Playing with Fire

Happy Throwback Thursday, here’s a few more oldies but goodies that I’ve discovered…

One of the best parts about being a ceramic artist is getting to play with fire. This is the amazing two chamber wood kiln we had at Hartford Art School, it makes my current electric kiln look like an easy bake oven. Contained within this firing was the majority of my senior thesis exhibit. I was probably delirious at this point because this kiln eats wood like a champ and fires for about 18 hours (which is actually very fast for a wood kiln) so you are constantly feeding it wood and there is hardly time to eat or pee between stoking it but it’s so much fun and the results can be incredible!

Playing with Fire | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture
Who can’t stare at a fire and not be mesmerized? This is what about about 2300 degrees looks like and I’m sure that there were 6′ flames coming out the top of the chimney at this point too. If you’re not familiar with ceramics, the 3 triangle shaped pieces in the photo on the right are cones. They melt at different temperatures, so that you can tell how hot your kiln is, you can see the ones in front of the three left standing are practically a puddle.  The three left mean that this kiln is done when the middle one starts to melt and fall over.

Playing with Fire | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture
This installation, called Changing Tides was in that kiln (you can see a few of them in the picture above right) and this piece was a part of my senior exhibition. I still have this piece hanging on my living room wall and still love it! The varied effects of the wood kiln can be seen on these pieces, they range from golden and toasty to charcoal grey. It’s been almost 20 years since these photos were taken, I think I’ve got to get my work into another wood kiln and start playing with fire again!

Playing with Fire | the dirt | Jenni Ward ceramic sculpture

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