My name is Henry James Haver Crissman, I'm currently a graduate Student at The NYSCC at Alfred University perusing my MFA in Ceramics and I need your help to finish building "The Mobile Anagama" wood fired pottery kiln on a trailer! Prior to living in Alfred, I attended the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, MI and lived there for five years. During that time I built The Detroit Noborigama wood fired kiln at Fortress Studios LLC with the help of a successful Kickstarter campaign, and It's time for another!
**A BIT OF HISTORY**
You see, my art practice is an exploration of the progressive social applications of making and using functional pottery, and ever since moving to Alfred I've been navigating the possibility to build an Anagama wood fired kiln which could host more communal and performative approaches to the ceramic process. As I began to realize the bureaucratic hurdles that were sure to impede the actual building of such a large and permanent structure, I was offered my family's old utility trailer and I began to develop concepts for a mobile kiln. Knowing I would need interest and financial support for the ceramics community if it was to be a success, I proposed and received a 2014 NCECA Graduate Student Fellowship which awarded 2000$ to build “The Mobile Anagama”.
My proposal detailed the use of my old trailer along with other recycled and donated materials to construct a mobile anagama kiln that would embark on a tour of firings with a goal to collaborate with host institutions at each location to generate relevant site specific programming around the events of making and firing that would involve local individuals and available materials. In an effort to share and understand more clearly the value of craft processes and objects as progressive tools for community development, the kiln will not only need to generate enough enthusiasm to successfully fill and fire it at each stop, but it will also need to raise the necessary funding to get to the next one. What a challenge it will be!
Realizing that if indeed what will be most important are the creative interactions and experiences that stands to occur as a result this tour, it became clear that the top priority in building the kiln should then be to built it so it may most safely and successfully arrive and fire at each of its future destinations.
In short, upon dissembling the old trailer it became clear that using the old trailer would compromise the goals of the project, and so I've built a new one from the ground up with the help of Albert Baker here at the NYSCC Machine Shop. The new purpose built steal frame resting on a 6000 pound capacity axle with electric breaks and sweet 8ply heavy duty trailer tries will more than adequately carry the future kiln. However, as a result the grant money has ran out. I raised an additional 1000$ with a Puddle Glaze Pottery Sale (more on puddle glazing to come) and now that has ran out as well and I need your support if it is going to be ready to fire at its first scheduled event on July 25th as a finale to the Summer School ceramics programs here in Alfred.
Leaving from Alfred immediately following the first firing, the kiln will head to Detroit and westward from there. Potential stops are scattered currently from west Michigan to Chicago,Wisconsin, Minnesota,North Dakota, Montana and back through Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas City, Asheville and Pittsburgh before arriving back in Alfred only a month later. But this route is not yet set in stone due to the inability to know the exact details about how it will firing and travel until it has one under its belt and is on the road. If each firing only lasts a day, with a day on either side for travel and setup, I would like to accomplish 8-10 firings over that month long period. I'll be sure to keep the kickstarter community up to day as information regarding places and dates becomes more concrete.
**SO HOW DOES IT WORK?**
Upon arrival at each location the enclosed trailer's side panels and top are disassembled and it's contents are removed (not including the kiln floor or chimney which are permanently fixed in place). The form of the kiln will then be assembled and stilted on a wedge on the kiln floor. The Kiln's bricks are stored while in transit inside padded benches with pieces of carpet between each one to protect them from grinding against each one another. The bricks, each cast and labeled for their specific location, will then be removed and placed appropriately over the kiln form with the bottom layer fitted into the channel steal that outlines the kiln floor. When the arch is entirely constructed the wedge under the form is removed and the kiln form can then be removed from the arch. After the arch is in place, the grate bars can be inserted (they allow air to pass under and threw the burning wood by suspending large pieces off the kiln floor), and a layer of 1” thick refractory insulation fiber blanket is then laid over the entire kiln exterior. The stainless steal seething that protects the exterior can then be attached to the corresponding hooks on the steal arches that cap each end of the kiln (at the entrance to the chimney and at the front gate). At this point kiln the shelves and wares or whatever it is that is being fired can be loaded into the kiln until it is as full as desired. The kiln door comprised of large bricks cast specifically for the respective locations are stored in their own padded boxes during transit similarly to the arch bricks, and they can now be put into place as the kiln's front door. The kiln is then ready to fire which depending on weather, its contents, the fuel, the time constraints, and the goals of the firing, could take as little as 8 hours to reach temperature and a face cord of wood to fuel. To dissemble the kiln these steps are essentially followed in reverse order. The entire process of building, firing, unloading and deconstructing could take less then 24 hours enabling many firings in all sorts of nontypical locations.
