Foothills Ceramic Art Museum Presents...
"THE FIRE DANCE: Risk and Reward in Wood-Fired Pottery”
Featuring the work of 40 national and international ceramic artists
Exhibiting now through September 23, 2017
Gallery Hours: Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11am to 4pm
Reception: Friday, September 15, from 5 - 8 pm
- Join us to Celebrate with Fine Art, Food & Wine!
- Special Lecture at 6 pm: “Wood-Fired Aesthetics” by Kenneth Underwood
- Plus Excerpts from the Documentary, "The Climbing Kiln of Woodman Lane"
EXHIBITING NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS:
Richard Aerni, Bizen, Richard Bresnahan, Chris Early, Kim Ellington,
Jonathan Gilbertson, Damian Grava, Mark Hewitt, Michael Hunt and
Naomi Dalglish, Glenn Husted, Daniel Johnston, Jan Mckeachie Johnston,
Michael Kline, Toko Konishi II, Justin Lambert, John Leach, Geoff Lloyd,
Dania Lukey, Jon Mehr, Ron Meyers, Jeff Morales, Rodney Mott, Joe Naurishi,
Hiroshi Ogawa, Masuo Ojima, Reid Ozaki, Scott Parady, Jen Penell,
Paula Prekowitz, Ellen Ribeiro, Andrew Romero, Shigaraki, Chuck Solberg,
Paul Soldner, Frank Stofan, David Stuempfle, Suigetsu Studio, Tom Turner, Tara Wilson
Wood has been used to fire pottery for millennia, since the very beginnings of pottery. In fact wood was one of the first fuels used by humans to vitrify clay pots and utensils. Today a select breed of modern potters and collectors admire the effects that can be achieved by the direct interaction of clay and flame.
Firing with wood is extremely labor intensive. First, one has to build (not buy!) a kiln, then collect and and chop enough wood to keep a 2000-degree fire going for 3 to 10 days. Next, they must convince or employ enough helpers to load and fire the kiln 'round the clock for all of those days, camping and taking shifts in order to maintain heat and safety throughout the process. Wood firing is on all counts, a community project!
And all that labor does not come without risk... There are many factors which determine the result: the type of wood, the shape and size of the kiln, the placement of the pots, the duration of the firing and the cool-down process. Err in any one factor or portion of the process and the entire kiln load can be ho-hum. Though get everything right and the results can be breathtaking. The moment of truth when the kiln door is opened is the ultimate reward for a wood fire artist.
"I did not come to appreciate wood-fired pieces for many years", recollects Underwood... "They all seemed so brown and rough. But after buying a teabowl from Chuck Solberg in 2002, and learning about this fascinating process I became hooked. I now can see and understand the beauty in a teardrop of glaze that forms at the end of an ash run. Or in the teadust crystals that shine like a thousand fireflies. Or in the halos and comet tails that form as the flame blows through the kiln full of pots. I hope that this exhibit will help people appreciate the beauty and subtlety of the wood-fired aesthetic."