Write up of Saggar firing experiment by Caroline Wilson from Julia’s Tuesday morning class.


Just to share with you my latest attempt with exploring marking pots by ‘smoking’ them – this time in a saggar.

Saggar firing has evolved as a way to achieve a result similar to pit-firing on a smaller scale.  A saggar is a lidded container which is used to contain and isolate a pot during its firing. Although originally invented to protect pots from harmful fumes inside the kiln, saggars can be used for exactly the reverse effect: to contain fumes around a pot to allow it to pick up colour from added ingredients.

I made a large cylinder (plus lid) from the recycled clay which was then biscuit fired.  Pots, previously burnished and biscuit fired, were placed inside the saggar on a bed of sawdust.  Some pieces had been wrapped in copper wire, anti slug copper tape, steel wool and masking tape.  A sprinkling of salt (inc seaweed), copper carbonate and fertilizer granules were added.

The saggar was then sealed with a clay coil and fired in the biscuit kiln for about 20 hours (the first 600 degrees taken very slowly).

Initial reaction on opening the lid after firing was a disappointed ‘oh’ as we looked at rather ‘grungy’ pots.  This turned into to excited ‘oohs & ahs’ as we started to clean them up and some extraordinary colours emerged. The steel wool and some of the granules have actually fused to the top of the largest piece. (photos were taken before final cleaning and before any polishing).

A further Saggar Firing (at a lower temperature) is planned before the end of term for anyone interested.  Details to follow.

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Pit Firing Birthday Celebration

WSP members celebrated Sue Broadhead’s 70th birthday with a pit firing in her garden.  Bisque pots were wrapped in copper wire, tea bags, seaweed, banana skins, leather and salt soaked pants!!

Pots were packed into the large pit amongst sawdust and straw, which was then lit……stand well back or else you will get your eye brows singed (mentioning no names!!)

Patience is needed as the pit will smoulder for a couple of days before the grand opening on Sunday.

All this excitement, followed by a lovely lunch in the garden.

Best wishes Sue, what a great way to spend your big birthday, hope you enjoyed yourself, I think everyone else did.

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Oxidised Firing – Week ending 1st April

The glaze firing for the kiln pack week ending 1st April will be an oxidised firing instead of reduction.

It is possible to get a different variety of finished colours with an oxidised firing.  Ask your tutor for more information regarding the oxidised firing process and advice on which glazes to try.

Please look out for a glaze shelf to be set aside for this date and label your work accordingly for inclusion in this firing.

Firing Charges – Polite Reminder

There is a new red folder (on the shelves next to the fridge) to record all bisque and a glazes firings and payments.

There is a new page for each member attending the Autumn Term (any late comers, there are spare sheets at the back).

Please ensure you record and pay for all firings, even those which don’t turn out quite like you hoped!

We need to ensure that our energy and glaze material costs are covered by the firing charges, so accurate recording and timely payments will ensure that any necessary review of the charges is fair for all.

To confirm, a single glaze or bisque firing is £1.65 per kg.  2 firings (glaze and bisque) is £3.30 per kg.  There is no difference in charges for Raku.

Anyone still owing payment for the previous term, I still have the old files, so please let me know.

Many thanks for your co-operation, Rachel