POPE VALLEY (1995-2014)

Since 1996, artists, students and faculty from the region and abroad have been invited to participate in the group wood firings that have become a tradition at my Burton Creek Studio.  Large Anagama (tunnel) kilns date back over a thousand years in Japan and are among the oldest methods for creating high fire ceramics. Over the last twenty-five years contemporary ceramics has seen a global resurgence in this ancient method. The process alone of loading and firing a twenty foot long 250 cubic foot anagama kiln is extensive, requiring a crew of around ten people about 50 hours to load the kiln.  After three or four days of loading, the kiln fires for about ten days requiring two to four people taking six hour shifts to monitor the kiln around the clock.  Seven days of cooling are necessary to allow the work to be safely unloaded.  Each firing is carefully documented and builds on the knowledge gained from previous research. Students learn intimate details about the firing process, gain valuable insights into maintaining and operating one’s own studio and are introduced to a community of practicing artists, professors, and students from many colleges from the region and beyond.  Realizing years ago that this studio would not be able to grow and meet my artistic needs, I purchased a property where I would be able to bring my vision to fruition. After a challenging year and a half of building, my family and I moved onto the property in 2005. As with my artwork, it was important to be true to materials while constructing our home and developing the land. We have added chickens, designated garden spaces with raised beds, and a large orchard with 22 fruit trees