What's the project?
A small, single-chamber wood-fired ceramics kiln, built in the anagama style of Japan.
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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)