Sunday, October 26, 2008

Wood for Thought

This man loves wood. And so he better, because woodfiring requires a whole lot more work than setting the controls on an electric kiln and going home for the night. 
What is it about firing with wood that somehow makes all the time spent seeking out wood sources, splitting and prepping, stacking and stoking worth it????? 

The last three years spent firing our kiln at home in the Slocan Valley, we came to appreciate the value of "free" wood. Living amidst both loggers and environmentalists in the Slocan Valley, we were able to find a balance between easing our environmental consciousness and sympathizing with the logging industry. We found ourselves a sweet deal with a locally owned sawmill. In return for the occasional six pack, we were supplied with loads of free wood to fire our kiln - a byproduct of the lumber industry that otherwise would have been burned as waste. 

Now in Utah, where wood is much more scarce, Robin has found himself scavenging for wood to fire the kilns at school. The most reliable source for kiln fuel is the local dump, but the problem is most of the trees deposited there are cottonwood which produces an ash on the pots the colour of concrete- not so ideal. Preferably the students are looking for pine or spruce, harder to come by in this town. Robin even convinced a neighbor of ours who just happened to be taking down a pine tree in his back yard to save the wood for him. 

The local sawmill owner here is asking $50 per bundle of edgings for his wood. A pretty price to pay for any student. Especially when you are going through cords they way they do at USU.

It makes you wonder why such a esteemed program, known for its woodfiring, would be here on the edge of the desert? You've got to hand it to John and Dan, who have built this program up over the years. Somehow the wood is found, and the kilns are fired continuously throughout the year by eager students, all yearning for that gooey, snotty, crusty perfect wood fired pot! 

P.S. Why is it that the word Wood doesn't rhyme with the word Food????? 

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