Earlier this year I had the pleasure of designing and leading the constructing of a train style wood fired kiln at Mendocino Art Center, in Mendocino, CA. The project began many months ago, staring with the deconstruction of the previous wood kiln. The Mendocino Train Kiln consists of an assembly of features collected from many designs throughout the country, with the core design originating from John Neely at Utah State University.
Modifications were made to accommodate the kiln's location in the middle of a residential neighborhood, with the primary goal being to reduce smoke emissions while increasing the efficiency of combustion in order to consume less wood without sacrificing the natural ash glazes of the final product.
There are many people who assisted in the construction who deserve much recognition for their hard work in helping this project reach its conclusion - Evan Hobart: the current ceramics program manager, ceramics artist in residents, and workshop participants.
The experience has reminded me of the requirement for hard work which lies at the core of this field. I'm happy to see this project in its completion and hope it functions as a great learning tool for the ceramics program and community.
Over the past few months I have been pushing to complete a new series of table ware for the 3 Michelin star, San Francisco restaurant: Saison. The project has taken 3 months and has pushed me to the fringes of patience with the non-plastic local earthenware from Mendocino county used exclusively for order. In upholding my commitment to this material and this place, I am reminded that only the earth knows patience in its most honest and unadorned state. Maintaining scale and perspective regarding this issue keeps us moving at the same pace. I'm honored to be working with Saison and look forward to seeing them in use.
Summer Sale - June 18-25
N e w W o o d F i r e d T a b l e w a r e
+ S i t e W i d e D i s c o u n t
I will be hosting my summer online sale starting this Saturday, June 18th at 8:00 AM (PT.) For this event I will be offering a 15% off site wide discount on my inventory, which will include new wood fired vessels and tableware from recent firings. You can view my online shop here, and as always, thank you for your support.
I'm happy to announce that I will be teaching a kiln building workshop at Mendocino Art Center, Aug 4-7. Participants will learn the principles of construction while gaining hands on experience helping to construct a train kiln in beautiful Mendocino, CA. The design will emphasize firing efficiency, ease of loading, and smoke reduction. Housing is available on site and space is limited. Visit www.mendocinoartcenter.org for registration information.
I'm very happy to share the newest selection of sake ware from my last firing. The works are available for viewing and purchase in my online store.
Many of us are familiar with the expression of a chawan's ability to condense all of time into a single bowl - thus eliminating the relationship between size of object and size of content. Historically, it is a form containing strong references to the often intangible and immeasurable universe. This act of condensing is a challenge which I confront in all of my work, using the tea bowl and its symbolic capacities as the metaphorical framework for the pursuit. In essence, the smaller the work, the harder it becomes to express vastness. This is specifically a concern with sake ware and other small cups. It is a challenge not only framed by functional concerns - as the act of drinking is of primary importance - but also of the ability for the maker to practice restraint. When proper restraint is shown, the world outside is allowed to enter and flow freely into the space - much like opening a window in a home. Space outside becomes inseparable from the space within. Never full, never empty. It is my hope that, while small, these works may be seen as capable of containing much more than the liquid they serve.
I will be offering a selection of recent cone five wood fired, high temperature natural ash glazed, and kohiki work for sale December 10-19. Work can be viewed and purchased in my online store www.etsy.com/shop/mitchiburgceramics
Use discount cone for 15% off starting Dec 10th at 9:00 AM PT.
While living in Mendocino I wanted to develop an approach to working that translated my experience with my surroundings. I was most interested in the geographical distance between the ocean to my west and coast range mountains to my east - especially in how the boundaries of their expressions clashed, overlapped, and in some areas blended into one. Beyond an amazement with the visual byproducts of of subduction, erosion, and sedimentation, I was interested in how the rocks of the shore, which one would normally perceive as sedentary, were just as fluid as the ocean that bombarded them. In a sense, this meeting place of land and sea - the shore, reflects a plastic quality- responding to the water's presence via erosion and to its absence by lightening in color over time via oxidation. It was my hope to pursue a series of work which referenced the behavior of this source.
Works from California, Denmark, and Virginia - repaired with 23 karat gold earlier this summer. Contact for availability.