When you drop wood into the open door of a wood fired kiln it is called stoking. Stoking continues from the time you light a match in the kiln to the moment you extinguish it. This process of building heat in a kiln can last any where from 56 - 110 hours. Over the last year, local ceramic artist, Chris Kelsey has designed and then completed the construction of a wood fired anagama kiln, the only one of its type in Eastern Washington. On Sunday, May 20th at 11 AM, a group of ceramic artists: Chris Kelsey, Mark Moore, Mike Buck, Brian Joyce, Mardis Nenno, & Dennis Smith brought their ceramic pieces out to Chris Kelsey’s finished kiln, located in the Little Spokane River Valley on the property of ceramic artist Gina Freuen, and began the process of loading the interior of the kiln for its inaugural firing. The match was lit at 8 pm and stoking continued around the clock through Thursday, May 24th @ midnight. Temperatures were reached and held inside the kiln, through continuous stoking of around 2300 degrees. Crew members, Julie & Chris Kelsey, Mark Moore, Mike Buck, Dennis Smith, Gina Freuen and Mardis Nenno stoked 6 hour shifts or more each day. It will cool without opening for 6 days at which time all the participants and supporters of this venture will meet to unbrick the door and begin the celebrational unloading of the ceramic wares that were loaded into it over 2 weeks prior. Out of the ashes of the kiln will be carried richly toned, rusty colored, smoky hued pieces of stoneware and porcelain pottery and sculpture that have qualities unlike comparable piecesfired in electric or gas fired environments. To this end was the original intent in building a kiln of this quality when the idea was hatched over a year ago.
From Wikipedia: An anagama (a Japanese term meaning "cave kiln") consists of a firing chamber with a firebox at one end and a flue at the other. Although the term "firebox" is used to describe the space for the fire, there is no physical structure separating the stoking space from the pottery space. The term anagama describes single-chamber kilns built in a sloping tunnel shape. In fact, ancient kilns were sometimes built by digging tunnels into banks of clay.
The anagama is fueled with firewood, in contrast to the electric or gas-fueled kilns commonly used by most contemporary potters. A continuous supply of fuel is needed for firing, as wood thrown into the hot kiln is consumed very rapidly. Stoking occurs round the clock until a variety of variables are achieved including the way the molten pots look inside the kiln, the temperatures reached and sustained, the amount of ash applied, the wetness of the walls and the pots, etc.
Burning wood not only produces heat of up to 1400°C (2,500 °F), it also produces fly ash and volatile salts. Wood ash settles on the pieces during the firing, and the complex interaction between flame, ash, and the minerals of the clay body forms a natural ash glaze. This glaze may show great variation in color, texture, and thickness, ranging from smooth and glossy to rough and sharp. The placement of pieces within the kiln distinctly affects the pottery's appearance, as pieces closer to the firebox may receive heavy coats of ash, or even be immersed in embers, while others deeper in the kiln may only be softly touched by ash effects. Other factors that depend on the location include temperature and oxidation/reduction. Besides location in the kiln, (as with other fuel-fired updraft kilns) the way pieces are placed near each other affects the flame path, and, thus, the appearance of pieces within localized zones of the kiln can vary as well. It is said that loading an anagama kiln is the most difficult part of the firing. The potter must imagine the flame path as it rushes through the kiln, and use this sense to paint the pieces with fire.
The length of the firing depends on the volume of the kiln and may take anywhere from 48 hours to 12 or more days. The kiln generally takes the same amount of time to cool down. Records of historic firings in large Asian kilns shared by several village potters describe several weeks of steady stoking per firing.
A selection of ceramic works from this inaugural firing will be featured in the Trackside Studio Ceramic Art Gallery for June’s First Friday, June 2nd, from 5 to 8 pm. Chris Kelsey, Mark Moore and Gina Freuen will display the featured works along with representational pieces from this inauguralfiring by Mike Buck, Brian Joyce, Mardis Nenno & Dennis Smith. Photos of the whole loading, firing and unloading will be hung and maybe hot dogs will be roasting out in front of the gallery on the sidewalk.
Trackside Studio Ceramic Art Gallery featured the ceramic works of LH Project Resident Artist James Tingey and LH Project Founder, CEO and President Jakob Haßlacher for the month of May. Featured works included large scale sculptures representing Jakob’s work impacted by his experience witnessing the falling of the Berlin Wall and remaining captivated by “Walls” whether modern or ancient along with functional forms by James. James Tingey is the LH Project Resident Coordinator and Studio Technician. The LH Project is a non-profit residency program in Joseph, Oregon catering to Artists who imbibe in the Ceramic Arts
Annual Invitational exhibit featuring the work of professionally working ceramic educators from our region.
