Why did I make this video?
Because it was fun to make.
To inspire and encourage people to nurture their own passion for creating.
To honor my father’s unique personality, skills, and lifetime of hard work.
And to answer the oft asked but surprisingly difficult to answer question, “So, what exactly do y’all do at Maine Kiln Works?”
Defining what we do here at Maine Kiln Works is an almost impossible task. While I often tell people that we are a “pottery” studio, that is misleading since ceramic production is only one small aspect of what goes on here. Maine Kiln Works and Artisan Lab is a place to learn through making in a wide array of mediums. A place to nurture learning, living, and authenticity through hands-on creation. A place to take your idea and make it real by physically building it.
This documentary short is about the driving force behind Maine Kiln Works—a man (my father) who has devoted his life to a passion for making and who is now in the process of establishing a hands-on 501(c)3 educational nonprofit to share his multi-disciplinary attitudes, skills and workshops with a new generation passionate about making. View full size here.
“I can’t believe that!” said Alice. “Can’t you?” the Queen said in a pitying tone. “Try again, draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.” Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said. “One can’t believe impossible things.” “I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
— Lewis Carroll
Chapter 5 — “Wool and Water”
Through the Looking Glass
From Unknown Craftsman by Soetsu Yanagi
“If a kiln is small, I might be able to control it completely, that is to say, my own self can become a controller, a master of the kiln. But man’s self is but a small thing after all. When I work at the large kiln, the power of my own self becomes so feeble that it cannot control it adequately. It means that for the large kiln, the power that is beyond me is necessary. Without the mercy of such invisible power I cannot get good pieces. One of the reasons why I wanted to have a large kiln is because I want to be a potter, if I may, who works more in grace than in his own power.”
— Shōji Hamada quote
Have you ever felt you were a spectator rather than a participant in your life? A twist on Allen Saunders expression “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans”.
When like an unreal dream you are startled with the gift of a George Nakashima table and within the same year a brilliantly manic friend gives you a Shoji Hamada plate saying “thought you should have this”.
One day I find myself glazing a bisque plate which has been gathering dust in inventory for many years. As the dry glazed piece waits weeks for me to load the kiln—I walk by thinking it will not fire well and come close to washing it off (to re-glaze in another way). I finally load the kiln and happen upon the patient plate which I decide is needed to fill kiln space—even though I have zero confidence in the result.
Imagine my surprise & chagrin on unloading a piece as beautiful as any I have ever touched. A piece I seem to have made and glazed and fired—but the result of which did not come from my confused efforts. This experience is a hubris killer as well as a powerful motivator to persevere while being skeptical of one’s inclinations. Have you ever experienced anything like this?
Though it has taken a VERY long time—I’m at last attempting to create a comprehensive site to display our hand formed Porcelain & Stoneware as well as a range of tangential activities & interests. Perhaps my long suffering customers will be pleased to see results after repeatedly seeing my site development plans delayed. Everything around here is long term—making patience and persistence essential.
I am currently spewing out new pieces and processes at an unprecedented clip—the result of herky jerky planning and testing which is finally bearing fruit. We have scores of new glazes and have successful crystalline firings. Please take a look and offer your suggestions and encouragement ✈