An educational forum and celebration of soda firing
SodaPosium is a weekend long educational event bringing together a community of potters and artists enthused about soda firing. The event includes workshops with experienced soda fire practitioners, a pre-conference soda firing, a juried show, soda-fired pottery sales, networking, community building, and discussions about accessing soda kilns.
Gertrude Graham Smith & Paul Wisotzky
“We’re excited because, as far as we know, this is the first gathering focused solely on soda firing. We intend SodaPosium to strengthen the soda firing community and become a valued resource for information and networking. We are looking to connect with each other to create additional resources, soda firing opportunities, and access for each other.
Our presenters will offer demonstrations and information that will cover a wide range of techniques and firing temperatures. Our intention is to make this educational forum a recurring event, a beneficial network of soda firing enthusiasts.
We are extremely grateful to The Clay Lady’s Campus for their partnership and support. We give deep thanks to The Julia Terr Fund for the Ceramic Arts for providing us with the resources to offer scholarships and honorariums and to Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill for providing the vital non-profit fiscal sponsorship. “
Participants will be treated to 2 days of demonstrations, presentations, and discussions by six ceramic artists who specialize in soda firing.
Presenters include William Baker, Ian Bassett, Susan Feagin, Justin Rothshank, Gertrude Graham Smith, and Paul Wisotzky.
We’re excited to offer the opportunity for attendees to participate in a soda firing. Bring your bisqued cone 6-10 pots to decorate and glaze Friday afternoon with materials generously provided by The Clay Lady’s Campus. Your work will be soda fired during the event and the kiln unloaded on Sunday.
Thank you for your interest in SodaPosium.
SodaPosium 2022 was amazing and SodaPosium 2024 is in the works…
12:00-4:00 – Pre Conference Soda Firing
3:00-5:00 – Meet & Greet, Tours
5:00 – Mingle
5:30-6:00 – Keynote Speaker
6:00-6:30 – Keynote Speaker
8:30-9:00 – Coffee and breakfast snacks, conversation in The Co-op and Shopping
9:00-11:00 – Presentation
11:00-1:00 – Lunch, Shop, Network
1:00-3:00 – Presentation
3:00-5:00 – Presentation
8:30-9:00 – Coffee and breakfast snacks, conversation in The CLC Gallery and Shopping
9:00-11:00 – Presentation
11:00-1:00 – Lunch, Shop, Network
1:00-3:00 – Presentation
3:00-5:00 – Presentation
5:00 – Unload the Kiln
William Baker is a full time studio potter and kiln builder living in Bakersville, North Carolina. He has been pursuing this passion since 2000 when he stumbled into clay while finishing college at the University of Puget Sound in Washington. William developed an interest in atmospheric firings from the earliest beginnings of his work with clay, which deepened after his move to North Carolina. He was a Resident Artist at the Odyssey Center for Ceramic Arts in Asheville, NC and the EnergyXchange in Burnsville, NC before settling near Penland, NC.. Through twenty years of firings William has specialized in both gas and wood fueled soda firings, and now has added a Train style wood kiln to the yard. When not handling clay or bricks he might be found hiking a trail, out for a run, or playing with the kids. He exhibits his work nationally, and teaches hands-on workshops ostensibly about clay.
Ian Bassett is a visual artist and potter living in The San Francisco East Bay. He was born in Seoul, Korea and grew up in Connecticut on Long Island Sound. He received his BFA in Ceramics from the New Hampshire Institute of Art, a Post Baccalaureate in ceramics from Hood College and his MFA in ceramics from Rochester Institute of Technology’s School for American Crafts. He has taught at Diablo Valley College, was the Studio Technician at Art Academy University and the Ceramics Studio Manager at Ox Bow School of Art and Artist Residencies. He has pursued a career in education and the arts and currently is an Adjunct Professor at Los Medanos College teaching Ceramics, Art History, 3D Design and Sculpture. He also teaches at Clay by the Bay Ceramics Studio in San Francisco. In June 2020 Ian Bassett and his wife opened Applied Contemporary a Craft Gallery located in Oakland, CA.
