Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Alternative Kilns & Firing Techniques

alternative kilns and firing techniques by Watkins and Wandless
I've always been fascinated with the many ways clay has been fired over the centuries. I also would like to try some these different firing techniques myself. Since I live in the country, I have plenty of room to experiment. I've been saving some materials to utilize in some firings. I've been gathering materials over the past year or so such as copper wire, hickory wood chips, and leaves from various plants with high oil content, etc. I want to see what what type of finishes I can obtain on some pieces.

When I saw this book, Alternative Kilns and Firing Techniques, on Paul Andrew Wandless' website, I decided to order it. Paul had so many beautiful examples of his work, I was intriquted to look further into this world of fire. The book is written by James C. Watkins and Paul Andrew Wandless and covers Raku, Pit, Saggar and Barrel firings and has great color photos and very well done illustrations. There are also glaze formulas and examples of wonderful ceramic pieces which have been fired in alternative ways. I discovered Paul Andrew Wandless website from an article in Ceramic Arts Daily where Paul Wandless showed how to do paper slip transfer. I tried the method of his paper slip transfer and was successful and thought why not try some new and exciting firing methods.

I'm also planning on leaving this book on my husband's nightstand in hopes of enticing him into the world of firing clay. More on this topic later.


  1. I love the look of alt. firings, but haven't read much about them since I can't really do those types of things in the city without the fire department rushing in.

    I look forward to seeing some of your experiments.

  2. I don't dare do any outdoor open flame firings until the weather turns cooler. The fire danger is extreme and I don't want any of our neighbors calling the forest service fire people. I'm dreaming of cooler weather for more than one reason - it has been way too hot and humid. I'll probably try the barrel firing since it seems to be the easiest and least expensive to try - probably won't be for a couple of months though.


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