Tozan Kiln Re-opened The Dragon Breathes Again
Today the Tozan kiln in Cedar by the Sea was re-opened. The very rare type of ceramic kiln had been built in the town of Nanaimo in1995 at the site of what was then Malaspina College. Expansion plans by the college meant that the hard work of the volunteers that made up the Nanaimo Tozan Cultural Society were forced to dismantle the kiln in 2005 and try to find a new location for it.
There currently are only three Tozan Kilns in the world. One is in Japan. One is in Arizona. The third has found a new home at the Tamagawa University in Cedar By the Sea, close to the City of Nanaimo. Members of the Nanaimo Tozan Cultural Society painstakingly dismantled the kiln, cleaned the bricks and with help from some of the businesses in the area reassembled the kiln using and estimated 50 000 bricks. These kilns are unique in that they are built on a slope with chambers or cells climbing the slope. At the bottom of the kiln a wood fire is built, the heat of which is drawn upslope through the chambers to fire the ceramics. It takes about a week of firing to finish the ceramics and about another week to cool the kiln down.
Today a crowd gathered at Tamagawa University grounds to witness the dedication of the 'fire breathing dragon' and to witness the first products of the rebuilt Tozan kiln. It was a perfect fit of cross cultural exchanges. As one speaker said, "Culture and art is not bound by borders."