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Clay and Creativity
Yukti Wood Kiln

My work with clay is an exploration of becoming more present and honest with my perceiving of touch and sight.

 

It constantly reveals new and remembered aspects of my relationship with the Earth, my body, and living environment around me. I honor and study various ceremonies and make work that can be used in those traditional ways. In this way the circle of reciprocity continues. I feel that I was born to share the knowledge and gifts that have been handed down to me.

In this spirit, I offer these ceramic workshops.
 

“In each of us there is our pinch pot, as there is our dance, our poem, our song. What it looks like is less important than the artistic journey we take to discover it.”

-Paulus Berensohn

 

“It’s not a matter of having taste but rather of being able to taste what is present. To behold.” 

-M. C. Richards

Making Your Own Hand-built Gong Fu-style Teapot

Gong Fu style tea preparation has been the preferred brewing style in China and Taiwan for centuries.

In this workshop I’ll show you the basics of tea pot design. Then, I’ll give you a basic pattern to follow to assemble a hand built teapot. This design is simple but can be  customized to reflect your personal style.

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The Tradition of Raku

The origins of Raku is deeply connected to the Japanese Tea Ceremony. Even though this story is over 450 years old, its still relevant today.

 

Step by step I will show you how to create a Raku style Tea Bowl and prepare a bowl of matcha in your new Chawan (Tea Bowl) plus more….

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The Fun of Making with Soft Thrown Slabs

Throwing soft slabs is one of my favorite techniques of making with clay. It’s so spontaneous and fun with lots of surprises.

It really is an infinite exploration of your imagination and the nature of clay.

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Yukt Wood Fire Kiln

Yukti Wood Fire Kiln

Yukti: Joining together the essential elements at the right time and place. Refining our craft and becoming skillful in joining up all the essential elements of our own inner world so that we can thrive in the outer world.

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Yukti: The Heart Fire

The Heart Fire is both a reference to the passion of the human heart and a literal kiln made of brick where ceramic objects can be made into stone.

 

This type of ceramic kiln uses only wood to create the high heat needed to make stoneware. They’ve been serving humanity for thousands of years.

 

I was first exposed to this type of firing in 1996 in Flagstaff, Az. I had no idea what to expect but I found myself surrounded by hundreds of the most unlikely people swinging axes, hauling wood, celebrating with drinks and cigars, all ages equally excited to be involved in this experience. Hundreds of pots were being slowly placed into these enormous brick tunnels. At that time I couldn’t see it for what it really was; a ceremonial dance between Earthly elements and Humanity’s creative spirit and instinct.

 

I refer to creativity here as our ability to adapt, survive, and give back praise for the Earth’s abundant gifts with meaning and beauty.

 

I had fantasized about building my own wood kiln but the task was so monumental in the areas of my skill, land resources, and financial commitment that I never thought it would be possible. So I talked myself out of the idea whenever it came up.

But the fantasy persisted.

Soon, after I moved back to my childhood home in Damascus, Oregon I received a call from my close friend and Japanese tea ceremony teacher Jan Waldmann. She asked if I would help her do a tea ceremony at a Zen meditation center in Washington under the guidance of Oki sensei. I was happy to comply. While there, Mr. Oki told me of his wood firing kiln on the property that he has been firing for 20 years. I had heard of it but had never seen it. He shared that he was needing to return to Japan and, therefore, thought it best to retire the kiln and asked if I would like to have it. To say the least I was stunned, thrilled, not believing it was happening. I waited until I heard the offer a few times to make sure I understood thoroughly, then said yes.

I returned 2 weeks later to view the kiln. I asked Oki sensei to do a ritual to close this chapter of the kiln. He offered incense and chanted the Heart Sutra. Deep bow of gratitude. It took me and many friends with hammers, chisels, trucks and trailers over 4 months to disassemble and partially clean the almost two thousand bricks and move them to Heart Fire Sanctuary.

 

Over the past 2 years we’ve completed the Kiln Temple Roof, cleaned over 2,000 bricks, poured the concrete slab for the foundation, and cut and welded steel framing. After the heroic effort of many people in July 2021 the kiln is now complete.

It’s name is Yukti.

So much gratitude for all those who spent countless hours of hard work with open hearts supporting the realization of a dream.

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Photos of Yukti Season '23-24

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