Kiln Building

We've been busy building the new wood kiln this summer, and it's coming along nicely. We hope to have the first firing this October. If you'd like to come help lay brick, give a call!


Four thousand bricks from Wellsville, Missouri arrived Wednesday! Kiln building commences next week. There are a ton of interesting sizes and shapes, so this will be a pretty creative process to design and build the wood kiln. 

Fourteen pallets of brick. Each pallet weighs about 3,000 lbs.

Fourteen pallets of brick. Each pallet weighs about 3,000 lbs.

If you'd like to help out, let me know and come on down!

Electric Kilns Connected.

The electricians were hard at work over the last two weeks installing new electric service for the Studio and Kiln building, and I'm happy to report that we have new 200 Amp service up and running. The job entailed installing a new meter on  the building, a 40-slot service panel inside, and running new conduit above the drop ceiling. The two electric kilns each have their own circuits, and there's a 100 Amp breaker, wiring, and a shutoff box in place for a third kiln. The new service panel also supplies the existing 100 Amp panel that supplies the rest of the building's lights and outlets. The electricians had to trench a new line out to the utility pole and the electric company upgraded the transformer and feeder line to make sure we don't run out of electrons. I think this should be enough power for the foreseeable future.

electric kilns

Wood Kiln Design

I've been using Trimble's Sketchup software for some time as part of my 3D modelling and rapid prototyping project, so it seemed natural to design a kiln with it. Sketchup is pretty intuitive, and was developed specifically for modelling objects and architecture, so it was more fun than work.


This two-chamber kiln is designed with flexibility in mind. The first (Anagama) chamber will hold mostly unglazed pots that will receive intense wood-fired surfaces reminiscent of Japanese Teawares. The second chamber will be for firing soda-glazed ware and can be fired as a stand-alone kiln as the work cycle demands.

The first chamber is 45" wide with a 72" long stacking space. There are six stacks of 12"x24" shelves set three-across with a side-stoke area between them. The firebox is 45" long, and the average height of the first chamber is 45". 

The second chamber is a 45" x 45" x 45" catenary arch set upon 15" high walls for a 60" maximum height inside. The stacking floor is 45" wide by 36" long, so it holds three stacks of 12"x24" shelves.

There is lots of interest in the area and region for an accessible wood kiln, so I'm not too worried about crews for long firings. I expect the whole kiln will take 72-84 hours to fire, and the second chamber could be fired in 36 hours or so.

Here we go!

2014 Fall Pottery Sale

I'm excited to announce the First Annual Fall Pottery Sale at Alto Clay Works! 

We will be open Saturday, November 29, from 1:00 to 5:00 PM.  Refreshments will be served, of course.

There will be a wide variety of great pots to choose from. Among the mix will be wheel-thrown wood and soda-fired pots, slip cast pots from the 3D modelling and rapid prototyping project, and some brand new, hand-built tea ware with Shino glazes.

Here's this year's poster. Feel free to share with friends!

Creating a web site for Alto Clay Works

It's November 3, and I've finally settled on Squarespace to build and host my new website for Alto Clay Works. The templates are extremely clean and really seem to appeal to artists. 

The website will have links to my portfolio, this blog, the studio, contact information, tech info, and this blog. The big challenge right now is figuring out the Squarespace interface and making the website look like my own site and not a template (which it is).