Large Jar Project Sale

100 Large Jars


Thank you to everyone who came out to the pottery Friday night and Saturday morning. We were astonished with such overwhelming support from friends, family and customers. Several people camped over night in the mid-fall chill, others arrived during the middle of the night or at dawn to stand in line. The pots were an amazing spectacle even to those of us who have seen them in the workshop everyday. All of the pots sold out in under 20 minutes. Because of the amazing number of people and fantastic response to the work, many people who came very early were still too late to purchase a piece on that day. We took orders for almost 70 more large jars. We would like to thank everyone in line who showed full support and patience.

Project Statement

There is a growing large pot culture and tradition being born in North Carolina. Observing and being part of this development, I decided to embark on a large vessel project this past summer. The project derived from my time living in Northeast Thailand in the village of Phon Bok. In this rural potting village I worked with Thai potters producing big jars on a large scale.  Having learned their technique for making big pots efficiently and effectively, I realized that there is not example of this kind in the USA. This project is intended to show how large pots can be produced in North Carolina using the South East Asian model.

Over the past three months I have made 100 large jars and fired my wood kiln five times. This extends well beyond my ordinary production run for pieces of this scale.  Such a high number has pushed me out of my comfort level both physically and mentally.  It has allowed me to see an evolution in my use of the Thai technique and my artistic development of form with fluid consistency. On average, each pot is made from 100 lbs of clay andholds 35-40 gal.

The pots are stamped ‘D’ as usual, but they are also dated with the year 2010 to mark this time in my career.  This project is an evaluation of my time in Thailand, the first 7 years of my business, and marks the 30th firing in my large kiln.  The pots are numbered in the order of production from 001- 100. This numbering system allows a clear track of the artistic evolution demonstrating an exploration of form through extended production. All one hundred pots will be for sale on October 23rd 2010 at my pottery.

The project consumed:

11,000 lbs of local clay rolled into 10,000 coils

5 firings in the 900 cubic foot wood kiln

25 gallons of glaze and slip

30 cords of scrap slab wood

800 lbs of salt

11,000 lbs of local clay were harvested for this project.

The clay was soaked, seived, and mix in 8 batches.


clay drying

The clay was pugged into bolts for rolling into coils.

10,000 hand-rolled coils were used during the project.

100 coils were used to construct each jar.

Daniel worked on two jars at a time.

Daniel worked on one jar while the other was being dried with a torch.

Pots were placed outside to dry before firing.

Pots drying infront of the studio.

30 cords of scrap wood were consumed by the 5 firings.

Terry Childress cutting the wood.


The wood was cut and stacked for firing.

Daniel setting the jars in the kiln.

Daniel and Kate stack small pots as a buffer for the large jars.

Daniel sealing the door to the kiln.

The kiln is 900 cubic ft and take 3 days to fire. The project took 5 firings.

The kiln is stoked from side pots into the chamber with the jars.

At the end of the firing salt is blown onto the pots. 800 lbs of salt were used for the project.

The kiln is crash-cooled after firng, but takes 3 days to cool enough to unload the pots.

On the last day of making Daniel turned 10 jars, moving 1,100 lbs of clay

'The Crew' Terry Childress, Daniel Johnston, Kate Waltman, and John Vigland with pot #100 on the last day of making.

Drying pots for the last load of the project.

Daniel and John load the kiln.

The 5th and last load of large jars for the project.

Pots in the yard in front of the pottery.

John Vigland surveying unloaded pots.

The studio yard full of pots waiting to be set up for the opening night.

We had several campers brave the cold fall night. They cooked breakfast over a campfire beside the kiln while the sun came up.


Daniel Jonston, Eric Smith, Matt Jones

Jay Yagger, the videographer, came and documented the day.

The line of people at 11am.

The start of the large jar line along the pottery's road.

The line of pots stretched over 1/8th of a mile along Sugg Drive.

View from Jar #101.

Many people waited very patiently for their turn to select a jar.

After 17minutes all the pots had been sold and we began loading them into our customer's cars.

Joe Johnston ran his tractor, giving hay rides for both jars and people to their cars.

Thanks Joe!

After selling all the pots, Daniel took orders for 70 more jars. The project will continue on into the winter.