Laurelville Wood Kiln
The Laurelville Wood Kiln is a wood-fired kiln located on the grounds of Laurelville Mennonite Church Center, near Mt. Pleasant, PA. This kiln design is based on another, built by Dale Huffman after studying and participating in the firing of various kilns in Japan. It is essentially a modified anagama, with a tunnel sprung arch, straight walls, and a floor that steps up towards the chimney, much as an anagama might climb up a slight incline. It is shorter in overall length, and taller, than a typical anagama, but produces pots whose effects are quite similar to those fired in a more traditional anagama design. It fires easily and reliably to cone 12 near the firebox, and cone 10 in the rear flue, in as few as 40-45 hours, but has been fired for as long as 3-4 days, yielding various degrees of surface depth and ash accumulation accordingly.
The kiln exists and was conceived as a programmatic partnership between Laurelville Mennonite Church Center, located about an hour southeast of Pittsburgh, and the Union Project community co-op clay studio, located in Pittsburgh's East End. Potters Justin Rothshank and Dale Huffman collaborated on the project, resulting in a multi-day workshop to build the kiln, implemented as a pre-NCECA workshop in the spring of 2008. From 15-20 participants were involved in its construction, led by Rothshank, Huffman, and Eric Knoche. The kiln has been well utilized by various groups of potters, most connected with Laurelville, the Union Project, or Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, seeing activity every 2-4 months year-round.