The Richmond Register

Local News

November 29, 2012

Unique wood-fired pieces featured in Tater Knob holiday show

7 artists to display wares this yea


Tater Knob Pottery & Farm will host its 33rd Holiday Show from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

This year is different than years past. Seven artists have been invited to showcase their art alongside the work of Sarah Culbreth, Jeff Enge and their son David Enge, the pottery team at Tater Knob.

The farm is at 260 Wolf Gap Road, about 10 miles from downtown Berea.

Some of the artists were among the 11 who helped fuel a wood-fired kiln for more than 50 hours. Each took four- to six-hour shifts to feed the fire with wood every 10 minutes. The process took around four cords of dried wood.

A wood-fired kiln produces one-of-kind pottery pieces because of the unique firing process, said Culbreth. Tater Knob’s wood-fired kiln is an ancient Japanese climbing kiln called a Noborigama.

Inside, ash falls onto the pots as the wood burns. At 2,400 degrees, the ash melts into glass and creates “soft mossy green and organic colors,” she said. “When I hold it into the light for clients, you can see the piece has a little incandescent, reflective quality.”

In a second chamber of the kiln, big chunks of crystallized salt is introduced. Pieces that are fired in this chamber have an “orange-peel texture” with a shiny glass surface as if it has been glazed, Culbreth said.

Red clay is “dependable, reliable and repeatable” and used for Tater Knob’s traditional production pieces, which are fired in an electric kiln for eight hours, she said.

However, red clay cannot be used for the wood-fired process because it melts and turns into glass at 2,185 degrees, Culbreth said. Stoneware clay and porcelain are used instead.

Of the seven artists, four are potters ? Rand Heaglitz, Bill Lennox, Buddy Dobbins and Trent Ripley. Art by jeweler Austin Evans and fiber artist Linn Sorengson also will be on display at the holiday show.

Some of the pottery pieces will feature artwork by Jonathon Clark, who recently collaborated with Tater Knob to donate a serving charger auctioned at the Waco Elementary School centennial celebration in September. On the charger, Clark painted a picture of the original Waco School built in 1912.

The wood-fired pieces will not be on sale until Saturday, Culbreth said. “We want our community to know that clay is still alive with many experienced potters in Madison County.”

For details, call 986-2167 or visit

Crystal Wylie can be reached at cwylie@

or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.

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