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Clay and Glazes:

I formulate and mix all the clay and glazes I use, as it allows me better control over their fired qualities. I use mostly cone 10 stoneware and porcelain, which I mix from powdered clays and rocks, run through a clay mixer, and then a deairing pugmill, before throwing it. My glazes are all non-toxic.

Soda Vapor Glazing:

Commonly called soda firing in contemporary America, the technique of salt-glazing ceramics dates back to the 1500's in the Rhine Valley of Germany. The technique was introduced to North America by some of the first German immigrants. In salt glazing, salt is introduced into the kiln during a firing while the kiln is approximately 2350F. I use soda ash or sodium carbonate instead of salt, mix it with hot water and spray the solution into the kiln. At this extreme temperature the soda is immediately vaporized and combines with the silica in the clay to form a shiny glazed somewhat textured surface similar to an orange peel when thick. This glaze is extremely durable, non-toxic and dishwasher safe. The insides of pieces are usually glazed before the firing because the soda vapors tend not to enter the pots. This also gives some color and a smooth interior surface.

Soda-vapors are extremely caustic at the high temperature and the pots must be stacked on a wadding material to keep them from being glazed to the shelf, marks from these can be seen on the base of the pots. The kiln itself is also slowly eaten away and so has a much shorter life expectancy than most kilns. My soda glazed work is once fired

Wood Firing:

My wood firing is done in a high temperature refractory fiber Gloworm kiln using scrap wood to fire. This reaches high temperatures very quickly At which point the ashes from the wood melt on to the pots, which leaves a beautiful and one sided runny glaze effect which shows the path of the flames on the pieces. I use my "ash gun", made from an old vacuum cleaner motor to blow extra ash from my wood stove to accelerate the process. I particularly love this finish and the harmony it shows between the work of the potter and the flames of its

Pit Firing:

Almost certainly the oldest firing method, pit firing, as I do it, involves taking a freshly made pot, coating it with a layer of extremely fine particulate clay slip, or terra sigillata, and burnishing the surface. In a big metal drum I put a layer of sawdust and then place the pots, usually with salt, copper, and some times iron sprinkled over them. Finally layers of wood are built over them and lit on fire. When this has all burnt down into coals it is partially smothered and left over night. The pots emerge with a black, white, orange, and red patterning left by the burn, and can be extremely beautiful.


This process dates to 15th century Japan, where the Raku family was given the exclusive rights by the emperor to produce a fast fired ware for the tea ceremony. As currently practiced in the west, the bisque fired pots are glazed with a low fired glaze and rapidly heated until the glaze melts. The kiln is immediately opened and the pots are removed with tongs, allowed to slightly cool, before being placed in a combustible (sawdust, newspaper, straw, pine needles, etc. This post fired reduction changes the still chemically reactive glaze, and can produce metallic and iridescent effects. With a slightly longer cooling time, interesting crackle patterns can be achieved.