Closing the Firing at Astoria Dragon Kiln

A community effort

–By Jennifer Keefe, RN, CMH-OHSU Knight Cancer Collaborative

CMH-OHSU Knight Cancer Collaborative caregivers gather to celebrate the closing of the multi-day firing at the Astoria Dragon Kiln.

About 10 years ago, I visited the Dragon Kiln with my kids and a bunch of people where I witnessed creativity, energy, laughter and a community of artists who all had the same attitude and vision about pottery. Recently, I was invited with the oncology caregivers to be part of the closing down of the firing.

This was an amazing, inspiring, and thought-provoking ceremony dedicated to all of those cancer patients we have lost and ones who are still fighting. Before the firing was closed, we were asked to stoke the kiln with pieces of wood from various places including a tree that had to be cut down in order to build our new center, wood that had been chewed on by beavers, and wood that was collected from various places. All the wood seemed to have special meaning to it, and made us feel as though the wood’s spirit would somehow be absorbed in the pottery.

While listening to the ceremony, hearing people blow the conch shell, and sharing sake in cups made in the kiln, I could feel the love and deep caring we all have for our cancer patients and their family members.

It’s so refreshing to know people are out there who volunteer their time, energy, and resources in order for others to feel better. With all the negativity in the world, there is one place, in small town Astoria, that proves there are good people.

See more photos from the Astoria Dragon Kiln.