The Unpredictable Nature of Fire: Wood-Fired Pottery

March 18, 2014 – May 03, 2014

Curated by: Sarah Margolis-Pineo

This exhibition takes a deeper look into two very different wood-fired kilns in our vicinity: the first, Stephen Mickey’s Soulgama kiln; and the second, Careen Stoll’s Tin Man kiln. A look at the unique qualities of a wood-fired pot: the glaze effects of wood ash and the unpredictability of the finished product. A look at how community plays a crucial role in the firing of these two kilns, and how community develops around the fire.

Concurrent with the work on view at Museum of Contemporary Craft is an additional satellite exhibition of wood-fired ceramics at Biwa, a southeast Portland restaurant. See additional pieces by Dan Kunnecke, Steven Mickey, and Careen Stoll during open hours, seven nights each week, 5pm to midnight.

Dan Kunnecke is a potter based in Portland, Oregon. Kunnecke’s introduction to the craft of pottery came from visiting the famous Japanese pottery village of Mashiko when he was sixteen years old. Growing up in Tokyo, Mashiko was a not-too-distant tourist attraction, but it was enough to get him hooked and beginning to make pots of his own. Nearly twenty years later, Kunnecke has found himself part of another wood-fired community here in the Pacific Northwest.

Stephen Mickey studied pots at the University of Minnesota with Warren MacKenzie. He received an MA from University of Wisconsin Superior under mentor Jim Grittner, and an MFA from the University of Notre Dame with Bill Kremer. Mickey has taught at Earlham College and served as chair of the ceramics program at the Evanston Art Center. For twenty years, he has been full-time at Mt. Hood Community College and now makes pots full-time in his southwest Washington studio.

Careen Stoll spent much of her childhood aboard a sailboat, and it is no surprise that she went on to work in clay, drawn in by the sensual and immediate qualities of working with natural elements. Her first wood-fired kiln was a caternary that came with a decrepit farmhouse in Minnesota. Nearby, Stoll found her first mentor, Linda Christianson, with whom she took her first steps into the life of a studio potter. Stoll completed her degree from Utah State, and now is a full-time potter.