Beginning Woodfire Workshop for Queer Artists
QueerCat 2023, an LGBTQIA+ Woodfire Weekend Experience
Join your instructors Alex Slydel and Twig Cosby, for an informational session with making time on the basics of wood-firing at Morning Ceramics Studio on Sunday, May 7th, followed by a queer-led community firing of the catenary arch wood-soda kiln at East Creek Art on the weekend of May 19th-21st!
East Creek Art is a ceramics hideaway in the woods of Willamina, Oregon where two wood kilns are roaring from October to May. This May, East Creek will host its first LGBTQIA+-led firing of their wood-soda catenary arch kiln, nicknamed the Chicken Cat. Playing off of the name of the kiln, the event is titled “Queer Cat 2023”
The field of ceramics has a reputation of being difficult to break into due to the specialized tools and facilities required. Wood-firing is typically even less accessible due to its incredibly high cost, the nationwide scarcity of wood kilns, and its history of being a sexist, male-dominated, disproportionately white field in the United States. Queer Cat 2023 aims to challenge this history by promoting the inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people at wood kilns. Thanks to grant funding and the support of our clay community, we are inviting both new and seasoned artists to have a hands-on wood firing experience with us entirely for free!
Please read on to confirm your availability on the following dates and locations.
Making and Instruction
Date: Sunday, May 7th from 10am - 1pm
Location: Morning Ceramics Studio, 239 SE 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97214
This workshop at Morning Ceramics Studio will be a precursor to the firing weekend. This is an intermediate workshop for ceramic artists who are new to wood-firing. We will spend the first 45 minutes providing an overview of the weekend ahead, with plenty of time for answering questions. We will provide examples of pots fired in the Chicken Cat and discuss forms and textures that really shine in the atmosphere of the wood kiln.
Wheels and handbuilding tables will be available during the workshop to make work for the firing and to play around with the concepts discussed. Each workshop participant will have .5 cubic foot of space in the kiln (measure a 6x12x12” square to visualize – about 4 x-large mugs!)
If you prefer to work in the comfort of your own studio and it reduces the sense of a time crunch, you are welcome and encouraged to take your time with making your work for the firing beforehand. 25lbs of △10 clay will be available to each participant for free. We will reach out to individuals 4 weeks in advance (by April 9) to coordinate clay pick-up for this purpose.
*Be aware that masks and proof of vaccination against COVID-19 are required at Morning Ceramics Studio. Please bring a copy of your vaccination record to the studio with you.*
Loading & Firing
Date: Friday, May 19th - Sunday May 21st
Arrive by 9:00am on Friday, May 19th for loading
Optional: stay through the weekend
Location: East Creek Art, 12251 SW East Creek Rd, Willamina, OR 97396
The weekend of May 19th-21st, we will gather at East Creek with a community of queer artists to share a hands-on woodfiring experience.
On Friday, May 19th we will meet at 9:00 am to share in the loading of the kiln. We will steward your pots from the workshop to East Creek, so they will be there when you arrive. East Creek is about an hour and a half drive from Portland, so carpooling will be organized for folks who need rides.
(Early arrival on Thursday night is recommended to prep your pots and get a good night’s rest. But if you can’t make it there will be time to do that in the morning-of as well.)
On Friday night we expect the loading to wrap up by around 7pm. We will light the kiln with a small gas burner, which will gradually heat the kiln overnight. That evening we’ll enjoy a shared dinner of woodfire pizza (ingredients served up potluck style, gluten-free and vegan options will be available).
After the loading, stay for as much of the weekend as you like, or come back later if you can’t stay overnight! Car camping and tent space is available, as well as a limited number of beds and cots indoors.
Early Saturday morning we will begin stoking wood and continue overnight until we shut down Sunday evening. Stoking shift sign-up will be divided into 6-hour increments over the 36-hour firing. It is not mandatory that you sign up for a shift, but highly encouraged (plus it’s a LOT of fun!)
On Saturday we will be hosting a round-table discussion centered on creating inclusive spaces for the LGBTQIA+ community in woodfire. And we have more games and activities in the works! It will be a fun weekend with community, shared food, and lots of learning and mentorship opportunities!
Date: Saturday, May 27th from 9:30 am
Location: East Creek Art
On Saturday, May 27th at 9:30 am, we’ll unload the kiln and work together to clean up. Volunteers will give demonstrations on how to grind shelves and sand and finish your pots. Stay into the evening for an optional celebration and bonfire to reflect on our pots, the weekend, and kick off pride!
3 hours of instruction and making time at Morning Ceramics Studio
Copy of the East Creek Handbook
Clay & Tools
Bisque firing for work made during the pre-firing workshop
Up to .5 cubic feet of space in the Chicken Cat kiln
(To visualize, imagine a 6”x12”x12” space - about 4 large mugs)
Free camping (tent or car) for the firing and unloading
Local accomodation is also available at reasonable rates at the Wildwood Hotel in Willamina
If needed, free indoor accommodation in the bunkhouse at East Creek may be available