Category Archives: Pottery


FullSizeRender2FullSizeRenderNortheast Ceramic Supply/Monroe ClayWorks (NEC/MCW) is delighted to begin our adventure in woodfiring. June 2015 was when we began our woodfiring journey with a “Kilnstarter” to build Bruno. The idea for a wood kiln began with Bruno Laverdier’s generously giving us the brick and steel from his gas kiln. We, along with Patrick Durkin, brainstormed the possibility of re-purposing Bruno’s hard and soft kiln brick.

The idea of building a wood kiln at NEC/MCW was exciting. We quickly decided the kiln needed to be as smoke and ember-free as possible which led us to zeroing in on a train or Bourry Box design wood kiln. All three of us enthusiastically agreed the kiln would be named Bruno.

Since NEC/MCW is located in the northeast of the U.S. and we have deep cold winters, we knew we would need a good foundation for Bruno plus a decent sized concrete pad and kiln shed. We asked architect Joe Fama to draw up plans. Joe drew up the plans and also consulted with a structural engineer. While Joe was working on the plans for Bruno we struck on the idea of a “Kilnstarter” as a way to fund the cost of building Bruno.

In June 2015 NEC/MCW broadcast via our incredibly friendly, close-knit clay community, our Bruno Kilnstarter. On June 4th the first donation came in ~ we were beginning the amazing journey. Beginning June 4th NEC/MCW received donations at a startling rate. Week by week our Bruno Kilnstarter grew.  

Bruno Roof 12 - Copy

Barbara Costanzo updated our webpage with the current donation total and Kilnstarter flyers ~ many thanks Barbara.   A big thank you to Mary Shaw for taking in and recording each donation and also continuing to keep track of clay, firing, etc. As of this writing (May 30, 2016) we have received $19,825!!

We formed a building committee (Dennis, Tom Forster, Richard Reiner & John Vasquez) and hired Jordan Becker to design and consult on Bruno.

On September 25, 2015 we had our Bruno Gala. At the gala we toured the Bruno kiln shed and beginnings of Bruno.

Bruno Building 166

There were about seventy people at our gala and the excitement and anticipation was palpable. Bruno tiles were given to donors. Since that time, there have been many more donors which means there are more tiles made that will be given out to donors.

After the Bruno Gala work on Bruno continued. We knew winter was coming so in November 2015 we halted building and agreed we’d start again in the Spring. Patrick and his family had moved to California but he managed to return to Troy for a week during the winter and he valiantly worked on Bruno during his visit.

Bruno Building 104

Wally Lane of Lane Refractories generously donated the use of a fantastic diamond blade mason’s saw. In addition, those cool chimney and arch brick are from Wally’s supply of brick and we refer to them as “Wally Brick”. We can’t thank Wally enough for his time, assistance and enthusiasm.

Bruno Building 266

When Spring arrived we realized a different building tact needed to be put in place. We contracted with Jordan Becker to not only oversee the building of Bruno but for him to do the hands-on building. Spring 2016 saw Jordan coming to NEC/MCW several days almost every week. Bruno grew and has not only taken form with Jordan, Dennis and Mark’s work but she is nearing completion.

Kathy Catlin has generously given us pallets of hard brick which has been fabulous. Kathy and Will Larsen donated a huge amount of split and aged wood for Bruno firings. We are so happy and lucky as a community to have kind and generous potters and their spouses. Thank you!!

Bruno Building 12

On May 17, 2016 we had a Bruno Gathering at NEC/MCW. Donors were invited to come to a potluck and see the progress that had been made on Bruno. They could see her graceful form, enjoy a potluck dinner together, view the bisqued vases for donation, a sample of the $15,000 donation goal yunomis and pick up the $10,000 donation goal woodfire slip recipes and samples.


Questions were asked. Dennis, Jordan and Barbara said a few words and we enjoyed our evening together.

Now we begin our firing journey ~ thank you to all.

Let’s begin!


Dennis and BrunoWE’RE ALMOST THERE!! YOU ARE AMAZING!! Thank you so much for your generosity and support in making Bruno, our Wood Fired Kiln, a reality.  As you can see from the photo, work has commenced and Bruno’s pad and shed are in place. Barbara Reeley and Dennis Smith are continuing the Kiln Starter through September in hopes of getting closer to the $20,000 goal. Please check out the donation chart below to see the benefits of each donation level.

Our hope is to raise the last $4600 towards building “Bruno” which will cost about $20,000.

The project involves a 20′ x 20′ concrete pad, kiln shed, and a cone 10 Bourry Box Wood Kiln.

The kiln is being named “Bruno” after Bruno LaVerdiere who donated the hard and soft brick, metal frame and car & track from his sculpture kiln.  (About Bruno Laverdiere)

Donations are in increments of $100.  Below is a list of “gifts” for your donation.

Donate                     Gift

$100      Bruno Donor Tile & $100 in firing

$200      Tile, 50 lb. clay & $200 firing

$300      Tile, 50 lb. clay, Wood Fired Reeley Vase & $300 firing

$400      Tile, 100 lb. clay, Wood Fired Reeley Vase & $400 firing

$500      Tile, 100 lb. clay with glazing, Wood Fired Reeley Vase & $500 firing

$1,000   All the above plus a one year MCW Membership

All donations can be called into or made in person at Northeast Ceramic Supply, 10 Monroe Street, Troy, NY (518) 274-2722.

There will be a “Bruno Gala” for all donors before the first wood firing.

Gift Descriptions:

The Donor “Bruno” Tile will be a handbuilt tile created by Barbara Reeley  with a carved abstract drawing of the wood kiln “Bruno” and the name of the person(s) donating.

The Vase will be a wheelthrown vase by Barbara Reeley which will be bisque fired and then fired in our inaugural Bruno firing.

Additional SURPRISE BONUSES  will be given when the following goals are reached:

$10,000 – reached!!

$15,000 – reached!!


If you have any questions please call (518-669-5296) or email ( Barbara Reeley.