Into the Fire: Ceramics, Chemistry, and Kilns

Seth Green

Did you know that our College of Visual and Performing Arts now has a train kiln? Yes, and thanks to Assistant Professor Seth Green (ceramics), students can now learn about this unique glazing technique using wood firing. Green oversaw the process of removing the university’s old gas kiln and installing a new fire kiln. Green’s students worked with hired builders from around the country to help get the kiln built in June 2017. The following semester, students created their own ceramic pieces to place within and helped fire up the kiln for the first time.

The Purdue University Fort Wayne Institute for Research, Scholarship, and Creative Endeavors funded a behind the scenes look into the first firing of the train kiln, and Green’s work is documented in the video (above) created by Punch Films.

John O’Connell, Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, supported the project in many ways. “I think we’re fortunate that Seth brought this innovation to our students. I’m grateful as a dean that our upper administration recognizes that Seth’s research is as important as our scientists and our biologists.”

Green’s areas of interest include glaze chemistry in addition to building and firing kilns. His work is also influenced by architecture. He brings these specialties into the classroom to give his students hands-on experience in building kilns and throwing pots as well as knowledge of the materials and chemistry that goes into creating the glazes they use.

“There is some level of predictability,” Green says about using a fire kiln, “but there is also a level of control that we give up.” One of the exciting parts of this type of art, he says, is the ability to learn from mistakes. “There are no failures, in my opinion. There are only lessons you can learn that will help you make your work progress.”

Stay tuned for Seth Green’s new soda kiln being installed this year and more stories from across campus. If you are interested in seeing the new kilns, please contact Seth Green at (260) 481-6876 or

By Joseph VanBuren
A&S Marketing Assistant

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