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Woodfiring @Oxford Kilns with Dr Robin Wilson

September 18 @ 10:00 am - September 22 @ 4:00 pm

Free – £165.00
Woodfiring

London Potters are organising a unique opportunity to learn how to fire your own work in an anagama style wood kiln at the Oxford University Kilns, under the instruction of researcher and expert kiln-firer Dr Robin Wilson.

Twelve London Potters members will make up the firing team and will learn to load, and fire the kiln over five days 18th – 22nd September (residential), and unload the kiln a week later on the 29th September.

All members are invited to the kiln opening day, bring a picnic and witness the opening and see the results on the 29th September. Tickets for the kiln opening day will be via a separate ticket.

WOODFIRING IS A FUN AND RICH EXPERIENCE. HOWEVER IT IS ALSO PHYSICALLY DEMANDING. THEREFORE BEFORE YOU BOOK, PLEASE

  • ENSURE YOU CAN ATTEND ALL DATES INCLUDING THE KILN OPENING ON THE 29TH SEPTEMBER
  • READ THE DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS BELOW CAREFULLY
  • ENSURE YOU CAN CARRY OUT ALL THE TASKS DESCRIBED AS THIS IS A PHYSICALLY DEMANDING COURSE, INCLUDING NIGHT SHIFTS, EXTREME HEAT AND CHOPPING/MOVING WOOD

SUMMARY INFORMATION

Dates & Times Kiln loading & firing:

Arrival: 18th September 2024 10am

Departure: 22nd September 2024 3pm

Kiln opening & site cleaning:

29th September 10:00am – 4:00pm

Address Wytham Woods, University of Oxford OX2 8QQ
Number of Attendees Minimum 9

Maximum 12

Inclusive of LP firing leaders

Ticket Price Members only £165 via the LP website

Plus £30 for Oxford University Kilns membership fee which attendees must pay directly through this link Oxford Kilns (membermojo.co.uk) before the 31st August.

Price does NOT include travel to the site, accommodation & food

Refund Policy No cancellations/refunds by the attendees unless we can find a replacement for your space

Refunds will be the ticket price less processing fees.

London Potters has the right to cancel if we do not reach the minimum of 9 or do to events outside of our control. In this case, a full refund will be made to ticket holders.

Booking 7pm 10th June 2024 – 11:30pm 31st August 2024
Enquiries Janet White    Email: Events@Londonpotters.com

 

LOGISTICS INFORMATION

1. Date & Time

Loading & Firing

18th – 22nd September 2024

Attendees are required to arrive by 10:00am on the 18th May 2024 for the beginning of the course

Departure: 22nd Sept. The firing is expected to complete by 3:00pm.

Kiln Opening, Results Discussion & Site Cleaning

29h Sept. 2024 10:00am – 4:00pm

Attendees are required to arrive by 10:00am on the 29th Sept. for kiln opening and unloading. The attendees can disperse by 3:00pm following the Woodfiring Results Discussion, and importantly once the kiln has been cleaned and kiln shelves grinded, batt-washed and ready for  firing.

2. Accommodation

It is strongly recommended that attendees camp onsite to ensure they are available for their firing shift as well as other tasks on site while they are not on their firing shift.

Attendees are required to bring their own tents, sleeping bags, crockery for personal use. Attendees will also asked to a bring a selection of cooking equipment for communal use – this will be communicated by the firing leaders in due course.

Pitching a tent onsite is free of charge, and there are washing and lavatory facilities on site.

The experience of woodfiring is an all-encompassing experience and so it is recommended that you camp if you are able to.

However, there are a limited number of B&Bs in the area. If you choose to stay at B&B, you will be expected to be onsite for much of the day for tasks such as shopping, preparing food, wood preparation (chopping/moving) and firing the kiln.

3. Transport

You can access the kiln site by a 10 minute taxi from Oxford station, or park on site for free. There is very limited public transportation. More details will be sent to the confirmed firing team in due course.

4. Food

Food is not included in the fees.

During the course, attendees will take part in the planning, shopping, making of all meals and drinks. The firing team will enjoy meals together as part of the experience. Ingredients costs will be split between participants. A form will be sent to the attendees before the event to gather information about dietary requirements .

5. Parking

Free parking is available on site.

Oxford Kilns Membership

This is mandatory and you must become a member by signing up through the link here before you can attend the London Potters firing. If you are already a member from previous firings  this year, you do not have sign up again. Please see the note from Robin.

Dear Friends,

I have finally set up a membership scheme and we would be immensely appreciative if you would show support of the work that we do by becoming a member.

Membership runs for a year and through it we will keep you informed of our activities and events that we can invite you to participate in. We also ask that anyone who intends to fire with us (and has indeed fired with us since February 2024) takes up membership as this helps to cover insurance and site access. It’s a one-off cost that you only have to pay once even if you are firing with us multiple times over the year. We are an entirely self-funded organisation and without your support we would not be able to offer the opportunities for learning, skills exchange and research that we deliver.

The link for membership is below and is set as a payment of £30. It anyone would like to pay monthly at £2.50 a month please contact me by email and I will set this up with you.

Link to the membership site: Oxford Kilns (membermojo.co.uk)

With kindest regards,

Rosie

Rosie Fairfax-Cholmeley

Administrator, Oxford Kilns

Course Details

It is important, before you commit to a firing like this, that you understand exactly what you are signing up for. The information below breaks down what you can expect from the course at the Oxford University Kilns led by Dr Robin Wilson. Two experienced firing leaders from London Potters will assist Dr Robin Wilson during the firing.

