China Kiln Build in Hangzhou

In the summer of 2014, the China Academy of Fine Arts invited me and my apprentices Lars Voltz and Kelsie Rudolph to build and fire two wood kilns in twenty days. 

Simon Levin mixing material


Lars Voltz posing by the arch

 Kelsie Rudolph laying brick

We hit the ground running, with students quickly learning skills such as brick laying, masonry, carpentry, and welding. You can see the kiln yard and wood area in the photos below:


Building Gallery: Click to Scroll (5 images)

The arch form armature waiting for lath.  Laying bricks over the completed arch form. Lars pulling out the arch form from under the completed arch. You can see the arches of both kilns in the photo below:

Arch Gallery: Click to Scroll (8 images)

Now comes more brick laying for the chimney of the train kiln. And after that a layer of insulating soft brick. You can see Kelsie filling spaces using a mixture of sand and fireclay called chinking.

 Students applying the skim coat for extra insulation.  

 The whole crew standing in front of the completed train kiln.

The brand new caternary arch kiln, ready to fire!

The skim coat dries on the completed train kiln.

You can't wood fire without community. Here we are enjoying Korean barbeque spot at the end of a long day of work.

Photos with Chinese characters in the bottom right-hand corner are from Zhai's blog. He is one of the students form the China Academy of the Arts and did a great job capturing this journey in photographs.