Building A Potter's Dream Oven - Wood Fired Soda Kiln

Posted on 9 August, 2015 by Team Wishberry

throwing-1024x614 Wood-fired soda kiln, as the name suggests is a project to build a one of a kind oven that bakes pots at a beautiful organic farm called Pothole, near Chennai. The mission of this project was to give an opportunity to potters and aspiring potters, to come and learn pottery via workshops. The campaign successfully got backed on the 2nd of May, 2014. We had a chat with Kaveri Bharath to get an update on The Pothole. See the campaign page HERE!  

How has the journey of building the soda kiln been so far?

Kaveri: It has been quite a challenging journey. There have been many hurdles along the way- right from finding daily labourers to unavailability of materials, unexpected rains, health issues and a personal loss on the home front. However, I have managed to single handedly, brick by brick, pot by pot, put the whole thing up only now, FINALLY! I'm finally getting the pottery rewards done.The kiln building took place over many breaks, as I had committed myself for a few shows and workshops. The kiln has been successfully completed and the clay has been made. The Farm Stay rewards, the Thank You post cards, and the Farm Hamper vouchers were dispatched as per schedule. We are now ready to fire. 10505371_324137797752134_596117709652358122_n

What all has happened ever since the soda kiln started?

Kaveri: I attended a workshop in Auroville, conducted by Ruthanne Tudball - one of the current worldwide experts in Soda Firing. Her work was the reason that I fell in love with Soda Fired ware in the first place. It was an honour to meet and learn from her. I learnt more about clay bodies, surfaces of the pieces, and formulating slips and glazes that work better with soda firing. She also visited Pothole at the Farm, and was very impressed with the almost finished kiln.

What plans do you have in terms of activities, events and community-building with regards to the soda kiln?

Kaveri: Right now the kiln is getting filled with the rewards to be fired, as well as the pieces made by some of the funders who had opted to do that as part of their reward. The next firing is going to be cups, mugs, bowls and teapots for The Farm's own restaurant, right next to the kiln. Plans are afoot to invite other ceramic artists and potters to come and use the kiln, for various workshops and training sessions; either for members of the pottery community or the general public. I plan to make pots in the soda kiln to sell at a counter at The Farm, and also sculptural pieces for upcoming exhibitions. A few other studio potters have expressed an interest come and stay for extended periods of time, and rent the studio space and kiln to use to do their work too.  

How are you (or planning to) spreading the word about the soda kiln?

Kaveri: I am planning an event with as many of the funders who can make it, to witness the unloading of the first pots fired in it. It will be an event with snacks, tea and a slide show. Beyond that, we are printing a fold out pamphlet with information on various workshops and events to be held at Pothole at the Farm, through the year. This will be shared with the restaurant and room guests at The Farm, as well as online on the facebook page, my mailing list, and my own website. Posters for each event will be shared online as well as in key coffee shops, supermarkets, schools, etc.

What's the next big project you're looking at?

Kaveri:  Within a year, I would really like to have a potter's market at Pothole at the Farm, where I will conduct a live demo, and end the experience with a firing in the soda kiln with pieces from all the potters who participate in the market.

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