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Woodfire Aesthetics
How to explain beauty?  In the presence of great beauty our spirits expand. The view from a mountain ridge at dusk, the vast distances of a Rothko color field painting, the flash of a rainbow trout skirting into deeper waters, the light of a Vermeer painting, the feel of a well-formed pot, the desperately carved space of a Giacometti drawing -- these glimpses of natural and artistic beauty touch us, leaving us transformed and feeling a momentary rightness with the world.” – From »Japanese Wood-fired Ceramics«.
Marc Lancet is the author of »Japanese Wood-fired Ceramics« with Masakazu Kusakabe of Miharu, Japan. He lives in Davis, CA with his wife Annette and his daughter Evan.
Learning to teach
The first woodkilns after WW II were built in Estonia in 1996. So first we were obliged to learn ourselves how to fire a woodkiln before teaching it. After the Estonian ceramists had built an Anagama-type kiln in Kohila in 2000, the teaching of woodfiring in the Estonian Academy of Arts has been continued without interruption until today. While teaching we should try to remember to resist doing too much work instead of the students.
Kersti Laanmaa graduated Estonian Art Institute in 1988. Since 1991 has been working as ceramist. Since 1996 having a bourry-box woodkiln.
has been working almost exclusively with wood firing for the past 22 years, a major part of her 40 years experience as a potter. Using the many different types on wood firing kilns at her workshop, she is concerned with the natural effects of flame and ash, with individual personal style and with contemporary social issues.
Michael Maguire, Prof. Paul A. McCoy
Development of Wood-Firing for Low Budget Programs
The development of wood-firing programs that is a viable component in art departments at small public- and privately-funded colleges and universities. These would be those institutions, which typically operate on small to moderate budgets, have limited staffing, and space.
Our Information: Paul McCoy is a Professor of Art at Baylor University. Has been wood firing for 10 years.
Michael Maguire is a Professor of Art at McLennan Community College. Has been wood firing for 18 yrs.
The International Ceramics Studio, Kecskemét, Hungary
Woodfire aesthetics
Gregory Hamilton Miller began studying ceramics at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. He apprenticed at the studio of Shimaoka Tatsuzo in Mashiko, Japan, for several years, and then worked towards a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology looking at the ethnohistory and aesthetics of Mashiko potteries at the University of Pittsburgh. Miller is particularly interested in the relationship between individuals and pottery communities.  He has established studios in Japan, the USA, and Denmark, and designed and constructed more than two dozen woodfiring kilns. At his studio in Northern Denmark at Old Horne Station, he has an anagama, salt, soda, and Barney wood fired kilns which are fired regularly. Gregory is the organizer and initiator of the Nordic Network Ceramic Studio Exchange, and various other projects. Current activities include a Ph.D. at Aalborg University focusing on International Ceramic Tourism Development, and organization of the Creabiz Project for Crafts Development in Northern Denmark.
Coll Minogue has been a professional potter since 1982, having previously lectured in ceramics at a third level college and has been involved in woodfiring since 1983. This involvement has included the roles of studio potter / ceramic artist; kiln builder / workshop leader; lecturer; author, and since 2000 – editor and publisher of The Log Book – international wood-fired ceramics publication  (, together with her husband Robert Sanderson. She has written three books on ceramics – Impressed and Incised Ceramics (1996); Wood-fired Ceramics – Contemporary Practices (2000) – co-written with Robert, and Slab-built Ceramics (2008).
She will give an overview about woodfiring in Europe and will moderate the panel on Friday
Priscilla Mouritzen
Woodfire aesthetics
Woodfiring in Scandinavia and South Africa
Priscilla Mouritzen is a well known and very involved Danish wood firer.
Frederick L. Olsen
Castable in kiln building
Not only that you can cast very complex arch forms in a very short time, this material is very fireproof, resistable against salt and ash and better insulating than hard bricks. Fred will present a lot of examples of its utilisation.
Frederick L. Olsen lives as author, kiln builder and potter in California, USA. His book about kiln building became the standard work on this topic.
