out.

The Island King was in heaven and got to spend time talking with a master potter, Tom Grow.

He seemed very interested in the bag of clay we'd brought and said he's never seen that type of clay before so we left him a bag to play with.

He sent us a picture of this pot he'd made out of our clay and I was amazed at how beautiful it is. The color is stunning.

He wants more of this kind of clay because it is different from the other types of clay he's found here in Northwest Florida so we'll be taking him up there to get some soon.

We learned so much about clay, pottery, and kilns that I'm thinking about a new hobby myself.
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