"Dreams of Reason"
Otis Bardwell (April 2017)
The title for this body of work is inspired by an etching of Francisco Goya, “El sueño de la razón produce monstrous,” (“The sleep of reason produces monsters.”) I first encountered the title quoted in French “Les songes de la raison…” which perhaps lends itself more readily to “dreams” than “sleep.” Whatever the case, whether they came into being as the result of sleep or dreams, monsters are produced.
Exhibit featuring older ceramic works and pieces from December / January by Gina Freuen carried over from her exhibit at Lewis-Clark Center for Arts and History, Lewiston, Idaho. Also, photographs by Matt Vielle, Hamilton Photo. Close up shots of Gina Freuen ceramics.
Matt Vielle has photographed Gina’s ceramics for over a decade. Included in “The Trailing Vine” exhibit will be a series of small 5” x 7” photographs, magnifying the beautiful crystallizations that occur during the wood-fired and wood-soda-fired process on the surfaces of the ceramics on display by Gina Freuen during the month of March.
“The Trailing Vine” An exhibit of both older and new works that feature surfaces rendered through carved and stamped imagery that reflect on life’s passages; where does a trailing vine lead us, where will a wind blown leaf fall or where will a floating feather land?
Just as the trailing vine takes its own course, the leaf falling from the tree has no specific landing spot and the feather is at the whim of the wind, so goes the end result of ceramic works that have been fired in wood and soda fired environments. Just as we try and control our lives and sometimes fail, the control of results in the atmospheric fired kiln allow some human controlled precisions but usually offers the magic beauty or the frustrated angst of the kiln controlled results.
"I am thankful to be an artist that can seek refuge in the studio and make words without talking but through visual representation.” Gina Freuen
February 3 - 24, 2017- Juried Exhibit - "Boxed Out Bottled Up"
“In conjunction with the City of Spokane's "Spokane Arts’ "SATURATE" a city-wide collaboration calling attention to Spokane's under-recognized artists and as part of the Visual Arts Tour in February, Trackside Studio juried and curated artwork opened up to all media reflecting on the theme of “Boxed Out, Bottled Up.” To help deepen the conversation on race, identity, and culture in our city and beyond.
Participants: Jennifer Cochran, Jeff Ferguson, Maria Amalia Fisch, Gina Freuen, Chris Kelsey, Christopher Lamb, Madilyn Lewin, Ginger Oakes, Dennis Randall Smith, Angelika Wilson-Wipp, Gordon Wilson
A group invitational of drinking vessels, cup, mug, yunomi, sake, stein, goblet, functional or non-functional. Invited artists will exhibit up to 4 cup forms for our holiday gift giving season, shipped from all corners of the United States.
Participating Artists: Sarah Beaty - Fort Yukon, Alaska, Robert Beishline - Bellingham, WA, Victoria Christen - Portland, OR, Donna Flanery - Missoula, MT, Gina Freuen - Spokane, WA, Jordan Jones - Freeland, WA, Chris Kelsey - Spokane, WA, Justin Lambert - Jupiter, FL, Brenda Lichman - Wichita, KS, Ron Linn - Portland, OR, Loren Lukens - Seattle, WA, Sarah Magar - Sooke B.C. Canada, Mark Moore - Spokane, WA, Tyber Newcomber - Pasco, WA, Reid Ozaki - Tacoma, WA, Ronan Kyle Peterson, Chapel Hill, NC, Kelly Page Piccolo - Clancy, MT, Chris Pickett - Pocatello, ID, Aubrey Purdy Rude - Spokane, WA, Mat Rude - Spokane, WA, Sam Scott - Seattle, WA, Jill Smith - Spokane, WA, Lauren Smith - Great Falls, MT, Eric Van Eimeran - Helena, MT, Levi Vincent - Bellingham, WA, Emily Free Wilson - Helena, MT, Tara Wilson - Helena, MT, May Wong - Stuart, FL
An exhibit of ceramic forms reflecting the winter white of our upcoming holiday seasons by Chris Kelsey, Mark Moore and Gina Freuen.
An exhibit of new works from summer and fall kiln firings by Chris Kelsey, Mark Moore and Gina Freuen.
An exhibit of works by Chris Kelsey, Mark Moore and Gina Freuen. The September exhibit at Trackside Studio Ceramic Art Gallery, September 2 - 30, features new ceramic forms, both functional and sculptural, designed specifically for vertical wall mount.
