A new kiln, sort of

So my wife and I went over to Fayetteville today to pick up my bicycle from the shop and also gather up her sculptural crochet works from a craft show down in Winslow, Arkansas. The shop hadn’t gotten to my bike yet (They’ve had it for a week; I didn’t think I needed to call!), so we tootled down to Winslow hoping Ozark Folkways was open since we hadn’t checked their hours before leaving.

While there I inquired about a kiln behind their building that my wife made mention of last time we visited. The lady manning the shop was eager enough for me to take the thing away. She said some “kid” thought he was going to light a fire underneath it, but that wasn’t about to happen.


I was expecting, at a place like this, a kiln built brick by brick by some old mountain man, something that hadn’t been used for years based on what I remembered my wife describing. Turns out it’s actually a factory built Olympic gas kiln that used to belong to the University of Arkansas.

I’m guessing it laid in the heap of a state I found it in for quite a few years. It was fairly full of leaves and moss. At first I thought I’d only take a few of the rings, but ended up taking them all. I figured even if I end up not using all of them I could salvage bricks from the extra. Some of brick is in pretty bad shape, not surprisingly, but most is serviceable. Interior dimensions are 31″ x 28″, deeper than it is wide, with all four rings.

I hope to, someday, somewhere and somehow turn this old beast into a soda kiln. At this point I’m thinking of lining the interior with a layer of harder 1″ fire brick to add insulation and durability, but this is a very preliminary thought. I don’t really have a good permanent place to put the thing, certainly not with an existing gas line.

So at the moment it’s just taking up space on the backyard patio.

And I still don’t have my bicycle! The guy at the shop said he got busy with other things. Were it not for picking up the kiln it would been a wasted drive.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at pcNielsen.com.

3 Responses to A new kiln, sort of

  1. Thanks for writing this article and posting the pic! After looking at your pic, it served to confirm my suspicion that my old kiln had been stored outside – same familiar discoloration on the lid and rust. Fortunately the lid didn’t have a hole in it, so the kiln didn’t get the front brunt of the weather as yours did. I’m planning to transfer the electrical to it when I get the time.

  2. Pingback: Paul Nielsen :: Mixed media sculptor » Blog Archive » Should artists learn a trade?

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