One of the most challenging moulds that we’ve ever made was for this project. We wanted to reference the existing raised paneling in much of the house. We took meticulous measurements, and in the end decided to proportion the panels slightly differently.
Making the moulds was a multistage process because of the complexity of the design.
The first step was to make a positive wooden master mould (1). This mould obviously had no beading. From that we made an initial negative plaster mould. We planned to carefully drill rounded indentations into this mould using a drill press to create the beading (2a). It took quite a long time to find the right bit and determine the correct depth for the holes. Some of the test holes and mistakes can be seen in this photo. In the end we were able to find a router bit that worked perfectly. That gave us a master negative mould (2b). The final design called for 125 kachel, so we needed more than just one. From the master negative mould we cast a positive out of silicon (3). Silicon is more durable, and would allow us to more easily make multiple working moulds.
We ended up making a batch of eight working moulds. Two or three moulds ended up breaking during production, and needed to be replaced.
The moulds were pressed full of clay by hand and left to sit overnight. Kacheln were removed the following day.
After firing the pieces twice (bisque and glaze), the kacheln were packed up and shipped off to their final destination!
This Kachelofen is named “Oven of Fire and Myth.” It was originally created in 2011. At that time Jessica was working as a production potter, but really wanted to build kachelöfen. She had no clients for any stoves. It was a long, hard road to find her first clients, as here in Canada nobody knows about kachelöfen.
Jessica wanted to show that kachelöfen can be works of art. She decided that one way to find potential clients was to exhibit stoves in public art galleries. She was able to secure a show at a public art gallery in Guelph. Jessica teamed up with well known Canadian artist Ryan Price. Ryan used the clay surface as a canvas for his drawings. He primarily used an underglaze pencil for the work.
The oven was exhibited in two different public art galleries. It was originally shown at that the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre (now the Art Gallery of Guelph) here in Guelph in 2011. It was later part of a larger, solo exhibition at the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery in 2014.
This was a very important part of our development as creators and builders of kachelöfen, so when it finally found a permanent home last year we were absolutely thrilled!
We’re off to the Blue Ridge Mountains this December to install a two-sided kachelofen in an historic century cabin. It all seems like an idyllic winter wonderland, and a perfect location for one of our stoves!
The main stove will be decorated with a traditional, hand drawn slip-trailed pattern. This is a photo of the pieces laid out on the floor of our studio:
The home owner decided to add another unit on the other side of the wall. The flue network will pass through a shared wall. This way two rooms can be heated with a single fire. Here are the bricks for the second oven laid out:
The concave shape of the “Schüsselkacheln” increases the radiant surface area of the bricks. This allows a slightly more compact oven design to radiate enough warmth for the area that needs to be heated.
The bucket of blue “wedgewood” glaze can be seen in the foreground of this photo. This was a wonderful glaze to work with. We work exclusively with Spectrum Glazes to achieve a wide range of results! Spectrum is a Canadian company that is a worldwide leader in glazing technology.