Annual studio sale of ceramics by Gina Freuen, Chris Kelsey and Mark Moore. $25. Grab Bags! Each bag had one piece by Gina, Chris and Mark in it. Blind picks.
June 3 – June 24, 2016
Juried Exhibition of ceramic works by Washington Clay Arts Association Members
"Taste of Summer @ Trackside Studio" The Trackside exhibit, "Taste of Summer" featured juried works from WCA members that had a focus on function and a serving purpose for glorious summer recipes.
Along with the Trackside exhibit "Taste of Summer," Kolva Sullivan Gallery featured a juried WCA exhibit with a theme of "Changing Plains." A juried exhibit of WCA ceramic artists that illustrated the beauty of the Palouse and its rolling plains. Both functional and sculptural works were exhibited.
Two demonstrations, Saturday, June 4th, were also part of this weekend along with the WCA summer social event. The demonstrations were held at Gonzaga University's ceramics facility, Jundt Art Building, 9 AM - 4 PM. Featured artists were: Ryan LaBar and Donna Flanery.
May 6 – May 31, 2016
"ASH Works," Ceramics Fired in Atmospheric Environments by Chris Kelsey, Gina Freuen & Mark Moore
Annual Invitational exhibit featuring the work of professionally working ceramic educators from our region.
Robison / Guss BIOGRAPHICAL STATEMENT
Both Kathleen and Stephen received their BFA from the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater. Stephen also attended The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and Chisholm Institute of Technology in Melbourne Australia. Stephen also received his MA and MFA from the University of Iowa, Iowa City.
Stephen and Kathleen have been instructors and resident artists at the Archie Bray Foundation and The Appalachian Center for Crafts. Stephen has been a professor in ceramics at; Belmont University, University of Missouri, Virginia Commonwealth University, North Central Michigan College and The University of North Carolina. Stephen is presently a Professor at Central Washington University where he is in charge of undergraduate and graduate students.
Kathleen is a full time potter and also teaches workshops in ceramics.
Kathleen and Stephen have been working together for 20 years. Some of the work they do is fully collaborative; they also go off on their own individual projects and pieces. Their main collaboration are their two boys, Leo and Gus.
March 4 – 25, 2016
"Marchez Jardin: Fossils from Future Folly," centered, altered and asymmetric pots by Trackside partner Mark Moore that ask; where are we, where are we going and why?
February 5 – 26, 2016
Gina Freuen, Chris Kelsey and Mark Moore.
“Ode to Bowls” an invitational exhibit of the ceramic bowl form, one-of-a-kind interpretations of a bowl, from tea bowl to punch bowl, functional or sculptural by 36 professional studio artists and educators of the ceramic arts. Artists were invited from all corners of the United States with bowls arriving in the Trackside Studio from Washington to Florida, Alaska to Texas, Oregon to Maine, created in low-fire, mid-range, high-fire, wood-soda-fired environments, hand-built, wheel-thrown, stamped, painted, carved, and cast form.
Participants: Sarah Beaty, Ft. Yukon, AK, John Benn, Shelton, WA, Barb Campbell, Corvallis, OR, Gina Freuen, Spokane, WA, Anthony Gaudino, Tacoma, WA, Martha Grover, Bethel, Maine, Lois Harbaugh, Seattle, WA, Sarah Jaeger, Helena, MT, Chris Kelsey, Spokane, WA, Justin Lambert, Jupiter, Florida, Dick Lehman, Elkhart, Indiana, Loren Lukens, Seattle, WA, Rick Mahaffey, Tacoma, WA, Mark Moore, Spokane, WA, Sean O’Connell, Chicago, IL, Hiroshi Ogawa, Elkton, OR, Reid Ozaki, Tacoma, WA, Ronan Kyle Peterson, Chapel Hill, NC, Chris Pickett, West Plains, NY, Aubrey Purdy Rude, Spokane, WA, Alison Reintjes, Missoula, Montana, Stephen Robison/Kathleen Guss, Ellensburg, WA, Mat Rude, Spokane, WA, Deborah Schwartzkopf, Seattle, WA, Sam Scott, Shoreline, WA, Jill Smith, Spokane, WA, Lauren Smith, Butte, Montana, Don Sprague, Portland, OR, Al Tennant, Coupeville, WA, Ken Turner, Seattle, WA, Bill Wilkey, Helena, Montana, Emily Free Wilson, Helena, MT.
