We Didn’t Start the Fire

Portable kilns don’t exist (at least none that are very practical or well developed). While this might not affect you immediately, this can throw a wrench in the plans for anyone creating large scale ceramic or clay sculptures. Nina Hole was one of these artists, but she found an ingenious solution to this problem.

She fired the sculptures on location.

Her large sculptures are wrapped in a protective (and not flammable) cloth and fired for dozens of hours. The sculptures are then unwrapped during an unveiling and admired in all of their fire-molded glory.

Pao Hall at Purdue has been in the process of building Hole’s last fire sculpture for the past month. Nina Hole passed away in February, so this will be the final installation of her world renowned fire sculptures as well as a celebration of her life. Her creation will be fired for around 60 hours the days before and when it’s unwrapped Saturday, it’s sure to light up the night.

Students, faculty and community members are invited to attend the unveiling (details below). The sculpture will resemble a house in the end, a metaphor Hole equated to the body in many of her pieces. Her team has worked on the assembly throughout this process and encourages everyone to come watch, as this will be the last time we can see anything quite like it. Watching the unveiling makes these sculptures more than just a solid piece of art, but rather a performance in itself.

I briefly interviewed a fellow Purdue student, Brenna Allard, about her opinion of the new sculpture and her interest in attending the unveiling (audio below). After watching some of Hole’s process and a previous unveiling online, Allard was much more intrigued about the event this weekend.

I hope this encourages people to come and celebrate the life and work of Nina Hole as well as spread a deeper knowledge about the stories behind the art on campus.


Unveiling of Nina Hole’s final Fire Sculpture at Purdue


Saturday, April 16 at 8:30pm


Yu-Kong Pao Hall

552 W Wood St., West Lafayette IN




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