Final Firing

It always feels great once the last few pieces of a project come out of the kiln. Our natural workflow has been interrupted by the pandemic, and it has often felt like things in the studio are taking longer to get done. Tasiana’s stove is a perfect example of this. Tasiana and Mathew signed off on this design back in September. Under normal circumstances these pieces would have been shipped out in January or February. The extra time involved however, turned into an advantage as we were able to refine the design of two parts of this stove. These refinements will make the installation process smoother!

technical drawing of Tasiana’s stove

The design includes a cat motif as part of a decorative garland around the top of the stove. We are extremely happy with how this section has turned out.

The uppermost ring of the stove

The last pieces out of the kiln were the abdeckplatten. These are the tiles that go on top of the stove.

Tiles for the top of Tasiana’s Stove. The “marquee” kacheln showing the date can also be seen here. There are parts for two other projects as well.

If all goes well we will ship this project out by the end of May!

Victorian Kachelofen Project, part 2

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.

Basic kachel for the project.
The wood paneling that inspired the basic design

Making the moulds was a multistage process because of the complexity of the design.

Various stages in the creation of a working mould.

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!

An Old Oven with a New Home

detail from Oven of Fire and Myth

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.

Ryan and Jessica installing the oven at the MSAC
The Oven of Fire and Myth at the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre

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.

Installing at the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery
Oven of Fire and Myth at the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery

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!

Off to the Blue Ridge Mountains!

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.