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Try Your Hand at Woodfiring in This Ceramics Workshop

A view of the kiln at Highfield Pottery, where the workshop takes place

The Art League’s Woodfiring Workshop is an opportunity for potters to experience woodfiring from beginning to end. Using a kiln built by instructors Allison Coles Severance and Blair Meerfeld, participants learn centuries-old techniques while enjoying food and conversation in a mountaintop setting.

How does the woodfiring workshop work?

You’ll arrive on Saturday morning for this weekend workshop, bringing at least two dozen pots created for the wood kiln (with high-fire clay and glazes).

On the first day, students will work with instructors to load the pots, with lots of discussion about placement. “It’s important to think about the flame’s pathway around the kiln and pots,” Severance said.

Then, the kiln is preheated overnight, and fired on Sunday. It takes about four days to cool down enough to take the pieces out.

By Allison Severance
by Allison Severance

What kind of kiln is it?

The kiln itself is a downdraft bourry box built by Severance and Meerfeld. They chose the bourry box design because it provides a smoother surface: perfect for kitchen wares, as Severance explained to us. The kiln (and workshop) are located at Highfield Pottery in Northern Maryland, among the Catoctin Mountains.

by Blair Meerfeld
by Blair Meerfeld

When’s the next woodfiring workshop?

As of this writing, the next workshop is December 17–18, 2016. But you can see future scheduled workshops in the catalog.

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Did you know: The Art League's Art Camp is the longest running visual arts camp in the area! We've been here for more than 30 years! While sadly we can't find any photos from the '80s (please let us know if you have any lying around), let's take a look back at the last several years of burgeoning kid artists and eight years of fun at Art Camp!

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