ECU graduate students fire kiln at North Carolina Pottery Center

Randolph County potter Joseph Sands, at left, hosted ECU graduate students Devin McKim and Erin Younge during their summer internship.

Randolph County potter Joseph Sands, at left, hosted ECU graduate students Devin McKim and Erin Younge during their summer internship.

As part of a summer internship finale, two East Carolina University graduate students will fire a groundhog kiln on the lawn of the North Carolina Pottery Center today.

Erin Younge, a third-year graduate student in ECU’s ceramics program, has been teaching clay programs for all ages. Devin McKim, a second-year graduate student, has been working with local Randleman potter Joseph Sands to learn production ceramic techniques. The student internships are part of an ongoing collaboration between ECU and the pottery center.

The firing of the groundhog kiln takes approximately 15 hours and uses two cords of wood.  “Firing a groundhog kiln is a great introduction to Seagrove pottery,” McKim said. “I am excited to be joining in on that traditional style of salt firing.”

Also on Aug. 2, there will be a Raku firing demonstration. Younge and McKim will explain the firing process and answer questions from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. today and Saturday.

The Raku firing will be divided into smaller batches to fire, remove and fume – and then repeat with each batch – to give visitors a chance to see finished pieces more quickly than most types of firings.

“I am amazed by the range of color that Raku firings produce,” said Younge. “The transformation that takes place in both the clay and the glaze by using simple combustible materials like sawdust or flowers is always a treat.”

The mission of the North Carolina Pottery Center is to promote public awareness of and appreciation for the history, heritage and ongoing tradition of pottery making in North Carolina.

The center is located at 233 East Avenue in Seagrove. It’s open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. For more information, call 336-873-8430 or go to www.ncpotterycenter.org.

 

 

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