Woodfiring means sleep deprivation, stinking of smoke, dirty, hot and very cold, hungry, but is addictive, and all consuming. Feeding a fire, watching the flame, listening to the noises of the kiln and smelling the heat, while thinking about the movement of the flame through the kiln.
Each firing takes over 24hrs, reaching 1300 degrees celsius in most parts of the kiln.
Woodfiring involves the gentle and long exposure of pots to the flame, smoke and ash of a fire, making each piece unique. Wood is basically continually fed into the firebox for the duration of the firing. The smoke and flames from the fire are pulled through the chamber holding the pots, by the draw from the chimney. Ash is carried with the flame, gently landing on the work on its way through the kiln.
Take your time to look at the pots. The surfaces are rich in colour and texture, with no two works exactly the same.
The ash tends to settle on rims and down the front (facing the fire) of the pieces. Some pieces may feel slightly rough in places from ash not fully melted.
The peach/apricot blush is part of the reaction with the atmosphere in the kiln, the shino glaze on the piece, and the clay itself. Small marks on the base of the pots are made by wads of fireclay and sand that the work sits on in the kiln.
I have used porcelain and stoneware clays, adding sand, and sometimes shingle from the beach near my home in Clive. Driftwood from the beach was also used throughout the firings hoping to add salt from the sea, which creates its own glaze.
These pieces have been fired in my train kiln, ‘Pico’.