Born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1932, Lou was a driving force in the development of the wood firing community in the state of Oregon. The son of Danish immigrants, Nils was a multifaceted artist working in clay, painting, and sculpture, while also designing and building wood kilns across the United States and writing several books on the subject of firing and making pottery. Lou’s academic and professional training spanned the globe, including service in the United States Air Force as a Captain and Senior Navigator from 1954-1959. His ability to lead translated itself in his life as an artist where he taught at several universities and frequently led large communal firings at the well-known East Creek Anagama kiln. Even in his later years, Nils relentlessly explored the possibilities go clay and was a proponent of the belief that “play is an essential part of being creative.”
Nils Lou was one of the founders of the East Creek Anagama, along with Tom Coleman and Frank Boyden, an example of 8th century korean hill-climbing wood fired kilns and the first built on the west coast of the United States. This kiln has been referred to as the grandfather of all woodfire kilns in the Pacific Northwest.