Sources of Creativity: The Worship of Kiln Gods: From the Temples of China to the Studios of Western Potters Published by Outskirts Press

Ceramist and author Dr. Martie Geiger-Ho introduces her readers to the mythic world of kiln lore and guides them from the origins of the Chinese Kiln Gods to their new iconic place in the American ceramic community.

Bradford, PA, August 12, 2012 --( Author, performance artist and ceramist Dr. Martie Geiger-Ho announced today the release of The Worship of Kiln Gods: From the Temples of China to the Studios of Western Potters, published by Outskirts Press. In an effort to explain the likely-hood that ancient Chinese beliefs lie behind American kiln god ritual-like practices as performed by studio potters during kiln firings, Dr. Geiger-Ho offers first-hand accounts, documented research, and color photos of Chinese pottery-god temples, worship-sites, and kiln- lore customs and mythology that go a long way towards supporting this rationale. Her research serves as a means for comparing and evaluating the reasons why both Western and Chinese potters value the concept of kiln god deities, and moreover, why they share an appreciation for the spiritual energy that the notion of kiln gods brings to their creative acts.

Dr. Geiger-Ho suggests that the legendary tale of a potter in the ancient Far East who created fabulous vessels by immolating himself in his kiln lies at the heart of some of the contemporary ritualistic practices of Western potters. However, while the core myth of a martyred potter of Far Eastern decent is a shared common tale between American and Chinese ceramists, the making of votive-like raw clay figures and objects to set on the roofs of kilns as offerings to the “kiln gods” is a ritual that she believes may have been introduced by a highly regarded Western art educator. This educator wanted his students to engage in “Zen” like activities, which he wrote about and explained as coming from a Japanese tradition for honoring the fire gods. According to Dr. Geiger-Ho’s research, history does not support the notion that these traditions ever existed in Japan or else-where in Asia.

Observing these practices and puzzling over their origins, the author ended up at the renowned porcelain producing city of Jingdezhen in China and the Confucian temple of the porcelain god, Feng Huo Hsien, “Genius of the Fire-Blast.” She has continued her scholarly research into the worship of the kiln gods in China where the belief system that encompasses a Celestial -pantheon of gods recognizes their importance as protectors of potters and their ancient craft.

This fascinating history of kiln gods and their worship is not only carefully researched, it also remains true to the creative spirit of this ancient art form and its deep connection to the elemental weathering of a mountain into clay and the subsequent firing of that clay in a kiln that will hopefully, under the watchful eye of the kiln god, yield ceramic masterpieces.

These two facets of The Worship of the Kiln Gods – the historically accurate and the inspirationally aesthetic – are paralleled in the double life of the author, who is both a senior lecturer at the University of Brunei Darussalam as well as a performance artist, whose alter-ego character is the “Kiln Priestess.” Her website features extensive information of kiln gods as well as stunning photos of her work.

Contact information:

The Worship of the Kiln Gods is available on-line in paperback through Amazon and Barnes and Noble and at for a maximum trade discount in quantities of ten or more.

Format: 8 x 10 color paperback ISBN: 978-1-4327-9073-8 SRP: $32.95
115 pages with 46 color images

Format: 8 x 10 color casebound ISBN: 978-1-4327-9853-6 SRP $39.95
115 pages with 46 color images

Amazon Kindle $ 9.99

Genre: Art/ceramics/Chinese history/religion/Taoism

About the author:

Dr. Martie Geiger-Ho received her doctorate in philosophy from Texas Tech University in 2003 and divides her time between teaching ceramics, sculpture and art history at University of Brunei Darussalam where she is a senior lecturer, and writing at her home in Bradford, PA., USA. She is married to Kong Ho, a painter and muralist who is an associate professor at the same university in Brunei Darussalam. She and her husband travel the US, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and China, among other places, to conduct research, attend conferences and exhibit their artwork.

For more information or to contact the author, visit

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Kelly Schuknecht