Firing the Old Time Way
At Smoke in the Mountains Pottery we have a community-built wood kiln that can hold over 700 vessels and Rob’s big jugs. The kiln needs to be stoked with wood every 3-5 minutes for about 30 hours straight, so we must take shifts to make sure the job gets done. We’ve fired the wood kiln many times now and every time it is a big community event.
The giant wood fired kiln is Rob’s pride and joy, which the local community spent two years helping him build, brick by brick. Completed in 2008, the kiln is a two chambered design based on the Japanese noborigama (or hill climbing) kiln style and is tall enough to accommodate Rob’s six foot face jugs. It is fired 4-5 times per year, with each firing lasting 25-35 labor intensive hours, consuming three cords of wood, and reaching a peak temperature upwards of 2300 degrees.
The kiln can hold over 700 pots, most of which will be brought by potters and students in the region, who along with other volunteers, will work in shifts, day and night, to feed the fire they hope will produce the signature markings that only a real wood fired kiln can make. On opening day, they will gather, usually with much excitement, and remove the pots, passing them hand to hand along a long line of eager potters and pottery fans. For Rob, his giant wood fired kiln is an opportunity to bring people together, to preserve an old tradition, and to share the potter’s way of life.
Wood Firing Gallery
Purchase fine crafted pottery right from the source. We accept cash and check. From Settawig Rd., near Brasstown, take Dog Branch Rd. all the way to the end of the road and follow the pottery signs.
Wednesday – Sunday: 10 a.m. till 5 p.m.
Monday & Tuesday: Closed
Special appointments are also available.
This week Rob visited local schools to teach students about clay. Students of high school and middle school age each made a face mug. Now the studio is full of green face mugs waiting to be bisque fired, glazed, and then hi-fired in the gas kiln. There's over 100 face...read more