The focus of this course will be to foster an understanding of and fluency with kiln design. Specifically, we will be exploring combustion fired kilns, mainly gas and wood. We will be using two distinct methodologies to investigate this subject: inquiry and hands on practice. We will be researching the materials, specifications, construction, and chemical and physical science involved in different kiln designs and how their unique attributes enable their specialized functions. The RISD/Steel Yard wood/gas/soda hybrid kiln schematic that Bennington ceramics is hoping to replace our retired soda kiln with will be one of the subjects of our queries. To augment the reading, discussion, and video component of this class, the students will participate in firing their work in Bennington College’s downdraft gas kilns and converting a commercially produced electric barrel kiln into a small downdraft gas kiln. Upon completing the kiln renovation, students will experiment with firing small batches of their work. Depending on local travel restrictions, visits to local kilns may occur in person or virtually. Some possible subjects for additional exploration are historical president and contemporary utilization of the divergent kiln styles, alternative fuels (coal, waste cooking oil, etc.), and designs specific to firing with a sodium atmosphere (soda and salt).
To minimize attendance in the studio, half the class will meet at a time in-person for hands-on instruction and demonstrations with the remaining students (including any full remote students) participating live via Zoom. These sessions will be recorded as well. The next demonstration will be in-person for those students who attended remotely during the previous meeting and the students who were in-person will be remote. If the College deems it necessary to go to remote instruction, the hands-on element will be replaced by research-based investigations. Demonstrations will continue remotely. The main objective of this course is to provide students with a working knowledge of the varieties of fuel firing options that are available, how they work, and a DIY approach to kiln building. This course is intended for the beginning to intermediate ceramic student and may require additional materials to be purchased by the student. One class per week, some portion of this class will be synchronous, some asynchronous depending on the numbers enrolled.
Delivery Method: Hybrid in-person and remote, with faculty in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
W 10:00AM - 11:50AM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 12
Categories: All courses , Updates , Ceramics , Hybrid In-Person and Remote
Tags: ceramics , #process , material , visual arts , 3D , kiln design , kiln building , gas kiln , kiln firing , glaze chemistry , ceramics history , wood kiln , atmospheric kiln , soda kiln , salt kiln , material science , DIY