Wiley Hill Mudworks brings Pottery to Londonderry

Paul Haigh Wiley Hill Mudworks Londonderry, NHWednesday night in Londonderry artists gathered at Wiley Hill Mudworks for the opening of the kiln. Paul Haigh, a resident, is falling back on his hobby to make his new living. Paul finds himself in his basement creating pottery, which he then fires in his wood fire kiln which is located in his backyard. On March 18th the zoning board granted a special exception to Paul to establish his pottery business Wiley Hill Mudworks out of his home. Paul started his love of pottery in high school. After high school Paul continued to create pottery and entered some competitive challenges. A chemist, by trade Paul began to find time to pursue his hobby again these past three to four years.

Paul works on pottery over time and has over 100 of pieces of work when he fires up the wood fired kiln three to four times a year. Each firing takes a cord of wood and the process takes almost a full day. The flame of the wood firing process gives each stoneware pot a warmth and unique character that you will discover more with each use. In fact, the kiln gets so hot that the wood ash melts and becomes a glaze on the surfaces it touches. Some pots have “shadows” from the pots in front of them in the flames path. It’s an extreme, less predictable environment, and the survival rate of any pot is far less than other methods of firing pottery (gas, electric, etc.).

The kiln was stacked full of work done by five different artists all with various styles. When the specialized bricks were removed, and the light entered the kiln , pottery could be seen stacked from floor to ceiling giving those that helped remove the items the feeling of being a tomb raider. Bowls, mugs, chalices, pitchers, with interesting textures, and colors created by the heat of the ash, and the glaze that each artist chose for their piece where displayed inside. Paul had created a unique bird house for a friend in the Carolina’s. His niece, with the same love of pottery designed her own pedestal sink.

Peppered around the kiln where small objects that look like the jaw of an animal still containing the teeth. This object is used as a method to measure the heat of the kiln.

Paul Haigh Wiley Hill Mudworks Londonderry, NH

These pots are designed for use. They are dishwasher, microwave, and oven safe (but don’t put them on a stove top burner). Paul takes all his orders over the internet. You can find Paul’s collection at wileyhill.angelfire.com.

Visit the Londonderry Hometown Online News Darkroom for all the film from the evening.

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7 Responses

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  1. Vote -1 Vote +1Laurie

    We like the article on Paul His work is great. Keep the kiln going.

  2. Vote -1 Vote +1Heather Rojo

    This is FANTASTIC!! Are there hours to visit? For viewing the pottery making or to buy something?

  3. Sorry- no shop hours- as much as I love having folks over to see a firing and talk about pottery. No customers at the site was a condition of getting a special exception for the home business.

    You can see my stuff online at http://www.wileyhillmudworks.etsy.com or more pics of pots and firings etc at http://wileyhill.angelfire.com

    I’ll have pics of stuff from this firing up on Monday (restocking the store). Thanks for the interest, and don’t hesitate to email me!
    Paul

  4. Vote -1 Vote +1Eric Anderson

    I’ve known Paul for years and was lucky enough to get a piece from his first firing. It will stay in my family forever……

  5. Vote -1 Vote +1Heather Rojo

    Paul, please consider having maybe ONE day a year for folks to see you at work, maybe just throwing a pot if not a firing. It would generate a lot of interest, especially for kids interested in art and for people who have never seen a potter at work. We’d love to experience it, and maybe the powers in charge would allow this one little thing….???

  6. Vote -1 Vote +1Paul Haigh

    Heather- I could go to the town again and have the business exception amended. Otherwise, though, I do invite people to come see what we do for a firing. It’s very much a “community” thing for the potters getting together, but family and friends gather to wish us well and enjoy the fire.

    Who doesn’t love a fire outdoors? As long as there’s no business transacted, and people don’t turn it into a party, I really do like having folks there to learn about it. The kiln opening is a real experience too- nobody knows what it will look like. The pots are still warm as we hand them around. There are some oohs and ahhs, and a few curses as we see what the fire hath wrought :)

  7. Vote -1 Vote +1John Nein

    Hey Paul, was surprised to see you in the paper this Sunday. The pottery looks great. I would like one of those garlic containers, and possibly some of those half bowl/half plates that are used for Italian seafood diablo meals. I am at work now but will catch up with you later. It is good to see you doing something that you love. My home email is jgnein@aol.com
    Talk with you later about the bowl/plate. maybe I can find one to give you an idea of size if you are interested.

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