We loaded & fired the pit on Wednesday, September 14. This was after months of preparation, including two classes on Pit Fire Techniques and several teams of CAC members going out to collect seaweed and dried cow pies (among other things). Shown below is the preparation of the pit and subsequent loading of our pieces (many of them wrapped in newspaper) into the pit.
Here are more shots of the Pit Fire Team (led by Patty Taylor and assisted by Anne Shulenberger) preparing the pit: sprinkling all around the carefully placed pieces with a mixture of salt and copper carbonate, putting on cow patties and seaweed, adding crumpled newspaper & kindling wood, then stacking firewood logs on top of everything - plus more paper & kindling!
With everything loaded inside, some long metal pipes were placed over the pit. Then we had our ceremonial blessing of the pit, led by Darryla Green and accompanied by Doc King and Damon Shulenberger (Anne’s son), on native drum and flute. Almost ready for the firing!
Next came the lighting of the pit, using charcoal lighter fluid and long torches of rolled up newspaper. The fire blazed up and eventually subsided into smoldering embers. Very dramatic & beautiful! Everyone left the area and relaxed, as the pit crew shared some pizza. Finally - once the flames had died down - the whole pit was covered with metal sheets that were placed on top of the metal pipes, to concentrate the smoke within. And finally. it was left that way for 2 days.
Below is the pit when it was cold and we uncovered & unloaded it, on September 16. Lots of beautiful pottery and sculpture came out of the fire! We got some beautiful colors & colors this time – a really wide variety.
After unloading, sorting & cleaning the ceramic pieces of ash & debris, we had a wonderful potluck lunch right there in the studio, as we celebrated among our new treasures. It was an amazing Pit Fire, well worth the wait!
The scheduled day was changed due to rain in the forecast - we loaded & fired a day early, on May 14. See the preparation of the pit and the loading of our pieces (many of them wrapped in newspaper) into it in the slideshow below.
Here's another slideshow of the Pit Fire Team (led by Patty and her assistants, John T. & Judy R.) as they are sprinkling it all with salt and copper carbonate, putting on cow patties and seaweed, adding crumpled newspaper & kindling wood, then stacking firewood logs on top of everything.
With everything loaded & ready, here they are placing metal pipes over the pit - and then we had our ceremonial blessing of the pit (led by Darryla).
Now comes the lighting of the pit, the fire blazing up & then subsiding into smoldering embers, and finally the whole pit is covered with metal sheets. Everything is left that way for 2 days. (See our next post for results of the Pit Fire.)
John Terlip is currently the CAC member with a Featured Artist display in one of our studio's windows. The pots are beautiful and unique and have sparked a lot of interest. They will be there through June 10, when all of the window displays are to be changed. Hope you have the chance to see them!
Shown here - the pit on Friday May 11, when it was about to be unloaded. [Thanks are due to Ralph Atkins, a friend of CAC, who took all of the pictures below.]
And here are some photos of what came out of that pit - interesting things, beautiful colors! (See our previous post for more photos from this year's Pit Fire.)
Pit Fire 2018 - a really good one!
It was great! Wednesday May 9 was a beautiful day and the loading of the pit went very well.. see below. (Note: the photos are NOT in chronological order.)
Be sure to keep on scrolling down for pictures of the firing. then the unloading, plus some of the results of the Pit Fire. Also, more of the pieces will be shown in a future post, so stay tuned!
Okay - the firing of the pit was next. This is always dramatic! It happened around noon to 1:30 pm.
Unloading of the pit was done two days later, on Friday May 11 (first picture below). It was like an excellent archeological dig! And here are some of the results, right after everything was unloaded. Lots of nice color, and most people were quite happy!
We had a very busy September & October, gearing up for the Fall Bazaar that happened on November 4, 2017. It was a very good one, with lots of enthusiastic helpers working hard while having fun, and tons of wonderful ceramic pottery & sculpture to sell. And in the process we had record sales to benefit the club - a win-win! There are still a number of wonderful ceramic pieces for sale, so if you are in the area stop into our studio and check them out.
Below are some photos from the last few months (before the Bazaar). Included are: folks at our Show & Tell sessions, artwork that was sold at the Bazaar, unloading the Pit Fired pieces, and CAC artists looking at the pit fired work. Never a dull moment! (See previous entry below for more on the September Pit Fire.)
Our annual PIT FIRE was loaded and fired on May 10, then unloaded on May 12. It was a wonderful experience, led by Patty Taylor and Barb English, with help from Darryla Green and many other CAC members. Here are a few of the photos taken by various folks - most are from May 10; the last two are from the 12th, featuring the unloading and some of the results. To see more, check out the current display of beautiful Pit-Fired peices in the Ceramic Studio's windows (through June 18).
Last Wednesday (April 26) the Ceramic Arts Studio was alive with joyous sights and sounds as it hosted Brownie Troop # 32662 from Danville - all third graders.They were accompanied by their leaders. The girls were inquisitive, excited and curious, filling the room with chatter. After a tour of the studio facilities, they settled in to work on making clay tiles. They were intensely engaged in the process, each one decorating her tile using stamps, textures and flora and whatever else sparked her imagination. Afterwards the leftover clay was quickly turned into vases, cubes, a beard, rings, faces and other expressions of their joyous creativity. Finally they picked out the colors they wanted their tiles to be glazed. Volunteers from the Ceramic Arts Club will fire and glaze them, and the tiles will be returned to the Brownies at a later date.
This experience at the Ceramic Arts Studio will help the Brownies to earn a merit badge. It was a fun time enjoyed by the entire troop and the CAC club members as well.
The Pit Fire is looming - May 10 is the date. Then we'll unload two days later, on May 12, and have a potluck lunch afterwards, to celebrate. We had our second & final class on Pit Fire preparations with Jane Burton last Thursday (see below). Now the (post-bisque) Pit Fire materials are set out on one of the tables in the main room of our studio, for all CAC members to use. Gotta get everything ready!
We had our first "mini Pit Fire" last week, loading and firing on Oct 5 and unloading Oct 7. It went very well, thanks to the efforts of our wonderfully dedicated Pit Fire leaders, Patty & Barb, as well as numerous other volunteers (notably Darryla, Helen & Judy J.) Below are some pictures of the first day's process, i.e., the loading and firing of the pit.
Please scroll down for more photos of the unloading and the results. (Note: Patty & Darryla are the masked women in the pit, on both days.)
OK, here's the next part of the process - unloading the fire pit very carefully 2 days after the firing.
We had some beautiful results - CAC folks were very happy for the most part! (Of course there were some disappointments, including a few broken pieces - but that's the nature of this type of firing.) NOTE: some of the best pieces are being featured in the October display windows, so come by and check them out if you can!
Pit Fire 2016
Our Pit Fire this year was quite successful. Almost everyone who fired pieces in it was very happy - mainly because we got lots of color! Below are a few pictures, and you can see more by checking out the club's display windows which are featuring pit fired pieces through June 11, 2016.
And here is a slideshow of the actual pit firing, complete with flames! It's in chronological order; all photos were taken on May 11, except for the last one, which is from May 13, when it was completely cold and about to be unloaded.
the Pit Fire of 2015
Our annual Pit Fire took place last week. Photos of the process and some of our result below! Very exciting and fun.
Activities of CAC
Artists at work and play in our studio!