Wood firing is my favorite firing process.  After the kiln is loaded a wood fire is built at one end. The fire is stoked for several days.  The results I want require the firing to last from three to five days.  Obviously this means a team of potters need to work together to keep the fire going.  The camaraderie is part of the fun.  Loading the kiln is an art in itself.  It requires cooperation between the potters so they will all be pleased with their results.  Where each pot is placed in the kiln has an important effect on the surface color.

As the fire burns, wood ash and fire move to the back of the kiln and up through the chimney.  As the wood ash hits the pots it melts and forms a glaze.  With a longer firing, the wood ash may drip down the sides of the pot.  Iron in the clay may flash red on the surface as the fire hits the pot.  Each pot shows the path of fire and ash through the kiln.  Each reacts to the fire and ash in its unique way.

I especially love taking my turn stoking the kiln in the quiet of early morning, watching night turn to day, listening to the birds awakening and to the murmurs of the kiln as it does its work.  After the kiln reaches about 2300 degrees Fahrenheit, it is held there for about 8 hours and then is closed. The kiln is opened about a week later.  What excitement!

About Linda

Linda is a potter.