Alternative-Fired Ceramics  


I begin by throwing on the wheel. After the piece is trimmed and dried, I burnish either with a stone or apply terra sigillata. This gives a smooth, shine finish which begs to be touched - and definitely should be. Part of the allure of my work is in touching it.

My methods include:
>Pit firing - I dig a large pit on the beach and fill it with sawdust, salt, copper carbonate, wood, cow patties, and of course pots. Once lit, the fire will burn frantically for about an hour, then smolder for many more. When cool, the pottery is removed, cleaned, and waxed.
>Horse Hair - Hair is placed on the pot when it is removed from the kiln (~1500F). The hair carbonizes and leaves the distinctive black lines on the pottery.
>Naked Raku - The pot is covered with a clay resist. It cracks as it dries (the resist, not the pot). When fired, then placed in container with newspaper and sawdust, smoke penetrates the cracks and leaves the black patterns on the pot. The resist is removed and the pot cleaned and waxed.
>Raku - Glazed pottery is removed from the kiln when the glaze matured, and placed in a container with paper/sawdust.
>Saggar - Pieces are fired in containers with salt, oxides, metals and sawdust. Unique patterns come from the fuming of these materials into the clay surface.
>Obvara - An Eastern European method I discovered and had to try. Pots are removed from the kiln at over 1600F and plunged into a fermenting mixture (water, yeast, flour, and sugar), then into water. A mottled brown color results.


Pâte de verre is a method of kiln casting glass. It literally means glass paste. I first make a clay piece, then form a plaster mold from it and remove the clay. Crushed glass is mixed with a binding agent to form a paste. It is packed into the mold then fired in a kiln. After the firing and cooling, the mold is broken away and the fused glass piece is completed.

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