The Arts Center’s Newest Addition

A happy participant.

In case you missed the Fire in the Hole Community Clay experience…

We had a great time seeing raku artist and Continental Clay glaze chemist Mark Lusardi demonstrate a raku firing. What’s even better is everyone who wanted to glaze a piece and see it fired was able to see the magic happen. I loved seeing the same tile blanks come out looking entirely different based on each person’s unique choice of glaze and method of application.

What’s even better is Mark … the artist, found and retrofitted and old kiln for the Art’s Center to keep so we can repeat the demonstration, have classes and expand our ceramic program to include RAKU…Yah HOO!

Look at the shine!
New kiln and burner at work.

This video shows our new kiln at work and a small bit of the action.  We can’t thank Mark and his daughter Laura enough for their generosity. They made the long drive, brought all the equipment, the unglazed tiles, glazes, and the retrofitted kilns. They went out of their way to share their knowledge and time and this isn’t even the half of it–their efforts were well beyond expectations. We thank them immensely!

Deb Carlson and Karen Anderson of Devils Lake recommended Mark and they came down to assist. They also received a retrofitted kiln and I can see some great collaborations in the making with these two, energetic and enthusiastic women who teach at Lake Region State College and Devils Lake High School.  A word of caution though, next time Karen better wear something other than flip-flops or her toes are going to be toast!

I can’t wait to try this again.  We still have a few purchases to make like tongs, gloves, pyrometer and if our friends in the fire department have any old fire jackets they could donate to keep us safe it would be most appreciated.  So if this looks and sounds fun, give us a call and we’ll get busy on organizing a class.



3 Responses

  1. Logan

    When I was in high school, I did raku pottery for an arts class and we loved it. Only we didn’t have fireman’s jackets. Hell, I did it wearing a t-shirt and shorts.

    That might not have been too smart. Two examples why:

    1. There was one time the kiln (a different, less stable sort from what the Arts Center has) collapsed, and I was standing directly downhill from it holding the top up. I had to stand very still while white-hot pots rolled past my ankles.

    2. When we opened the lids to the big garbage cans where we were reducing our pieces after taking them from the kiln, oxygen would rush in and sometimes cause these fantastic fireballs to shoot back out. One of those fireballs burned all the hair clean off my right arm.

    1. Sally Jeppson

      Wow, thanks for the personal experience comments. So…why weren’t you out there getting messy with the rest of us?

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