Friday, November 4, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Anagama Firing Round 2

We have just concluded the second firing of our newly built Anagama kiln. Here is a recap of what happened and what we learned. Along with a few photos of course.

Our stacking strategy was a bit different this time around. We plugged up a couple air holes at the bottom of the interior back wall. We found this worked pretty well to distribute the flame exiting the ware chamber, which helped to even out the temperature. We stacked the back
pretty full and put our taller pieces in the front with open space above them to allow ash to travel to the back of the chamber.

Our plan for the firing was to go slow, we had no problem gaining temp in the first firing. Then we wanted to hold at about cone11 to get the pots nice and sticky and allow time for the ash to melt. We also tried to keep good reduction throughout the firing starting at cone 012.

We started with an overnight gas preheat and followed by 3 1/4 days of firing with pine and oak, which was a bit shorter than our plan. We did one last major stoke and then sealed it up with cone 12 bending in the front. With just 3 people pulling 8 hour shifts each day, we were a bit tired by the end of it.

We ended Thursday and opened Monday. It was hard to wait for that moment and admittedly,
we peaked.

Here is what we saw...

We learned a lot about our different clay bodies from this firing. Much of the work in the kiln was made using at least some of the native red clay dug on the property. This is one iron rich deposit! We got a lot of dark metallic purpleish brown coloring on the native clay pieces, even those with just a little native. We also found that the native on it's own is not great at catching ash. In the future it will need a little help.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Come join us at this year's Appomattox Railroad Festival. October 8th (8 am-5 pm) and 9th (12:00 am -5 pm.) We will be selling work from our second wood firing and will also have a throwing demonstration. Should be a great day, so come join us!

More info on the Historical Appomattox Railroad Festival can be found here

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Soda Kilns Falling Down

After several not-so-successful firings of our newly built wood/soda kiln we decided it would need to be rebuilt to accommodate a larger fire box. Step one of this rebuild is the demolition of the current soda kiln. We are please to say that step one is complete. Below are a few photos of the process. We are excited to get the new model built and firing beautiful pieces.

We started by supporting the key block of the arch to prevent a major collapse during the deconstruction. We wanted to save and reuse as many bricks as possible. Deconstruction went well as we worked from both sides of the kiln removing bricks. As we got closer to the middle, excitement rose as the arch continued to hold....and hold....and hold. Below you'll see the shortened video of the
collapse of the kiln. It was good to know that the arch we built was strong.

And here is the site of the future wood fired soda kiln.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Residency positions available


The Cub Creek Foundation is now accepting applications for 12 month and short term residencies. Please contact John Jessiman at or by phone at 434.248.5074 for more information.

Spacious 400 sq foot studio space
access to:
newly constructed anagama
cone 10 gas reduction kiln
wood-salt - in progress
wood soda - in progress
Skutt manual electric kiln
two abundant native clay deposits

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

New blog post by resident Mitch Iburg with photos from the first firing of the new anagama.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Summer 2011

Yet another blogging hiatus has come to an end. The summer of 2011 has seen an abundance of healthy activity at Cub Creek. Our kiln building workshop held in early June resulted in the successful construction of a brand new anagama as well as a small wood fired test kiln which occupies the same chimney. The week long workshop was a lively time of hard work, long hours and hot sun. Despite dangerous working conditions our wonderful group of residents and local artists pulled together to leave their mark on Cub Creek's future.

Dimensions are established on the concrete slab

A cinderblock foundation is layed first to elevate the kiln


leveling the walls

Wooden arch forms are cut to support a roof made entirely of castable refractory.

Applying castable refractory roof. A separate key brick will be cast to allow for expansion from the heat

Wooden form removed after castable has cured

Anagama nearing completion with steel reinforcement. Chimney and wood/soda kiln in progress

The week long workshop was a lively time of hard work, long hours and hot sun. Despite dangerous working conditions our wonderful group of residents and local artists pulled together to leave their mark on Cub Creek's future.

The weeks following the workshop have been spent saying goodbyes to residents at the end of their year long Cub Creek experience, digging and processing local clay, and creating a healthy amount of pots to fill the new kiln. With the arrival of kiln building workshop participant turned short term resident Ron Shaw came the construction of a roof to protect the new kilns from the elements. Ron is not only a terrific potter from Florida, but also a tremendously hard worker whose assistance with building the shed cannot be thanked enough.

We began our first firing of our anagama on July 16th. The good news is that it works! cone 12 was soft in the firebox at 24 hours. The less than satisfactory news is that, like many first firings, it will take a few firings to fine tune. Despite an uneven firing with a minimal amount of natural ash we still received many successful pieces and an abundance of knowledge with which to approach the next firing.

Keep an eye out for photos of the loading, firing, and finished work.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Cory Brown

Meet Cory.

Cory has been a resident here at Cub Creek since September and is originally from Utah. He received his BFA from Utah State University in 2009.

To find out more about Cory and see his work, visit our website at or his at

Monday, January 24, 2011

Audra Darbyshire

Meet Audra, one of our residents here at Cub Creek.

Audra was born in Memphis, TN, but has spent most of her life in Florida. She earned her BFA from the University of Central Florida in 2010.

To learn more about Audra, visit our website at or her website at

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Heidi Kreitchet

For the past month Cub Creek has been enjoying the brilliant company of Heidi Kreitchet, a wood fire ceramics artist who graduated with a MFA from Utah State University, a BFA from Northern Arizona University, and has worked as an assistant for Don Reitz.

Heidi came to Cub Creek, a ball of positive energy, and has been a great resource for all the residents with her experiences and insights into art, work, education, and clay.

To find out more about Heidi and see her work, check out her website at

Artist Statement

Creating pieces that are derived from the concept of the vessel is what pushes me to create my work. I am interested in the exploration of form through line and gesture. This becomes my visual vocabulary for communicating my on-going experience with “pushing clay”.

By hand-building these pieces I express a constant change in pattern and form. I am interested in creating pieces with angles and planes that have texture and hardness to them while enhancing the beauty of the woodfire finish.

This interaction between the malleable, versatile clay is informed by my immediate reaction to the physical quality of the material. This provides the vessels with passion, power, animation, and elasticity.

I believe in expressing movement and gesture by using clay to give the vessels integrity.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New beginnings for 2011

After a long blogging hiatus 2011 seems like the perfect time to start up again. Winter has set in, the holidays are finished, and work has begun again at Cub Creek.

Stay tuned over the next few days as we introduce the newest batch of residents.