Festival of Fire

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Festival of Fire 2017

Festival of Fire 2017

September 20-22, 2019

Festival of Fire celebrates the transformative nature of fire.

This annual collaborative event is a weekend-long exploration of the productive and performative aspects of fire in making art.

The exciting schedule includes hands-on workshops, artist talks, demonstrations, performances, and exhibitions, all centered around fire. Come together to share techniques, ideas, and resources in iron casting, wood fired ceramics, glass blowing, blacksmithing, and more. Tours, gallery showings, and on-site concessions will complete the festival atmosphere and make it fun for the entire family.

Don’t miss the spectacle and wonder of the Festival of Fire!



Friday September 20–Sunday September 22
Registration camping and meals.

Saturday only: $75
Friday-Sunday: $150
Thursday-Sunday: $200

If you are registering a group or have any questions, please call us at 518.854.7674 or email us at info@salemartworks.org


We have a limited number of full and partial subsidized volunteer positions available for participants who want to work in exchange for registration. Apply now!

What to bring

  • All Bring clothing layers for varying day and night temperatures. We recommend bringing biodegradable toiletrie, shower shoes, sunscreen, bug spray, and your preferred hand tools
  • Workshop Participants Bring close-toed shoes, dress in natural fiber, bring gloves and safety wear, and any preferred handtools
  • Camping Tent, tarp, pillow, sleeping bag, extra blankets, towel
  • Arthouse or Indoor room indoor spaces have linens linens/ pillow/ towel, bring extra blankets if staying in an arthouse
  • Iron Pour Wear natural clothing, pouring gear (Boots, chaps, spats, leather jacket, gloves, helmet and facesheild, handtools, electric grinder for cutting sprues & vents



Salem Art Works invites teams to build and fire small wood-fired ceramic kilns. Specific refractory materials are provided to build the kiln (listed below,) teams must create their design in advance. During the symposium teams will construct their kiln and must be finished by 5 pm Friday, Kilns will be loaded with ceramic work made by the team members, fired for a maximum of 24 hours, and unloaded on Sunday late afternoon.

Materials Provided
Refractory and fuel available to each team 4' x 8' x 4” steel box filled with silica sand
(200) standard hard bricks 9"x4.5"x2.5"
(150) 2300 soft bricks 9"x4.5"x2.5"
(4) 12" x 24" x 3/4" silicon carbide kilns shelves
(1) five gallon bucket of fireclay/epk mix for mortar and wadding
1/4 cord of hardwood and 1/4 cord of pine both split fine and 12 inches long


The Glass department offers a master glass workshop led by master glass artist Laura Donefer. Students will explore hand-building, color application, floor marvering, working with bits, and we might even skip into the flame shop and make parts for our blown work. This intensive workshop will include demonstrations and hands-on activities throughout the weekend.

This workshop was made possible thanks in part to the generous support provided by the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass (AACG) 2019 Grant Program.


The Blacksmithing department shares the art of blacksmithing with a Weekend Blacksmithing Pass which includes an introduction to blacksmithing workshop with instruction from Luke Claymon, open studio time, and a featured Artist Talk and Demonstration. Whether you prefer a coal or gas fired forge, your fuel is included in the fee for the Weekend Blacksmithing Pass.

The blacksmithing shop will be open until 10 pm on Friday and Saturday nights and you are welcome to work on projects until 5 pm Sunday. *There will be some restrictions to shop access during the guest artist demo and introduction to blacksmithing workshop.


Participants can opt out of the Blacksmithing Pass and sign up for the Introduction to Blacksmithing Workshop only. The Introduction to Blacksmithing Workshop will run from 9 am–12 pm on Friday. Ages 14 and up.


The iron department offers an artist talk, performance, and production pour. Friday evening showcases our iron key note artist with an artist talk and performance. Saturday we’ll have a production iron pour all day where participants are invited to bring molds to have cast in metal. The production Iron Pour is a chance for teams from across the nation to come together for a hands on opportunity to share techniques, ideas, and resources in iron casting. Participants spend the weekend working in groups to prepare and pour molds, furnace, and pour site.


Contact us to reserve scratch blocks or doodle bowls and schedule a group demo!

Contact us if you have any questions!

Meet our 2019 Keynote Artists


Ceramics Schedule

Kiln Building Workshop
Friday Sept 20
9 AM–5 PM

Artist Talk
Friday Sept 20
5:30 PM—6:30 PM

24 Hour Kiln Firing
Fri. Sept 20 6:30 PM
to Sat. Sept 21 6:30 PM

Sunday Sept 22
3 PM


“Heat Saturation and Mark Making” Justin Lambert

Justin Lambert received his BFA from Florida Atlantic University 1999, and his MFA from Indiana University 2003. Justin has spent the last 18 years firing utilitarian pottery in wood burning kilns. Investigations into reduction cooling variations in the teardrop anagama adds dramatic decoration to the subtle curves in his pots. In addition to running the studio, Justin travels to teach kiln building, pottery making, and wood firing workshops around the country. Justin is also a very accomplished fly fisherman, a licensed USCG captain, and ran fishing charters for many years. He enjoys spending time with his wife Andrea cycling, snowboarding, hiking, swimming, eating delicious vegan meals, traveling, and playing with their dogs Rusty, and Daisy.

