Lily of the Valley

Lily was the first kiln we built on the property in 2004, and we remain steadfastly attached to her presence here. Sentimental about her origins and reminiscent of that exciting time when we first developed our land, Lily symbolizes those traits of optimism and assuredness in our decision to build a pottery.

She is the sum of her parts: a combination of entirely salvaged refractory and back-breaking labour to get it here. In a former life, a good portion of her fire bricks were once part of a two chamber noborigama kiln that was built and fired for over a decade by potter Stephen Cooke, just an hour north of our property. Other bricks were salvaged from a kiln at Red Deer College, built by the Norwegian ceramic artist Torbjorn as well as an old soda kiln that once serviced the students at Alberta College of Art in Calgary.

In her new form, Lily became a catenary arch cross draft kiln, a variation of a kiln first designed by Ruggles and Rankin. Built together with mentor and close potter friend Bob Reimer, Bob made multiple trips out from Alberta to help devise and eventually construct her into her final form.

Lily also strongly imparts the spirit of Papa Wes. A fiercely reliable firing partner, grandfather Wes Regan never failed to show up for a shift on each and every firing right up until the year before he died. Always dependable to chop and contribute to stacking the heaping pile of wood required to fuel Lily to reach top temperature.

With an overnight preheat, Hot Lily fires dependably to cone 12 in approximately 12 hours.

Not unlike what happens with the arrival of a new puppy in a home, what was once a productive and lively firing zone, Lily’s real estate has become much quieter in the last couple of years since the arrival of newer kilns. Although despite her maturity, and less productive nature, her shape and nuance still remains the main attraction when people visit the pottery.