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03/07/2017. Free Custom Colors on Paragon Kilns.

For an indefinite period, any Paragon kiln can be ordered with an optional color at no extra char ...
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02/06/2017. New Customer Service Manager at Paragon .

Charlie DiMaggio, Paragon’s new customer service manager, radiates energy ...
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10/10/2016. Paragon Introduces New Touch Screen Kiln Controller.

After extensive testing under grueling conditions, we are now offering a new touch screen digital ...
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10/10/2016. Deluxe Rolling Stand Included with Paragon 7-, 8-, 10-, and 12-sided Top-Loading Kilns.

Paragon 7-, 8-, 10-, and 12-sided top-loading ceramic and glass kilns now come with a deluxe roll ...
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12/01/2015. 27 Years of Memories at Dogwood Ceramics.

As Dogwood prepares to celebrate their 27th Anniversary, Arnold Howard of Paragon Industries, L.P ...
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06/23/2015. Paragon Hires Maria Garcia as Plant Manager.

Maria Garcia is the new plant manager at the Paragon Industries, LP kiln factory in Mesquite, Tex ...
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06/23/2015. Team Leaders: A Combined 225 Years of Experience at Paragon.

The team leaders who help run the Paragon kiln factory have a combined 225 years of experience wo ...
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01/27/2015. When a Paragon Kiln Became Artwork. Artists use Paragon kilns to make dazzling copper enameling, glass fusing, and pottery. In 2012, Mat ...
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01/27/2015. The Artists Who Developed Glass “Weaving”. Eric Markow and Thom Norris are noted for creating woven glass kimonos, which have been called “impo ...
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12/08/2014. Wishing You Much Joy for the Holiday Season.

Once you own a kiln, you can have fun making beautiful gifts all year long ...
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A potter and his Paragon kilns

11/28/2006

The popular image of a potter is one who lives in seclusion, working quietly at a potter’s wheel. The clay studio is thought of almost as a monastery.

John Rodgers has never fit that image. He has always been an adventurer. Before he became a potter, he flew a bush plane in Alaska. Many years ago while flying a Cessna 180 in the Yukon, a mechanical problem forced the plane into an uncontrollable dive. As frozen swamps rushed past him below, John struggled to regain control of the plane. “In those moments, I did a lifetime of praying,” he said. He pulled out of the dive by flying upside down, and finally landed, thoroughly shaken. Death had visited, grinned, and moved on.

John became a clay worker 21 years ago while in Alaska. He now lives in Chelsea, Alabama, where he makes pottery in his barn studio. Recently he had another close call.

He was so immersed in working at his potter’s wheel that he didn’t notice the approaching thunderstorm. He didn’t look up when the sky darkened and thunder cracked in the distance.

A brilliant blue-white flash struck a towering red oak tree near the barn. It sounded like a shotgun blast. In a shower of sparks, chunks of bark, branches, and leaves exploded 40 feet in all directions. The lightning struck John, who was inside the barn. The force threw him four feet into a wall with a thud. He slid to the floor, stunned. At first he couldn’t move or talk. He slowly regained his senses when paramedics arrived. Once again, Death had stopped, smiled, and moved on. But it wasn’t quite time for John.

John Rodgers makes functional pottery for the kitchen. His signature style includes the image of the muscadine grape. “If you see a pot decorated with the muscadine vine, it will most likely be mine,” said John.

Last November, John designed custom communion ware for a religious conference. In May he began firing 800 pieces for the project. “I did as many as ten separate kiln firings at a time - some in my own kilns, some in kilns of friends,” said John. “I own two Paragon SnF-24 Cone 8 kilns, two computerized Paragon TnF-24-3 Cone 10 kilns, and one small Duncan test kiln.

“The four Paragons have a lid system Paragon calls the LiteLid. It uses a spring counter balance that makes opening and closing the lids incredibly easy, even with the three-inch thick lids of the cone 10 models. The lid support system allows the lid to float about 1/8 inch or so all the way around so the lid can seek its own seating, thus acquiring a more perfect seal during the growth distortion of the kiln that occurs in all kilns when firing. Other brands of kilns that I worked with during this period of high production that did not have a counterbalance system had hinge problems.

“Anyone looking to buy a new kiln would do well to look at the Paragon kilns with their LiteLid system,” said John. “I don't have any interest in Paragon, but I do like my kilns. I think they are first quality, both in design and performance.”



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