Tim Cichocki on the Groundhog Kiln at the Harlow Gallery May 10, 2008

Tim Cichocki on the Groundhog Kiln –

a “Hands-on” ArtTalk at the Harlow Gallery


Learn more about Tim Cichocki and the groundhog kiln on Youtube.

On Tuesday, June 10th at 7pm at the Harlow Gallery, Norridgewock potter Tim Cichocki will tell us about his Groundhog Kiln, a 180 cubic foot, wood-fired kiln he and his father built in 2006. He will show a half hour video on the latest firing, a process that typically takes 90 hours.The video will show the loading, the firing and the unloading. The work on display in the gallery will be pots from the most recent firing of the kiln. Attendees will be able to see images of the work in all stages of the process, including finished pieces in the current Harlow Gallery exhibit, “Experiments in Tradition”. Everyone at the Art Talk will also be invited to make a pinch pot while they are there.Tim will finish them at the next groundhog firing.

Art Talks are free and open to the public.The Kennebec Valley Art Association, owner and operator of the Harlow Gallery, is grateful to Savings Bank of Maine for their generous support of the 2008 Art Talks series.


Artist Statement by Tim Cichocki:

“It is the process involved in making my work that drives me to continue my persuit of the tangible useful object, from turning pots, cutting and stacking wood, to continuously stoking the fire. It is this repetition and honest hard work that shapes me as a person as well as my work.

Wood firing lends itself to the creation of a natural ash glaze. This is achieved at extremely hot temperatures over several days. In an atmospheric firing such as the wood kiln, pieces receive firebox effects, meaning, as the clay is being fired, it is reacting to the atmosphere which is rich with salts and other minerals from the burning wood. Duration of flame passing through the ware creates a directional flame pattern. Every pot will be unique because of the placement and interaction with other pieces in the kiln.

During the summer and fall of 2006, my father John Cichocki and I constructed a 180 cubic foot cross draft wood fired kiln. This “groundhog” (because of its low ceiling and the way you load it) kiln is based on southern style kilns of North America. The kiln is located in central Maine, where there is an abundance of scrap soft wood from local sawmills. It usually takes 90 hours to fire the ware and approximately 3-4 cords of wood for the finishing of the pieces.Although this sounds like a lot, the process is carbon neutral, renewable and no new tree was cut down for fuel.

I can only hope that my work is modest, honest and humble. It is imperfect, and in that imperfection lies the beauty of a hand made object.

It is about the kiln and the process.”–Tim Cichocki