From fire and smoke

I can’t believe I haven’t yet blogged about my first woodfire experience. For as long as I’d looked forward to it, and as ecstatic as I am with the results, you’d think it would have been the first thing out of my mouth as soon as I got home with my lovely, smoke-burnished pots.

We drove out past Frederick to Allison Severance’s kiln (on an 1800’s estate which I am totally jealous of!). We loaded up our pots on a Saturday, bricked and mudded up the kiln door, and returned on Sunday to take shifts with firing – basically shoving wood into the oven door every 3-5 minutes. With all the cinders spilling out, next time I’m going to bring a Dutch Oven and make something yummy. I wonder if my LeCreuset can stand up to the heat?

We returned again the next Saturday – keep in mind this is 1 1/2 hours away. We are truly dedicated potters! – to unload the finished pieces.

Unloading the kiln is like Christmas. You can see all your pieces, but you have to wait patiently as the shelves are unloaded one by one to be able to see inside them and handle them – which is a big deal, because it’s impossible to know how they will have turned out. In a woodfiring most of the coloration comes from the smoke, ash, and salt of the kiln atmosphere. Even the glazes color differently depending on smoke, ash, how they’re stacked, etc. See how the ware towards the bottom is paler than the stuff on top? That’s because that was how the smoke flowed. So it’s absolutely different each time.

Those two bowls in front were on the top as the kiln was fired. They’re mine, as are the stacked plates you can see in the shelves.

Here is my friend Kori (who posted a more detailed log of the woodfiring on her blog) showing how the woodash melted into a glaze on her pot. Beautiful!

Allison Severance (whose kiln it was)  standing next to a pile of my pots. I have much better pictures of them somewhere (Josh got inspired), and will post them when I find them!

One Response to “From fire and smoke”

  1. David Says:


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