Kirk Newman Art School Hosts Anagama Kiln Pot Luck and Poetry Slam

Friday, October 1, 5-8 p.m.

Posted: September 20, 2010
Source: Farrell Howe
Job Title: Marketing & PR Coordinator
Department: Development
Phone: (269) 349-7775 ext. 3112

Free and Open to the Public!


Tucked away 1/4 mile north of the intersection of South Westnedge Street and D Avenue lies a hidden jewel of fire. It's exact location and use is mostly known by the talented artists who have used its flames to forge their masterpieces.

The Anagama Kiln, a Japanese-designed kiln, is a cement, cave-like, stone behemoth used to fire hundreds of Kirk Newman Art School student's ceramics every year.

What makes this firing technique unique is that an artist can insert 100 identical, ceramic bowls and none of them will come out the same. As the pottery fires, ash from the wood settles on each piece and reacts with the silica in the clay to form a glaze that has a kind of pebbled, uneven look to it.

The look of the glaze in the end depends on clay coloration and composition, where the piece is placed in relation to the fire and the amount of time a piece spends in the fire. Part of the fun is waiting to see how much the final product differs from the artist's intent once firing is completed.

This fall marks the 10th anniversary of the Anagama Kiln, and the Kirk Newman Art School is hosting a Potluck and Poetry Slam to kick off a series of related events to celebrate.

The Anagama Kiln Potluck and Poetry Slam will take place on Friday, October 1st, 5-8 p.m. at the Anagama Kiln site located north of D Avenue on an unmarked road that runs in line with South Westnedge Avenue. The kiln is on the right, less than a mile up the road.

This event is free and open to the public. Guests are encouraged to bring a dish to share and recite poems about their thoughts of and experiences with the Anagama Kiln.

The Anagama Kiln fires September 21-26 and will be unloaded on October 3. The kiln holds about 800 different pieces of pottery made by Kalamazoo Institute of Arts students and requires constant monitoring. A rotation of student-volunteers work six-hours shifts to assure everything goes smoothly and safely. The kiln will be unloaded on October 3. Guests are welcome to come and witness the firing and unloading during this time.

Other related events include:

For more information regarding the 10th Anniversary of the Anagama Kiln and related events, please contact Brian Hirt at (269) 349-7775 ext. 3182, or via email at

The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts is a nonprofit art museum and school. Since 1924, the institute has offered art classes and free-admission programming, including exhibitions, lectures, events, activities and a permanent collection. The KIA's mission is to cultivate the creation and appreciation of the visual arts for the communities of West Michigan.