A feature exhibit of the cumulative ceramic works by Trackside Studio artist and owner.
October 2 - October 30, 2015
New Ceramics from Summer Kiln Firings - Gina Freuen, Chris Kelsey and Mark Moore
Trackside Studio opens it 2015 Fall exhibition season with new works by Gina Freuen, Chris Kelsey and Mark Moore; works produced this summer and fired in a late August wood-soda kiln firing. This three-day firing resulted in luscious smoky forms ranging from hand held cups and bowls to large vase and sculpture forms.
September 4 - 30, 2015
Annual Guest Artist Exhibition - Barb Campbell & Reid Ozaki.
Barb Campbell, Corvallis, Oregon and Reid Ozaki, Tacoma, WA were Trackside Studio Ceramic Art Gallery’s September / 2015 feature artists. Both artists are similar in that they fire their work in high fire atmospheric kilns but Barb works in porcelains, intimate sized forms with a focus on texture and hand building. Reid, long time educator and studio ceramicist is the consummate wheel technician with works ranging in scale from hand held to large vessel forms including beautiful Ikebana vessels.
Annual summer sale of ceramics by Gina Freuen, Chris Kelsey and Mark Moore. $25. Grab Bags!
A Trackside invitational featuring: Leslie Ahrens, Lee Ayars, Daryl Baird, Liz Bishop, Jeff Harris, David Hutchens, Ginger Oakes, and Jill Smith, local and regional ceramic artists with a studio focus on the Raku process.
April 3 - April 30, 2015 - Mat Rude and Aubrey Purdy Rude
Annual Invitational exhibit featuring the work of 2 professionally working ceramic artists from our region.
Invitational exhibit of local and regional ceramic artists featuring cup, mug, tankard, goblet, sake, and yunomi. Participants: Kurt Anderson, Washingtonville, NY, Sarah Beaty, Ft. Yukon, AK, Collista Bejjani, Colbert, WA, Barb Campbell, Corvallis, Oregon, Matthew Causey, North Carolina, Chandra DeBuse, Kansas City, MO, Josh DeWeese, Bozeman, MT, Gina Freuen, Spokane, WA, Anthony Gaudino, Tacoma, WA, Andrew Gilliatt, Wichita Falls, TX, Martha Grover, Helena, MT, Chris Gustin, Dartmouth, MA, David Hutchens, Hope, Idaho, Sarah Jaeger, Helena, MT, Brian Joyce, Spokane, WA, Chris Kelsey, Spokane, WA, Justin Lambert, Jupiter, Florida, Dick Lehman, Elkhart, Indiana, Loren Lukens, Seattle, WA, Skip Lyman, Olalla, WA, Mark Moore, Spokane, WA, Lisa Nappa, Spokane, WA, Reid Ozaki, Tacoma, WA, Ronan Kyle Peterson, Chapel Hill, NC, Chris Pickett, West Palm Beach, FL, Aubrey Purdy Rude, Spokane, WA, Stephen Robison, Kathleen Guss, Ellensburg, WA, Mat Rude, Spokane, WA, Deborah Schwartzkopf, Seatttle, WA, Sam Scott, Shoreline, WA, Jill Smith, Spokane, WA, Ken Turner, Seattle, WA, Natalie Warrens, Portland, OR, Tara Wilson, Montana City, MT
Trackside Studio Ceramic Art Gallery & Kolva Sullivan Gallery, Curated by Gina Freuen
The selected ceramic artists represent educational institutions including: Gonzaga University, Spokane Falls Community College, Central University, Tacoma Community College, University of Montana and Montana State. Another group of artists were chosen as representatives from regional ceramic studios: Archie Bray in Montana, LH Project in Oregon, Pottery Northwest and Digipen in Seattle, Washington.
From Spokane: Lee Ayars, Terry Geiber, Chris Kelsey, Mark Moore, Mardis Nenno, & Lee Ayars. Regional Washington Artists: John Benn / Colleen Gallagher, Carol Gouthro, Virginia Jenkins, Ken Lundemo, Rick Mahaffey, Stephen Robison / Kathleen Guss, Steve Sauer, Deborah Schwartzkopf, Al Tennant and Ken Turner. Montana artists: Chuck Aydlett, Josh DeWeese, Julia Galloway, Kenyon Hansen, Trey Hill, Chris Pickett and Tara Wilson. Oregon Artists: Barb, Campbell, Terry Inokuma, Ryan LaBar, Hiroshi Ogawa and Kelly Rathbone Garrett