Northland College is building a new kiln thanks in part to a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board. The public is encouraged to learn more about this new kiln and firing process at an artist talk on July 19, which Senator Janet Bewley will attend, and at an open house on July 25.
The kiln is a welcome addition to the College’s art program. “It creates an incredible opportunity to fire a kiln differently,” said Assistant Professor of Art Lauren Duffy. “Doing a reduction firing gives you a different glaze effect than just an electric kiln. It’ll create opportunities to make different things, like using paper and having it burn out, or using organic materials like flowers.”
This project benefits both the College and the community. Community members will gain hands-on experience building the kiln at a week-long workshop prior to the public events. Participants’ works will be part of the kiln’s inaugural firing. “I’m very much about the community having a part in what we do,” Duffy noted. Students from several local schools will be invited to make works that will be fired in the kiln and learn more about the process in the upcoming school year.
Area residents will have other opportunities to use the kiln, including in the College’s Community Ceramics class. “I know we have a lot of ceramics artists in the area, and not everyone has their own kiln,” said Duffy. Experienced artists can contact Duffy to inquire about other opportunities to use the kiln. The art program will also work with the College’s Indigenous Cultures Center to involve artists from area Tribal nations.
Northland College’s art program is hosting the artist talk on Tuesday, July 19, from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute. Wisconsin State Senator Janet Bewley will offer opening remarks, followed by a talk by Ball State University Professor Ted Neal on master kiln building and functional pottery.
The College is also hosting an open house on Monday, July 25, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the community to learn more about down-draft reduction gas kilns. Attendees will be able to witness the kiln and ask questions about it and the ceramics studio. The open house will be at the new outdoor kiln site behind the Mary Van Evera Visual Arts Center on the Northland College campus.
Both events are supported by Northland College and a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.