Susan Feagin was born in Burbank, California and when she was 11 years old her family relocated across the country to the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. She earned a BFA in ceramics from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1992. Susan started taking clay classes at the Penland School of Craft in 1994 and was a Core Fellow there from 1998-2000. In 2007 Susan finished an MFA in ceramics from University of Florida. Susan has been the clay studio coordinator at Penland School since 2007 and maintains a small home clay studio in Spruce Pine, North Carolina.
Justin Rothshank is a studio potter working in Goshen, Indiana since 2009. Justin’s ceramic work has been exhibited and published internationally, including articles in Ceramics Monthly, American Craft, Studio Potter, The Log Book, and several books. He has been a presenter, panelist, visiting artist, and artist-in-residence at numerous universities, schools, conferences, and art centers throughout the United States and abroad.
Justin is the author of Low Fire Soda, a book published in 2020 by Ceramic Arts Network that also includes a corresponding video release. In 2012 Justin released an instructional DVD titled Ceramic Decals: New Ideas and Techniques, published by Ceramic Arts Daily. His functional and decorative ceramic ware is available for purchase in more than three dozen galleries and gift shops around the United States.
In 2001 Justin co-founded the Union Project, a nonprofit organization located in Pittsburgh, PA, where he served as Associate Director and Principal Artist until 2009. Justin’s work at the Union Project was recognized with numerous historic preservation and social innovation awards from city, state, and national organizations. He is also a co-founder of the Michiana Pottery Tour and the Indiana Clay Conference.
In 2019 Justin was selected by Traditional Arts Indiana as a Master Artist. In 2014 Justin was awarded an Individual Artist Grant by the Indiana Arts Commission. He was presented with an Award of Excellence by the American Craft Council in February 2009. In 2007 he was recognized by Ceramics Monthly Magazine as an Emerging Artist. He has also been awarded an Alcoa Foundation Leadership Grant for Arts Managers, a 2007 Work of Art Award from Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, the 2005 Decade of Servant Leadership Award from Goshen College, and was named to Pittsburgh Magazine’s 40 under 40 in 2005.
Justin’s work is in the numerous public and private collections around the United States. Museum collections include: High Museum (Atlanta, GA), Frick Museum (Pittsburgh, PA), Museum of Fine Arts (Springfield, MA), San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts (San Angelo, TX)
Gertrude Graham Smith, nicknamed Gay, looks for flames carrying sodium vapor to decorate her porcelain ware. With freshly thrown clay, she’ll show how to create forms and surfaces that are particularly responsive to soda firing. With easily utilized techniques she’s honed and created, functional and decorative pots will be taken out of round and surfaces will be textured. Working with soft clay and with the often spontaneous effects of soda firing can animate the pots, making them look fresh and alive.
Gertrude Graham Smith is a studio potter and teaching artists who single fires porcelain ware in a soda kiln near Penland, North Carolina. Artist-in-residencies include Archie Bray Foundation and Penland School. She’s taught workshops at Penland, Haystack, Harvard, Castle Hill, and the Findhorn Foundation. Her work is shown internationally, is in collections including the Mint Museum, Taiwan’s Taipei County Yingge Museum, can be viewed in numerous publications including Functional Pottery, Mark Making by Robin Hopper, Working with Clay by Susan Peterson, and as a cover feature of Ceramics Monthly. Grants include a North Carolina Arts Council Visual Artist Fellowship and several NC Regional Arts Project Grants. She served on boards Penland School of Crafts and the NC Pottery Center.
Paul Wisotzky is a studio potter and educator located in Truro, Massachusetts on the outer reaches of Cape Cod. He makes functional pottery out of porcelain and stoneware clays at his studio Blueberry Lane Pottery. Paul’s love for making pottery began in high school. It was and is his first true passion.
