A Day in the Kiln at Gustin Ceramics

It’s a sooty job, but someone has to do it. Good thing there were lots of people at Gustin Ceramics this past weekend to unload the latest firing. Over 1000 pieces of pottery were removed from the Anagama Wood Kiln at Gustin’s Dartmouth studio. Helpers gathered in assembly line form to take the pottery piece by piece from the 3-chamber kiln. Many were participating in “kiln-shares,” others– friends, family, and pottery enthusiasts–came for the hands-on, up-close view of a day in the life of a potter.

The bi-annual unloading event takes place behind the renovated chicken coop where Gustin Ceramics has made a home for ceramic artwork. Owner Chis Gustin built the Japanese, tunnel-style kiln and renovated it in 2005 to include 3 chambers, making firing more efficient. With this ancient wood-run structure, potters relinquish part of the creative process to naturally occurring “weather” inside the kiln; ash created by wood firing creates unique glazing not achievable through gas or electric firing. Gustin does stick around, almost around the clock however, to make sure the temperature stays optimal during the process. “The kiln takes three days to load, six days to fire, and a week to cool and unload.”

Under such a delicate and lengthy unfolding, no wonder participants were enthusiastic to take part, even in the heat the day. As pieces came out from the kiln, volunteers shouted the name of the artist and the work made it’s way down the line, to its respective resting place under a tent or on a table. The long-awaited results were glorious.

Gustin Ceramics is located along the open fields of the Farmcaost on Horseneck Rd. Chris Gustin’s background and lifetime experience in ceramic manufacturing has earned him international recognition. Perhaps one of the most satisfying honors is the success of his tile company featuring handmade and uniquely durable tile solutions. Gustin is also known for his sculptural ceramic artwork. Whatever the creation, his work exhibits natural elements at their most beautiful.

The next firing will be in September. To learn more about kiln shares, and studio events visit www.gustinceramics.com.

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