My clay bodies start with porcelain, and I then blend in various other clays to help encourage the color and ash glaze achieved through the wood firing process. Wood firing in an Anagama style kiln poses many challenges, and opportunities. It's extremely labor intensive, requiring constant stoking every 5-10 minutes for a duration of 3-6 days minimum. My kiln utilizes 3 cords of wood each firing (we fire 5 times per year). I love firing with wood for many reasons. There is no other way to achieve the color, drama, individuality, and connection from maker to user. No two pieces will ever be the same, and there is no "applied" glaze separating the user from the bare clay.

There are so many variables in wood firing, it's impossible to attribute any one effect to any single variable. For example, my color palette is not a result of the "clay body", it's a harmonious blend of wood type, clay body, atmosphere, firing duration, stoke frequency, humidity, wind, temperature, stoking style, etc.


Glass Schedule

Glass Demos
Fri. Sept 20
09 AM–12 PM

Student Work Time
Fri. Sept 20
1–5 PM

Artist Talk
Sat. Sept 21
9–9:30 AM

Glass Demos
Sat. Sept 21
11 AM–5 PM

Unload Glass Annealers
Sun. Sept 22
9 AM


Laura Donefer ‘Dancing with the Diva’

Laura Donefer is an award winning artist who has been using glass as her primary medium for more than thirty five years, often in combination with diverse materials. Celebrated for her innovative, colorful blown glass and flame worked “Amulet Baskets”, she also pushes the boundaries with work that explores ideas concerning memory, assault, bereavement, joy and madness. In demand as an exciting teacher helping her students to push the boundaries of glass as an art material, Laura has taught workshops and given lectures worldwide, including Japan, the United States, China, New Zealand and Australia. Her work is many public and private collections, the Corning Museum of Glass, the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, the Museum of Art and Design in Manhattan and the Museum of Fine Art in Montreal to name but a few. Laura has been honoured with many awards, among them “Lifetime Achievement Awards” from the Glass Art Association of Canada, as well as Craft Ontario, the prestigious “Honorary Membership Award” from the Glass Art Society, for her dedication to the glass community at large, and the International Flameworking Award for “extraordinary contributions to the glass art world,” as well as being honored in 2016 with the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass award for her role in the glass community. Every few years Laura organizes one of her wacky, exuberant Glass Fashion Shows, a fantastical spectacle for the international glass community to enjoy. The last one took place in Murano, Italy and featured 33 amazing glass costumes in gondolas going down the famous Vetrai Canal.   Laura lives in the wilds of Ontario, Canada, and in her spare time grows kale, hangs out with her husband The Mighty Dave and kayaks the nearby waterways with her dachshund Mr. Lance, loving and living her life to the fullest!

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Iron Schedule

Mold Making Workshop
Mon. Sept 9—Fri. Sept 13
9—5 PM Daily

Mold Making Open Studio

Tues. Sept 17—Fri. Sept 20
9—5 PM Daily

Register Molds
Fri. Sept 20
9 AM – 7:00 PM

Artist Talk
Fri. Sept 20
7 – 7:30 PM

Iron Performance
Sat. Sept 21
5 AM at sunrise


Iron Schedule Cont ‘d

Production Pour
Sat. Sept 21
9 AM—7 PM

Divesting Molds &
Clean Up
Sun. Sept 22
9 AM—2 PM


Coral Lambert ‘Speaks On Fire’

Using fire as a tool Coral Penelope Lambert is internationally recognized for working in cast iron and large scale sculpture. Born in the UK she studied sculpture in the late 1980's at Canterbury College of Art with Sir Anthony Caro and received for MFA in Sculpture in 1990 from Manchester Met University. She combines her early training in formal steel sculpture with her passion for casting metal. Over the past 30 years she has utilized the foundry as her laboratory to explore the process of speeding up the work of Mother Nature. Her work responds to metals rich history in myth, landscape and mining; exploring its weight, permanence and flux as well as its political reference to the earth’s resources. She is the recipient of prestigious awards and her work can be seen across America and Europe. She is Professor of Sculpture and Director of the National Casting Center Foundry at Alfred University, NY.

The lecture will precede the performance, Lambert will speak about the importance of fire as a transformative tool in her work connecting it to the history and development of culture. The talk will engage the audience in activating the performance ‘The Cosmic Furnace’ : it may involve bringing an offering to the furnace, chanting and journeying with fire to the performance site.