Jens-Peter Planke
Woodfiring in Germany
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Michal Puszczynski
Fire in Poland
The lecture will be related to the Polish-Korean project of build an Tongakama  kiln for Wroclaw Academy of Fine Arts in 2006, the proposal to establish Center for Ceramic Arts in Luboradow  and development  of wood fired ceramics  in Poland.
Michal is a Ceramic artist, since 10 years working with wood-firing in Poland, since 2003 assistant lector at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw (Poland)
Woodfire in the Czech Republic, present and history
We will talk about historical Kassel kilns still in work as well as new kiln designs appearing after 1989. Overview will also include introduction of Czech potters building and firing those kilns.
We are potters, woodfirers and also kiln builders. In 2007 we have founded non-profit organization Ceramic centre Doupě o.p.s. to provide educational opportunities for potters, artists, and general community.
Woodfiring in Australia
Woodfiring and education
Owen Rye is one of the most important woodfirers in Australia and well known not only for his many articles about woodfiring but also for his impressing vessels from his anagama.
Robert Sanderson.
Potter, author, kiln builder and co-publisher of The Log Book (International Wood-fired Ceramics publication) Robert has been a woodfirer for some 35 years.
Together with his wife Coll Minogue they wrote Wood-fired Ceramics – Contemporary Practices (published 2000) and currently they jointly produce The Log Book now in its 11 year of publication.
Most recently an Invited participant at the Baltic Woodfired symposium/exhibition Bornholm, Denmark (September 2009), and Woodfire Symposium at Tainan University, Taiwan (November 2009).
The woodfire conference in Tasmania 2011
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Prof. Luke Sheets
Teaching the Fire: The Wood-kiln in Ceramics Pedagogy
The firing of a wood-kiln is an excellent tool for teaching college students of all levels about the firing process and the nature of fired clay. I involve my students in all aspects of the firing, the stacking of the wood, the wadding of pieces, the sorting, organizing, and placing of the pieces, the actual firing, and the unloading and clean up of every firing.  This involvement on the students’ part gives them a powerful insight into how much work is involved in firing ceramic ware regardless as to the fuel that fires it.
Luke Sheets, an Assistant Professor of Art and Design at Ohio Northern University, teaches Ceramics, Sculpture, and 3D Design. His research interests include experimenting with clays/glazes to discover how they react with the wood-kiln and incorporating local materials into his work.
Potting has curious similarities with culinary endeavors, where cooking from scratch brings out the best in fresh ingredients and enhances the pleasures of eating and sharing food. The well known Slow Food Movement offers many parallels to pottery making that can illuminate issues that we potters struggle with, such as finding suitable materials and techniques for accomplishing our desired outcomes.
I would also like to consider the work of Rosanjin, a Japanese potter of the early to mid 20th century, who emphasized the important role of ceramics in presenting and enjoying food, creating a multi-sensory culinary experience. By contrasting Slow Food ideas of good living, with the epicurean perspective of Rosanjin and other Japanese chefs utilizing ceramics who make meals you can taste with all your senses, the crucial role of raw ingredients and the wood fire to achieve truly satisfying forms can be better understood.
Willi Singleton built his four chamber Mashiko style climbing kiln in Kempton, Pennsylvania, after studying ceramics in Japan from 1981 to 1987. Singleton’s work utilizes a locally obtained clay body, as well as local slip and various ashes for glaze. Inspired by antique ceramics from Asia and Europe, he incorporates patterns from his surroundings in pursuit of “pots of a place”.
Anette Mertens About Chinese dragon kilns and potter families
Beside a short historic-geographic overview of woodfire in China I want to turn your attention to the progress and change of dragon kilns. I will present the living and working environment of some potters and their families in the Zhejiang mountains as well as a well-known kiln in Yixing, Jinagsu province.
Anette Mertens: ceramist and sinologist, M.A., Potsdam
Grown up in a family of artists, professional training as potter, and work in our family pottery. After 1989 it became possible for me to study Sinology and to go to China. After the formation of "China at Work" with the focus on Chinese art and ceramics and due to different projects I have travelled to China time and again.