Wood Kiln Loading Techniques for Optimal Surface Effects with Simon Levin

This video is a little bit different than most other wood firing videos. Rather than focusing on the firing, Simon Levin focuses solely on loading techniques, offering practical guidance and strategies for getting the best effects out of every firing. There’s a saying in the wood-fire community that “loading is firing.” Loading determines how well the kiln fires, affects where the heat goes, and has a direct effect on how the work looks after the firing is done. So Simon chose to share the loading techniques that he has learned over the years to help other wood firers improve their results.

Runtime: Approximately 1 hour, 55 minutes

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Chapter 1 – The Anagama
Chapter 2 – Papa Needs a Brand New Bag Wall
Chapter 3 – Stacked and That’s a Fact: Setting the Shelf Stack
Chapter 4 – Help! I Need Somebody! Good Communication
Chapter 5 – Get Up Offa That Floor: 2nd Level and Beyond
Chapter 6 – Letting it All Hang Out – Above the Stoke Hole
Chapter 7 – Playful Loading Techniques to Extend the Possibilities

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Simon Levin

About the Artist

Simon Levin has been working in clay since 1990, when an elective ceramics course in college changed the direction of his life, leading to an MA and an MFA from the University of Iowa. He is a fulltime studio potter working exclusively with wood firing. His work is exhibited internationally, and appears in several contemporary ceramics books. Simon is a writer for many ceramics journals, and in 2013 he traveled to Taiwan as a Senior Fulbright Scholar researching local materials. He has built wood-fire kilns for colleges and universities in the US, Taiwan, and China. His apprenticeship program has trained and influenced 17 young potters since 2005. A resident of Wisconsin for 18 years, Simon has recently moved to Pawnee, Illinois, where he is currently reestablishing his pottery business. To learn more about Simon Levin and see more images of his work, please visit

  • Beaudoin M.

    This is by far the best and most informative video on wood firing I have seen. Beginners will be well served by the detailed explanations on how to think about and actually load a wood kiln, and more experienced folks will be treated to a wealth of innovative and useful techniques. Thank you Simon Levin for sharing your knowledge with us in such a wonderfully detailed way.

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