|Why Burr Oak, Iowa?|
After attending Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, I worked
in St. Paul, Minnesota at a production pottery, and traveled around the
Midwest, United States working for a variety of studio potters. I
enjoy travel, and visiting a variety of cities, but I've been more comfortable living in the rural areas.
My first studio was located in the beautiful Canoe Creek
valley, north of Decorah. I had rented an abandon farm house,
overlooking 800 acres, including the trout waters of the Canoe Creek.
After 3 beautiful years, living, working, and playing at this
location, the landlord passed away unexpectedly, the land was sold, and
I needed to move.
One morning on
a trip to Burr Oak (also north of Decorah), for some pizza from the
Burr Oak Mercantile, I drove past this odd looking boarded up building
that was being used as a barn. After a brief inquiry about the
building, I had found my new shop. It was an old public school
| Burr Oak is located
12 miles North of Decorah, Iowa on U.S. highway 52. It's one of
those towns that was previously divided by the highway, until the
highway was straightened and moved, for more efficient travel and
safety. It is the home to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Park and Museum. Also, there are two active churches, the Burr Oak Mercantile, Country Express gas station, and a bar. The cemetery, however, has
the largest regular attendance. The school building in which the
pottery is located, served the area until the early 1960's, at which
time consolidation of Iowa schools took place, and North Winneshiek
school district was established. |
| After collecting used bricks from
Albert Lea, What Cheer, St. Paul, and Decorah, Minneapolis production
potter and performance artist, Jimmy Jahoda, kindly came and
supervised the construction of a 50 cubic ft., propane fired, downdraft
Recently salt and soda ash have been introduced into this kiln. This technique is of Medieval European origin, where salt or soda ash
is introduced into the kiln at around 2300°F. The sodium combines with the
vitrified clay to form glaze, with colors from
the natural clay or colored clay slips, and produces unusual glaze effects.