Coral Penelope Lambert ‘Starry Starry Night’ Molten Iron + Fire Performance

Fireday Sept 20th at Sunrise (Sat 5am)

Starry Starry Night’ is a part of a series of molten iron + fire performance works that Lambert has been developing in tandem with her outdoor sculpture since 1997 including ‘The Seeping Furnace’ Franconia, USA, ‘Volcano Furnace’ Latvia, "‘Diamonds’, Basel, Switzerland, ‘Ferrous Bloom’ NY and ‘Flowers of Elysium’ Berlin.

The Starry Night’ is one of the most recognized paintings in the history of western culture created 130 years ago by Van Gogh. It is a nocturnal expression of the power of nature in all its wonderment. The view from a hill depicts elements of fire such as the rising Sun, Venus and a multitude of stars amongst the waning gibbous moon with a flamelike cypress tree framing the village below.

During the Festival of Fire at Salem art Works the waning gibbous moon will be in phase again and ‘Starry Starry Night’ will be created using 400# of molten iron melted in a Cosmic Furnace. A multitude of glowing hot iron stars will be raised up to the sky in synchrony with the sunrise, they will be placed at the top of the hill slowly cooling from 1600 degree Fahrenheit. Taking place in the landscape the performance has the pace of a healing meditation with the intention of honoring the powerful spirt of fire and nature through walking and working in conjunction with the elements.

Accompanying the molten iron + fire performance will be a sound + videoscape developed for ‘Starry Starry Night’ by Digital Pioneer Paul Higham.



Blacksmithing Schedule

Blacksmithing Pass
Thurs. Sept 19 to
Sun. Sept 22

Intro to Blacksmithing

Fri. Sept 20
9 AM–12 PM

Artist Talk
Sat. Sept 21, 2019
9:30–10 am

Sat. Sept 21, 2019
1–5 pm


Patrick J. Quinn ‘Process, Tool, & Object’

Patrick J. Quinn is the Executive Director at the Center for Metal Arts in Johnstown Pa. where he teaches resident blacksmithing classes and coordinates visiting artist workshops. Patrick has taught blacksmithing, fabrication, and tool making at Southern Illinois University, Hereford College of the arts, The Penland School of Craft, The Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and The Adirondack Folk School. With a passion for sculpture and education Patrick uses forging as a vehicle to express himself sculpturally and uses toolmaking and teaching as a way to share what he find so intrinsic about metalworking with his students. With a firm belief in “quality work starts with quality tooling,” Pat uses this philosophy to forge the best possible tooling for the Center for Metal Arts and himself, as well as, making the Center for Metal Arts the best classroom it can be. Patrick is a 2015 Niche award winner, and has work in the Evansville IN Museum of Art and science permanent collection. His work has been featured in juried exhibitions such as “Transitions” (Belgium), and “Forge” contemporary forged metal design (UK), “Craft Forms”, “43rd Mid States Craft Exhibition”, “New York Silver, Then and Now”(Museum of the City of New York) and “Metal in Motion” (National Ornamental Metal Museum).


Fri. September 20

Visitor Center, 8 AM–8 PM

Kiln Building Workshop
Barn 3 field, 9 AM–5 PM

Laura Donefer Glass Demos
Glass Shop, 9 AM–12 PM

Intro to Blacksmithing
Smithy Shop, 9 AM–12 PM

Dancing with the Diva
Student Work Time

Glass Shop, 1–5 PM

Justin Lambert Artist Talk
White Tent, 5:30–6 PM

Light 24-hour Wood Kilns
Barn 3, 6 PM

Coral Lambert Artist Talk

White Tent, 7–7:30 PM

Sat. September 21

‘Starry Starry Night’ Molten Iron + Fire Performance by Coral Lambert
5 AM, Sunrise

Visitor Center, 8 AM–8 PM

Production Pour
Pour Floor, 9 AM–7 PM

Laura Donefer Artist Talk
White Tent, 9–9:30 AM

Patrick Quinn Artist Talk
White Tent, 10–10:30 AM

Laura Donefer Demos

Glass Shop, 11 AM–5 PM

Exhibition Openings

N. Main & Railroad Station
12–4 PM

Patrick Quinn Demos
Blacksmith Shop, 1–5 PM

Collaborative performance
3:00 PM

Sun. September 22

Check out
Visitor Center, 8 AM–2 PM

Clean Up and Divest Molds

9 AM–2 PM

Unload Glass Annealers
Glass Shop, 9 AM

Unload Wood Kilns
3 PM

Gallery Hours
1N. Main & Railroad Station
12–4 PM

North Main Gallery
196 Main Street
Salem, NY 12865

Railroad Station Gallery
1 Rail Road Street
Salem, NY 12865

Contact us if you have any questions!


This workshop was made possible thanks in part to the generous support provided by the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass (AACG) 2019 Grant Program.

This workshop was made possible thanks in part to the generous support provided by the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass (AACG) 2019 Grant Program.