The corner of Ridge Street and Washington Avenue radiates with a fiery glow every time the Kiln Yard is fired up to transform works of clay into ceramic masterpieces. Raku firings draw spectators who watch as the red-hot vessels are removed to cool in metal buckets, producing remarkable surface effects in about 30 minutes. The wood-fire kiln creates blushes of color as fire envelops the ceramics inside it; and the pit-fired pieces, buried in a nest of organic materials from banana peels to saltwater-soaked pine needles, are a chemistry experiment every time. Digging the pit was once an annual undertaking. Now the pit and Kiln Yard are permanent fixtures, enclosed in a “reverse” picket fence whose pickets are punched from rusted steel in a contemporary nod to the Victorian architecture of yore.
Pit, wood and raku firing