Burning the quantities of wood that we do to get kilns up to 1300 degrees centigrade, makes one conscious of where it is coming from. Our firewood is mostly sawmill waste, supplemented by forest thinnings. The softwood we use was being burnt as pure waste when we first started wood-firing in the late 1970’s. Now it is used for the manufacture of particle board. Wood is a renewable source of energy; you could say our kilns are solar fired, and this fuel is local, with a minimum of heat miles. Our kilns are possibly the most efficient to be found anywhere.
Like a number of other potters, I enjoy planting trees. For over 20 years I have been working to establish a small 6 acre wood in the west of Ireland. None of this wood is destined for our fireboxes, but will out live us and we hope enrich the environment for future generations. Despite being a rather wild place for trees to survive, (wind, poor soil and salt air all contriving to restrict growth), a beautiful wood has arisen where there was only bare hill side. Great swaths of bluebells now appear in spring, a remnant of the ancient oak forest that covered all this land in prehistoric times. A wide range of birds nest in the shelter afforded by this mixed woodland.