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  • Tim Scull

Wood Firing: A Safe, Active, Socially-Distanced Way to Foster a Sense of Community



There were countless times in 2020 when it seemed like we’d never make it to the

end of the year. Here we are in the first month of 2021! Holy Moly!!!!

With the COVID-19 vaccine rolling out, we’re hopeful that in the not-so-distant

future, things will slowly start to return to a more normal way of life.


But since many new cases are still being reported on the rise and more and more

people are testing positive, it’s essential for us to continue to be vigilant in the

practice of social distancing as we engage outside the comfort of our own homes.


Given that we live in New England, it can be tough to find activities to take part in

during the long winter months even when we’re not in the midst of a pandemic, so

January, February, and March could be even tougher on us this year.


Here at Canton Clay Works, we live and love wood firing for so many reasons, but in

2021, it’s an activity that can truly foster a sense of community and creativity, while

bringing people together in a safe, socially-distanced atmosphere outdoors.


It provides a healthy, engaging, hands-on outlet where people can take part in

something special – something that brings a sense of accomplishment, belonging, and

togetherness.


Our unique Naborigama (designed by renown kiln designer Will Ruggles) has been fired

over 300 in the past 18 years, making it one of the more frequently fired wood kilns in

the USA.


For 48-50+ hours the kiln’s numerous fireboxes are stoked with wood every

3-5 minutes. The pots in the first chamber are fired in a reduction atmosphere, resulting

in deep, rich color tone in the clay body, decorative slips, and glazes.


The second chamber is considered a Soda Chamber, volatilized with 12 pounds of a salt and

sodium mixture, resulting in an atmosphere saturated with vapor that bonds with the

silica contained in the clay body, creating a one of a kind sodium silicate glaze.


Added to our kiln yard in 2018 is our new Train Kiln (100+ cubic feet), a

contemporary rendition of an ancient Anagama (tunnel or tube kiln). This new

design was introduced to the U.S. by John Neely of Utah State University, after a

trip to Japan.


A unique feature of this design is the fire box, known as a burry

box, with an unusual stepped grate system on the bottom of the burry box. This

is an exceptionally efficient wood-fired kiln that fires faster, with great fuel

efficiency resulting in similar results of an Anagama with far less time and energy.


Wood as fuel creates an atmosphere rich with volatilized metals and minerals

such as potassium, calcium, and sodium. The vapor from these elements along

with the airborne wood ash (fly ash), fuses to the clay body, decorative slips, and

glazes, creating unique lyrical and timeless surfaces.


Participating in wood firing is a wonderful way to stay active and get outdoors while

appreciating the winter wonderland that the next few months will bring to

Connecticut.


The temperatures outside may be a little bit chillier, but put on a hat,

gloves, mask, and bundle up, and join us for a weekend of wood firing that you

relish and never forget.


Here’s a glimpse of our upcoming wood firing schedule:


Firing Dates:

Feb 2-7 Train Kiln

Unloading: Feb 14, at 12 Noon

March 4-7 Naborigama

Unloading: March 14, 12 Noon

Mar 30-April 4 Train Kiln

Unloading: April 11, 10 a.m.

April 29-May 2 Naborigama

Unloading: May 9, 10 a.m.

May 26-31 Train Kiln

Unloading: June 6, 10:00 a.m.


We’d love to have you join us for this unique, rewarding activity. For more

details and information please visit cantonclayworks.com, or give us a call at

860-693-1000. Feel free to email us at cantonclayworks@yahoo.com

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