Pewabic’s Board Chair Corey Scillian writes about our spring fundraiser to maintain and upgrade our educational facilities including the courtyard and kilns. Just west of Pewabic’s main entrance, beside a lovely old tree and group of picnic tables, you’ll find a collection of kilns. There are secrets here; secrets are what happen inside the kilns. Board Member Tom Phardel shares the secrets of Raku firing.


There’s something very enticing about the heat that radiates from a kiln. It is as familiar as a campfire, yet it holds a mystery, the promise of something special. When the light is low in the evening time you can see the glow of the heat between the bricks; it mesmerizes like a flame and gives you just a tiny glimpse into the possibilities. And if the air is cool there is the added sensation of the crisp, damp air that makes the warmth of the kiln draw you near—but not too close because your instincts remind you to respect the element. Take in the mingling smells of earth and smoke. It’s primal. It’s universal, but it’s also unique.

Parents help camp participants fill their handmade pots with plants.

The courtyard is where our Passport to Pottery summer camp kids spend mild Michigan summer days outside getting their hands dirty and learning a little more about the world around them. It’s a place where students, staff and patrons sit and chat and share meals on soft days that beg you to be present. Our annual Raku Party is where fiery red pots come out of the kiln to be then buried in paper that burns and smolders inside the trashcan tents that are the only witness to the magic that happens.

September 2013 Drinks x Design event.

Couple enjoys a hands-on-workshop in the courtyard.

Experiences like these are what draw people of all ages and backgrounds to take part in classes at Pewabic, and the kiln courtyard is next up for its turn for refurbishing. It is our plan to continue to provide these singular and enriching moments. We ask that you help us continue to provide the facilities and space where these uniquely Pewabic experiences take place.


Join our “Be a Pewabic Legacy Leader & Celebrate Detroit Campaign.” Please support our campaign and make your contribution today!

Corey Scillian, Pewabic Board Chair

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