A potter adjusts the kiln. Photo by Risa Horowitz
by Adam Gamble

Seventeen University of Regina artists began sharing their passion for pottery with the public Thursday, Oct. 24,at 10 a.m.

Until 8 p.m. Friday the collective, comprised of two visual arts staff and 15 students, fired pottery in a kiln outside the University’s Riddell Centre.

 

The firing was the third since June, when students from Art 290 helped build the kiln.
 

Martin Tagseth, adjunct professor, who has built kilns across North America and Europe instructed the students, as did Darcy Zink, ceramics and sculpture technician.
 
The Department of Visual Arts, the students, and Tagseth covered most of the project’s costs.

 
“The kiln was built with over 1,000 bricks,” said Steph Ross, who took Art 290  last summer. Ross is also one of 15 students from Art 260 – Introduction to Ceramics – and Art 490AI – Senior 3D Studio – who, in shifts, fired pottery Thursday through Friday.

“It’s generating enthusiasm for ceramic students,” he said.


This enthusiasm may be what led Ross to take two pottery-firing shifts, totaling 13 hours.  Both shifts entailed adding wood to the kiln to keep it ablaze, and checking its temperature.


To check the kiln’s temperature, “you open one of the four peeps (doors), which each have eight cones behind them, and look at the cones. “The degree to which the cones are melted then determines the kiln’s temperature,” Ross explained..


Michael Flaherty, who is teaching two art courses on a sabbatical replacement this semester said, “The kiln got as hot as Cone 12 – equivalent to 1,350 C.”


Flaherty has worked with kilns in many provinces, including Alberta, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia.


“This is one of the nicest kilns I have ever worked with. We are super lucky to have it,” he said.


Flaherty, along with Zink, observed students as they contributed to the creation of 200 pieces of art. Flaherty also added wood to the kiln, while Zink sealed the kiln with mortar.


Elizabeth Kopriva, a third-year film and video production student,  noticed the kiln on her way to class.


“I had no idea what it was for, but I guessed it was for pottery,” said Kopriva. “The fact that it’s in a public space means that everyone can see what’s going on.”

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