After spending two decades away from clay, Paul returned to making pots and it’s his full time avocation now for more than 16 years. Paul is grateful to the Penland School of Craft and the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts for providing him with ongoing opportunities for education, exploration, mentorship and experimentation that has allowed him to hone his craft and develop his own voice. He has been a regular Winter Resident at Penland and in 2019 was awarded an Open Studio Residency at Haystack. At Haystack, Paul developed a method for digitally fabricating sponge stamps using design software and a laser cutter. He uses the stamps in his decorating process to apply slips, glazes and wax resist. This process was featured in Ceramics Monthly magazine. The stamps he creates in his studio are also available for purchase. Teaching and educating have always been a part of Paul’s life whether as a potter or in his other prior professional incarnations. He teaches regularly at Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill and with the Harvard University Ceramics Program.
Warren Mather, BA Anthropology, University of Wisconsin (1969). Warren’s current work concerns the illusion of space, circularity and radial perspective. Recent works are panoramas of urban and nature imagery from digital photographs that are screen printed, hand colored, fired and glazed on ceramic wall pieces. He is an extensively honored and recognized ceramic artist with work in numerous exhibitions, collections, and publications; the recipient of numerous awards.
Warren will describe his personal journey and discovery of the wonder, magic, joy, suprise and reward of vapor glaze firing. The challenge was how to work it in a dense urban setting with minimal damage to the environment. Now he makes “image on clay” such as landscape panoramas using photography, digital processing and printmaking with commercial colors and electric firing.
JEFF ZAMEK: From 1972 – 1974 Jeff Zamek was fortunate enough to be a graduate student at Alfred University College of Ceramics. At that time the college was interested in changing to an alternative vapor firing system. During that two year period he researched sodium compounds. Sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate produced results duplicating and improving some aspects of sodium chloride (salt). The results of the two
year project are found in his thesis Alfred University, College of Ceramics M.F.A thesis, Sodium Vapor Firing
Part 1. Part 2. “Alternative to Salt Glazing” was published in Craft Horizons, June 1973.
Jeff taught college ceramics classes for ten years, sold pottery professionally and 35 years ago he started Ceramics Consulting Services which offers technical information to potters, ceramics supply businesses and industry. He advises on soda kilns, glaze and clay body formulas and write about ceramics. His published
books include What Every Potter Should Know, Safety in the Ceramics Studio, The Potter’s Studio Handbook and The Ceramics Studio Guide.
The first SodaPosium was amazing and SodaPosium 2024 is in the works. Stay tuned for dates and information.
Early bird registration is available now for $300 until Dec. 31, 2021. Registration will be $350 as of Jan. 1, 2022. Register here
The deadline for scholarship applications has passed. We can give a letter of attendance from SoadPosium to assist you in obtaining credit from our educational institution.
For pre-conference soda firing participants, registration begins at noon on Friday. For conference participants, registration begins at 3:00pm with an opening reception for all starting at 5:00pm. You are welcome to come tour The Clay Lady’s Campus from 3:00-5:00pm.
BNA – Briley Nashville Airport
10 minutes from The Studio
We suggest using Uber and Lyft
The Julia Terr Fund for Ceramic Arts underwrites projects and institutions promoting the art of ceramics. Under the auspices of Sonoma Community Foundation, the Julia fund has supported kiln-building projects and many other programs at craft centers around the United States including Penland, Haystack, The Archie Bray, Pots on Wheels, Peter’s Valley, and many others. Donations for future projects can be sent to The Julia Terr Fund for Ceramic Arts c/o Sonoma Community Foundation 120 Stony Point Rd # 220, Santa Rosa, CA 95401. For more information contact vince.montague@gmail.
We suggest staying in the The Double Tree Suites Hotel or any other hotels near the airport, which are close. There are also great AirBnB & VRBO rentals nearby.
No experience is required to attend the conference. Come learn more about this firing process and join the network of potter’s that soda fire.
Coffee, snacks and lunch are included. You are on your own for dinner each night.
We do not offer discounts for groups or schools. However, there will be scholarships available. Details on those coming soon.
We are wishing everyone a very healthy year! We’re optimistic the current COVID surge will be in the rear view mirror by mid-springtime, and, as planned, we will follow the most up-to-date CDC guidance to make sure the event is safe. Full vaccination plus booster will be required for all participants at the time of the event. Please check this spot for updates on our guidelines as they change with the times. Thank you for understanding.
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