So what more do I need? Well, quite a bit. Although many of the big purchases have already been made and other nessicities have been donated (the soft brick and kiln shelves that will make up the floor of the kiln as well the fiber blanket that will insulate the exterior of kiln and the stainless steal tube that will top off the chimney) there are a few major things left. Here's a list:
---15 Cubic feet of Cast-o-lite K-30 high temperature refractory (light, strong, insulative and low shrinkage, this will be used to cast all of the bricks and doors) – 1500$
--- 2 4x8 19 gauge sheet of stainless steal (exterior kiln sheathing) – 500$
--- weight distribution truck hitch (takes the weight off the back of the truck) - 250$
--- trailer jack - 50$
--- 9' 1x1 stainless steal solid stock (Grate bars) – 100$
--- portable high temperature digital thermometer - 150$
--- Enamel Paint for Trailer Siding – 200$
--- new rear tires for my truck (I have been advised to do this by many) - 250$
--- TOTALING 3000$ MINIMUM ---
Any additional funds raised by this Kickstarter will serve as an emergency fund if something is to go wrong during travel with the truck or trailer and any beyond that will support the chemical analyzes of puddles gathered and tested as glazes along the journey... I'll explain...
Over the last year I have been experimenting with the use of puddles as glazes and as a source for glaze recipes. This “Puddle Glazing” as I'm calling it, is an idea that spawned from research into Korean Onggi pottery which described the use of naturally wetted earth surface material with decaying organic matter as their glaze source. And I thought, “You mean a puddle?!” It is an idea that has emerged for me as a meaningful and practical source for glaze material, speaking to the unexpected functional potential of refuse and highlighting the individuality of each place's nuanced chemical composition. By gathering mud and water from seven local puddles in Alfred, NY as well as one sample from the Detroit River, I have fired them on their own, fired them having ball milled them and sieved them, and I have chemically analyzed them and reverse engineered those analyses to develop glaze recipes using commonly available glaze materials to chemically replicate them. This research has not only generated a wide verity of functional glazes that have been a personal joy to use, but it has served as an amazing teaching tool and perfect point of access for individuals to become interested and involved in my practice.
With this first very formal scientific aspect of my puddle glazing research complete, The Mobile Anagama will be the perfect opportunity to share those results and to collect and fire attentional samples along the way. By cross analyzing geological survey maps I'll be able to make predictions regarding the viscosity, applications and color of each glaze as well as comparisons after each puddles chemical analysis. But that's the thing, each chemical analysis is going to cost 25$ and if any additional funds are raised as a result of this Kickstarter, those analyzes is what it will go toward.
After the tour I hope to share the experience and this puddle glaze information as an article published in a ceramics periodical and I will feature writings, Images, glaze recipes, more thoroughly in the “Mobile Anagama” Photobook that I'll be putting together as the reward for donations of 100 dollars or more.
As I'm sure you've noticed, the rewards are listed on the right side of the page. I worked to make the rewards as super great as possible and the explanations straight foreword, but a few are a bit non traditional and slightly tricky, so if you have any questions or concerns please don't hesitate to contact me.
** THANK YOU - THANK YOU - THANK YOU **
Thank you so much for you time, interest and support! If we can make this kiln a reality, then this tour can occur and as a result it may inspire others to see craft objects and process as more than just luxury items and romanticized labor. Instead it may expose craft as a potent opportunity to address social, political and ecological issues as well as to develop cross cultural relationships that might find common ground in the common ground that is clay.
So please donate to “The Mobile Anagama” and help to share and explore the ceramic process with an extended community.
Risks and challenges
There are many challenges that are sure to arise in finishing the kiln and getting on the road, but I'll tackle them as learning opportunities and keep you updated on its progress and location as it happens.
And please, feel free to follow my Instagram as well for images and insight in real time. http://instagram.com/henrycrissman
My last project, The Detroit Noborigama wood fired kiln was a huge success that became and lead too so much more than I ever could have imagined. This project will build on the lessons learned as a results of the last, making for great experiences for myself, you as a backer and everyone else who will to become involved!!!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (13 days)