Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pit fired at home

Alright, I lied.  My next post is about some pit firing Diana and I did at home on August 8.  We purchased a couple pieces of bisque from a ceramic shop to see how we would do at home.  I also refired a piece I had done previously as I was not happy with the way it turned out.  It was the bottom of the piece I made that looked white.   Pit firing can be done rather simply in a small galvanized trash can.  Punch lots of holes in the bottom and around the bottom on the sides....we learned the hard way to make lots of nickle size holes or the darn thing smokes A LOT.  My neighbor complained and since we are not "allowed" to burn in the city I live in, we will have to find some place different next time we are ready.

We used animal bedding wood chips, septic root killer and plain table salt.  You place the pieces into the can and surround them with sawdust alternated with the chemicals.  You then build a nice fire on top and keep it burning well for 2-3 hours.  Then you place on the lid leaving a 2" gap and leave it until the next day.  I will smolder all night and the next morning, hopefully you will get some very nice pieces.  With pit firing, you never know how the flames will paint the pottery.  
This bowl was simply wrapped in steel wool that was pulled into very fine threads.  The rest is the work of the fire.
The large egg on the left was wrapped in wet clay that had some of the root killer and salt sprinkled on it.  I think the root killer was just too large of particles placed too close together.  In the areas were they were spread out, the spots are a nice green color.  The other 2 eggs were just place directly on the sawdust.

This is the piece I previously pit fired.  I was not happy that it was plain white.  I refired the piece in the firing at home after wrapping it in a copper scrubber aka Chore Boy.  I love the way it turned out!

Ok as previously promised...the next post will be the beginning of my 365 days.  Kim

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