Joe Finch will be demonstrating the building and firing of his new ‘clay kiln’ during the festival.
The kiln will be inexpensive to build, efficient to fire and be possible to construct by ‘non kiln builders’. The kiln is built by using a highly refractory, open bodied, clay that is formed as a thin section over a catenary-arch former. This is the inner shell of the kiln which is then backed up with ceramic fibre insulation which in-turn is encased in vermiculate concrete.
The pots he will be firing will be soda glazed with a variety of slip decorations
Joe is a ‘mud, water and fire’ potter who has made his living for nearly fifty years by making and firing his pots for which a reliable, efficient kiln has been essential.
Having been lucky enough to be taught by his father Ray at Winchcombe Pottery he went on to establish Kolonyama Pottery in Lesotho (1969), Appin Pottery in Scotland (1973) and his pottery here in West Wales (1990). At each place he has built kilns to suit his work.
Although he enjoys all the making processes the excitement of opening a kiln to reveal the finished pieces has never diminished especially as he wood-fires and also sometimes soda glazes his pots.
Over the years he has designed and built many kilns for other potters and in 2006 his book ‘Kiln Construction’ was published.
The idea for the ‘clay kiln’ was conceived after he was asked by Coleg Sir Gar to design an inexpensive kiln that the students could construct. Having developed the concept he realizes that the kiln could be useful for many others potters both amateur and professional.