Jessica was a guest at the Masonry Heater Association of North America again! As always, the conference was held at the Wildacres Retreat conference center near Asheville, North Carolina from April 10-16. Jessica represented Stone House Kachelöfen all week at the annual event. She led a workshop on how to assemble a kachelöfen.
A completed Muskoka Kachelofen glazed in Caramel.
The Muskoka Kachelofen is a small freestanding Kachelofen/Grundofen. It is named after a regional municipality in Central Ontario that is famous for its lake houses, cottages and stunning wilderness. The footprint of this stove is remarkably compact at only 63cm x 53cm x 208cm (24in x 20in x 80in). It is available in a number of colours. The demo unit will be glazed in a gorgeous deep green colour.
Jessica Steinhäuser is an award–winning Canadian ceramic artist who works on a grand scale, breathing new life into the ancient tradition of building kachelöfen. For her, they are akin to giant blank canvases that she turns into stunning art installations that warm both body and soul. Jessica studied pottery formally in Germany for four years. She then took a leap of faith and immigrated to Canada at age 22, and established a pottery business in 1989. Jessica created her first kachelofen in 2008. Since then she has designed and built over 50 ovens all over the world. Her work merges functionality with artistry: vibrant colour, sophisticated clean lines, and architectural sensitivity have become hallmarks of her work.
This was one of the most challenging ovens that Jessica has undertaken. One of our medium sized ovens might contain 100-150 pieces. This one has 250 pieces! This striking oven was conceived of as a room divider between a kitchen and a living room in an historical “New England” style farmhouse.
A maquette was made during the visualization stage of the project.The completed project as seen from the kitchen side.
The central portion of the kitchen side has a black pizza oven atop a bake oven. On the right hand side is the stove top. The fire chamber below is used to heat both the bake oven and the stove top. Wood is burned directly inside the pizza oven. The heat generated by this side of the kachelofen is not retained in the thermal mass. This means that it can be used year round without overheating the room. All of the features on this side share one chimney. On the left hand side is a ledge that can be used as counter space, or even a cozy sitting nook!
The living room side of the unit is used for heating.
A delicate relief pattern of a swallow accents the living room side of the unit. The inspiration for this pattern was found in a very special piece of jewelry owned by the client. We are particularly pleased by how the lines of the display alcove are mirrored by the fire chamber door. Beneath the door is a wood storage area. This side of the kachelofen is used for seasonal heating.
This sequence of photos shows the kachelofen in various stages of completion.An example of Jessica’s masterful slip trailing technique.The outer ceramic layer of bricks is typically built 1 – 2 levels ahead of the internal fire chamber/flue network.Felix creates the main fire chamber.Jessica adjusts the cook top.Both stainless steel chimney vents can be seen here.Note the “white on white” slip trailing above the cook top.Grouting and cleaning are the final steps.The installation team posing in front of the finished project!
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!
Earlier this year we completed the most ambitious project we’ve ever done, from both a design and logistical perspective! The project was to create a kachelofen/pizza oven/open fireplace unit in a Victorian home.
Designing the unit required a site visit to get a sense of any architectural features that we could include. Several rooms in the house have raised wooden panels with delicate beading. These seemed like the perfect pattern to base our standard kacheln on. We ended up rotating the pattern vertically to better suit the project.
Raised paneling found in other parts of the house
We also matched several other elements of our design to existing house parts.
Kachelofen foot matched to baseboard profile
One of our favourite elements is the doric column pattern that we used for the fireplace.
Existing column in the house
Our clay column for the fireplace
One of the stated goals of the project was to make something that felt like it belonged in a heritage building. Renovations were still ongoing when we completed our part of the project. We can’t wait to see photographs once the rest of the job is complete!
We received a delightful email from a customer who made infrared images of one of our Kachelofen. The results are fascinating!
This is a side view of the unit. You can also see the outline of the front door to the immediate right of the oven.
The inner flue system of a Kachelofen is built with much thicker firebrick at the bottom than at the top. As the heat travels upwards through the oven, the firebrick becomes thinner and thinner. This is done so that the bottom heats up more slowly than the top. In theory this means that the entire surface of the unit heats up at a constant rate.
The outline of the firebox can be clearly seen at the bottom of this image.
Every oven will have a few “hotspots,” but the overall effect should be a thermal mass that radiates evenly and slowly. It’s so nice to see that effect in these photos!
This is what the oven looks like “normally!”
Thank you so much to Patrick and Karen for sending us these infrared images!
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.
Designing and building kachelöfen has been the focus of Stonehouse Pottery for several years now. We’ve been so busy however, that we never quite clued in to the fact that our business name had become an anachronism!
For our 30th anniversary we’ve decided to fix it! We’re proud to say that we have a new identity. We are now Stone House Kachelöfen.
We worked with talented designer Gareth Lind to come up with a gorgeous new identity. A love of the work of Scottish designer and architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh provided the starting point for the design. We adore the art nouveau feeling of this font (Xctasy Sans for those of you who are into fonts). We love Gareth’s attention to detail, and use of colour.
Our new wordmark and logo are wonderful:
This is what Gareth had to say about the ideas guiding the design:
Stacked words form the logo, just as stacked tiles form a kachelöfen. The key character – the Ö – is in orange, representing the door of the ofen. The umlaut is doubled to represent tiles and form a distinctive mark that is then used for social media and instances where you would like a more graphic look than the full wordmark.
We’ve got some big plans for 2019, and our new identity features prominently in them!