If you commit to the firing, it is essential that you do not cancel as this could put the firing in jeopardy for the whole team involved, and as such please read all of the information carefully before making a booking.

Please feel free to contact event@londonpotters.com with any questions before committing to the firing.

General Information

On days 1 and 2 (18-19 Sept.), the firing team will load the kiln. On days 3 to 5 (20/21/22 Sept.), the kiln will be fired. After seven days of cooling (you will be offsite during kiln cooling), you will return to the kiln site on Day 6 of the course (29 Sept.) to unload the kiln, discuss the results and clean the kiln/site. Those who fired the kiln will be expected to share their experience during the kiln opening with the public and other London Potters members who attend the kiln opening.

The kiln requires stoking 24hrs/day during the firing, which means that firing teams will be working round the clock and you will end up doing at least one night shift over the 3 days of firing. There is a lot of laborious tasks involved such as chopping and moving wood, moving kiln shelves and so on. Firing the kiln itself is hot, tiring, but very exciting work. As part of the course, you will be taught the tasks to be performed. However, no one will be expected to do something they are not comfortable with/do not feel they can do safely.

It is important to note that the firing team will be responsible for managing the campsite as well as firing the kiln. This includes: shopping for food, meal planning, cooking communally, keeping the kiln site clean and tidy, disposing of rubbish etc – it is not only the glitz and glamour of firing the kiln!

It is also important to look after each other and keep well hydrated and fed. As such communal meals will be planned to support those firing the kiln. A list of items that we recommend for you to bring to make the firing comfortable and enjoyable will follow.

What you will learn

You will be guided through the various demands of the different stages of firing a kiln of anagama design by Dr Robin Wilson. You’ll understand what impacts decorative effects (pots will go into the kiln unglazed and will develop their decorative character by the interplay of the ash, embers, atmosphere etc of the kiln), and learn how to stoke and load the kilns. You will be spending an intense period of time with fellow potters, so you are also likely to learn a lot from each other, and most likely make friends that will last a lifetime!

Timing Guide

18th September, Wednesday 10:00am-4:00pm: prepare wadding, organise and begin loading the pots in the kiln. Theory of how these kilns are loaded will be taught. Wadding of pots for decorative effects.

19th September, Thursday 10:00am-4:00pm: Continue to load the kiln

20th September, Friday 10:00am: Light the kiln. From then on the kiln will be stoked by teams in shifts 24hr/day across the next three days. Expect two shifts of around 4 hours on the kiln each day, with the additional responsibility of preparing one meal for the whole group at specified meal times. Exact timings will depend on the final numbers of attendees and will be confirmed in due course.

21st September, Saturday all day: Continue to firing and other duties.

22nd September, Sunday approximately 3:00pm: Firing finished and kiln sealed to cool slowly. Clean up the camp site and dispose of any rubbish.

29th September. Sunday 10:00am: Open the kiln and see results, discussed with other LP members. Once the kiln is unloaded, prepare the kiln for the next team (apply kiln wash, grinding etc). Expect to finish around 4pm.

Woodfiring Shifts

During the firing stage of the course (20th – 22nd Sept.), a rota will be created for the woodfiring team to attend the fire. The firing leaders will support teams and advise if things are going wrong.

All attendees will be expected to cover overnight shifts.

Equipment

Safety equipment will be provided and a full safety briefing given onsite.

Please bring:

  • a cloth face covering (e.g. 100% cotton scarf)
  • your own kiln/raku gloves and goggles
  • closed footwear
  • long-sleeved natural fiber tops and trousers (e.g. 100% cotton)

For safety reasons, it is critical that you do not wear synthetic fabrics of any kind as your outer layer.

Shelf Space

The shelf space will be equally shared between all attendees. We reckon this means about 14 pots per person, one of these can be large. Specific measurements will be communicated separately.

Members of the firing team are encouraged to bring more than their allocated space, in case some pots are smaller/fewer than expected. However, there is no guarantee all pots will be fired as the loading cannot be judged until all pots are on site. You will learn about this as part of the course.

Pots for firing

  • All the pots you bring have to be bisqued
  • NO glazes are allowed in this firing
  • All pots must be clearly marked with your maker’s mark

Recommended Clay

The clay you choose for wood firing is crucial to the results.

1/ Clay has to be able to be fired to 1300 degrees Celsius (check labels on clay bags and info on suppliers’s website). Otherwise the clay will melt.

2/ If your clay is high in iron (Toasted/some dark buffs) all your pots will be a shade of dark brown.

3 /If your clay is a type of Crank (Ashraf Hanna/ any Crank clay), the amount of refractory material in the clay means that it will keep “dry” and not pick up much ash.

4/ So choose a clay with a bit of iron or a flecked, speckled white. If you usually work with a 1300 S/W with no iron, just add iron spangles to it when you wedge it. You can also mix clay bodies: 1/3 buff + 2/3 white S/W will have enough iron to react.

5/ Svend Bayer clay is designed for extended wood firings.

Outcomes

Due to the nature of these kilns, we cannot guarantee that

  • all your pots will be fired
  • that your pots will survive the firing: the process is high risk and accidents happen e.g. pots sticking, falling over, damaged by wood, melting etc
  • how the pots will look as a result of the firing

The Oxford University Kilns Instagram page will give you a good idea of the kinds of pots these kilns produce, and a bit of what you can expect from your experience. @oxforduniversitykilns on Instagram

Details

Start:
September 18 @ 10:00 am
End:
September 22 @ 4:00 pm
Cost:
Free – £165.00

Venue

Wytham Woods, University of Oxford OX2 8QQ
Oxford, OX2 8QQ United Kingdom + Google Map

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