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The Spring Green Dojo is building a wood-fired ceramics kiln for Zen art and Zen training.
The Spring Green Dojo is building a wood-fired ceramics kiln for Zen art and Zen training.
87 backers pledged $15,436 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$15,436

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What's the project?

A small, single-chamber wood-fired ceramics kiln, built in the anagama style of Japan. 

Building the Kiln Week 3
Building the Kiln Week 3

Why are you building a wood-fired ceramics kiln?

Wood-fired ceramics have been a part of our lineage of Zen training for almost fifty years. Our dojo in Spring Green is surrounded by eighty acres of hardwood trees, so we have the space and the firewood for several firings each year. The creation and firing of ceramics is considered an intense pathway into Zen training with a number of benefits. 

First, the work of kneading, shaping, and firing clay is highly physical. Efficient use of the body and breath comes from long and exhausting hours of work, work that burns away habits and thought, leaving behind a clear, clean, strong expression of being human.

Second, this project grew out of a one-week training program during which one of our senior Zen students, Scott Kiel, found clay to be a highly engaging way to bring teenagers and young adults into the core principles of Zen training. We see an especially promising opportunity for regional youth-serving organizations to partner with us in making regular use of the kiln.

Finally, we want to emphasize production of ceramic pieces used for everyday meals: small plates, bowls, cups. We feel this is one of the most basic means of bringing the power of Zen training into as many lives as possible. Holding a wood-fired bowl full of oatmeal, or picking up a small plate holding a piece of pie, stimulates so many senses, mostly unconsciously.

Risks and challenges

Well, we have never built a kiln before! But we are getting professional advice on construction and have a lot of construction know-how among our students: builders, contractors, electricians, etc.

Update on October 25, 2017: We didn't account for some of the additional costs associated with the kiln, things like special fireproof trays for the firing, gloves and thermostats, and of course...feeding the crew! Although we raised our original goal of $10,000 within two weeks, we will continue to solicit pledges through October 31, to cover these additional costs. Your support has been amazing. Thank you!

Another challenge: we've never been so public about raising money before and have never used Kickstarter. So we're following the cookbook on how to do this properly and, like all Zen training, going at it full force.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Video of First Firing

    A short edited video of the first firing of the kiln which will include the kiai sticks going into the fire and interviews with key personnel. We want you to feel a part of the inaugural firing!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Kiai stick

    What is a “Kiai stick”? You send us a wish - no more than 80 characters - and we write it onto a thin strip of wood that's burned in the inaugural firing of the kiln, estimated near Halloween, 2017.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Feast of the Senses - signed by author

    The tenzo (head cook) is a revered position at the dojo, because the food eaten during Zen training should promote samadhi (a feeling of oneness.) Pat Greene, the Spring Green dojo's tenzo, has published a new cookbook (including instructions on how to do seated meditation!) In addition to the cookbook, backers at this level also receive one kiai stick to add to the first firing of the kiln.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Small ceramic plate

    A series of small ceramic plates will be among the first things to be fired in our new kiln. Get your own limited edition from our first firing!

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Oatmeal bowl and recipe

    The oatmeal served at the Spring Greene dojo is one of the most requested recipes from our tenzo (head cook.) For the first time, we share this recipe with you, accompanied by an oatmeal bowl fired in our kiln.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Shikishi (calligraphy)

    Choose the symbol you prefer - "Fire", "Clay" or "Doki" (kiai of the earth) - and Zen Master Ken Kushner will draw the symbol on a 12 inch by 12 inch paper mounted on thick cardboard backing suitable for mounting or framing.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Participate in 3-hour firing shift

    Want to take a turn helping us fire ceramics? We will send you our firing schedule and you can choose which 3-hour shift you want to participate in. Your shift includes snacks or a meal, depending on time of day or night. The first firing is estimated for late October, 2017.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    5 Sake Cups & Pairing Advice

    Receive five hand-fired ceramic sake cups, made by our students and fired in our kiln. You will also receive sake pairing/tasting advice from Zen Master Ken Kushner.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    2 Small Ceramic Plates and a Tea Cake

    Receive two small hand-fired ceramic plates from our kiln plus a tea cake baked by our tenzo (head cook) Pat Greene.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Feed the Kiln Crew for a Weekend!

    Your pledge feeds a hungry volunteer crew of five people for the weekend

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    5 Oatmeal Bowls & the Official Recipe

    Why settle for one oatmeal bowl when you can get a set of five? This reward includes the official oatmeal recipe from Spring Green Dojo Tenzo Pat Greene.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Sponsor a firing for up to 10 people

    Want to support Zen students and ceramacists in their training? This reward covers the cost for up to ten participants to serve on the firing and ceramics crew, held within the first year of the kiln's inauguration.

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    Hamper filled with Ceramics

    Receive 5 small plates, 5 bowls, 5 sake cups and a signed copy of Feast of the Senses, delivered in a rattan hamper.

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Funding period

- (30 days)