andreas Loeschner-Gornau





The Kiln-Project / process-based conceptual art 2011 - 2012








In the Philippines, I rented a house with a garden. 800 square meters of garden (80% concrete surface). The ground was very muddy. I tested the clay by firing. I was surprised to find a high-quality, dark clay. Before that I had a lot of freelance jobs, as a designer for Philippine exporter companies. From the Chinese I learned the material must cost only a little and the design haste to be very good so that the profit is extremely high. Now I just wanted to do something that costs nothing.

An ecological approach -> making products and art ... all ... from the surrounding environment. Without transport costs, without electricity ... with my bare hands.

So I dug the hole. 40 degrees Celsius in the shade, high humidity - I worked every day until complete physical exhaustion. I was very happy.

On the previous page you could see how I mined the clay. The clay is unprepared initially very hard, bad malleable and stony. The sandy fraction I did not remove, to prevent excessive shrinkage of the kiln. This way the shrinkage was approximately 10 %. With removed sandy my clay has a shrink of approximately 20%, depending on the firing temperature. I show later how to separated the sand, to get a good clay for the ceramic art. Looks easy, is a very hard work, even more in the tropics.


The steps of work:

  1. Crushing the lumps of soil into small parts (with hammer and hands)
  2. Water - the earth has to absorb water. Cover and wait 24 hours.
  3. Mashing the clay with the feet until getting a readily malleable consistence. If necessary more watering, remove larger stones.

Making clay for building My wood fired kiln.

From April 2011 till June 2012 I spend to construct the Kiln. I built the walls as layer ,each 7 cm thickness (a total of 5 layers).

The layer had to dry before I built the next. The cracks of each layers needed to be closed before building the next layer. For fire I build a removable stair (bricks), so that the flame moves up and before the chimney down. The Kiln has 1 spyhole. The chimney has 1 damper for reduction firing. For firing I added 5 more ceramic tubes (each 60cm height) for stronger drafts.  This way it is easy to remove the ash after firing.

My kiln -

made from the soil that I was digging in my garden.      I am a Neanderthal :-)

Making clay and glaze by yourself is a hard and time-consuming work. You can all buy from the supplier. But self made means real ceramic. It is ecological. I have no transport routes, use rainwater ... And I know about the materials I work with. I am one of the last Neanderthal.

1 The starting material; 2 crush + water; 3 make a slick; 4 remove the sand; 5 remove water; 6 kneading; 7 make glaze; 8 samples; 9 Cosmetics

I fire ceramic in my kiln


The anagama kiln is an ancient type of pottery kiln brought to Japan from China via Korea in the 5th century.


A continuous supply of fuel is needed for firing stoking occurs round the clock. I fire three days and 2 hours to reached a temperature of 1320°C (no sleep because I had no helpers).   The kiln generally takes the same amount of time to cool down.


Burning wood not only produces heat of up to 1400°C (2,500 °F), it also produces fly ash and volatile salts. Wood ash settles on the pieces during the firing, and the complex interaction between flame, ash, and the minerals of the clay body forms a natural ash glaze.


That was a great experience that I will never forget.

I buried all ceramics in the hole and closed it with concrete. I gave back to Mother Earth what i borrowed. Project completed.


Andreas Loeschner-Gornau earthly, global and vegan Artist / Who needs still political borders and politicians?