The Liz Berry Kiln

When I moved to Fairbanks, I was fortunate enough to find a quaint little cabin, a few minutes away from the University.  It just so happened, that this cabin had a wood kiln on the property.  What I soon learned was the amazing history of this place!  My cabin used to be the studio for Liz Berry, a well known local potter, and her husband, Bill Berry who is a famous Alaskan illustrator. The kiln had been designed and built in 1977 by Fred Olsen, who came up for a two day workshop to direct the build.  Liz Berry and other local potters were the work force--you go girls (and one gentleman who was here for the last firing and is helping to direct the rebuild).  The kiln was only meant to last about fifty firings, but she's held up all the way through the 103rd! I'm honored to be a part of this piece of Fairbanks history.  The Folk School, which is just up the road from her previous home, has made room to rebuild this historic kiln on their property for many more years and firings to come!  Updates of the re-build to follow!


Local potters made work specially for this last firing of the historic kiln.  Getting them lined up and ready to go!

All loaded up--ready to brick up and mud up the door.

Towards the end of the firing we were really having to work to get reduction.  The damper had been stuck in place (later upon dismantling we found out there really was no damper at all!) but we did our best and prayed to our kiln gods!

Stoking away with our custom grates.

Cone check.  And also a way we kept track of the reduction before we got the flame out of the stack.

Some sweet pots from the 103rd firing!  We  had many visitors and helpers for the firing.  It was an amazing experience, one certainly that reminds me of why I do what I do--for the clay and community, great people and great pots!