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The Anagama Project

In November 2003, the SIUE Ceramics Area invited potter Simon Levin to Edwardsville for a two-week kiln building workshop, focussing on Levin's anagama wood kiln design. Over a period of eleven days the entire construction of the anagama took place. Students and faculty worked alongside Levin for numerous twelve-hour days in order to finish the construction on schedule. In the months immediately following the anagama construction the work continued to complete the brick retaining wall and the roof covering the kiln.

We have now fired the anagama five times, and with each firing we learn more about the kiln's idiosyncrasies. Finished results have steadily improved, and with every unloading we're getting back more and more high quality work.

Special thanks go to Simon Levin for his hard work, good humor, and patience throughout the kiln building project.

To learn more about Simon and his work, visit his website at

Additional gratitude goes to the administration at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville for their unwavering support of the anagama project. Dean Kent Neely, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Kenn Neher, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Narbeth Emmanuel, and Chairperson of the Department of Art and Design Ivy Cooper all were immensely supportive throughout the project.

The Grounds Department at SIUE also deserves a special thank you. Headed by Kenny Porter, the Grounds Crew assisted the Ceramics Area in every phase of the anagama project. They've provided us with backhoe expertise, sand and gravel delivery, and continue to help us with acquiring the large quantities of wood used to fire the kiln.

Click here to view a photo gallery of the kiln construction.

If you have questions, or would like further information about the ceramics program at SIUE, contact Matt Wilt at (618) 650-3619 or email

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