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Fire in the Kiln! Sylvania welcomes new, functional ceramics space
Photos and Story by James Hill
This term, the Sylvania Campus had a raku firing party to officially open the brand new ceramics kiln yard next to the CT Building. On Oct. 24, dozens of faculty, staff and students painted pottery and witnessed the first raku firing in the facility. The new kiln yard offers students in the ceramics and sculpture classes a dry and bright space in which to do their thing.
It was made possible by a team of PCC staff, including Kathy Fukuyama (Facilities Management Services college architect), Gene Flores (division dean of Sylvania’s Visual and Performing Arts), Chris Ells (manager of Safety & Risk Management) and Charlie Washburn (visual arts instructor). The team hired THA Architecture Inc., to design the kiln yard and used general contractor Pacificmark Construction to build it. It was a four-month project and was paid for by the college departments involved.
The yard is 40-by-40 feet with an open air design to allow circulation during the firings. The 14-foot high roof is fire treated and is supported by galvanized steel columns. The yard will ultimately house four kilns: a down-draft forced air, raku, wood-burning and soda kilns. Storm water cells, recessed concrete boxes filled with rock and filtering plant material, will collect rain runoff and send it to the storm drain.
“The collaboration made it a very unique building,” said Mark Matthews, owner of Pacificmark Construction. “It’s a very good building. It will actually be nice for the community as well as the students and it gives the staff a chance to show their craft to others as they teach the classes.”
If you’ve ever wondered what a raku firing looks like, check out the video above, especially the last half.