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Mid-Winter firing

It’s been good to get back into the studio over the month of May, making a new batch of clay up and starting a list of pots to make for the June firing. Starting with the standard ware range – pasta and noodle bowls, mugs and beakers. Then  larger bowls and pouring bowls. Changing clays to the dark Rahu blend and another series of forms – tea caddies, jugs and tea bowls.

The kiln always needs some maintenance, some repair more than the usual clean and inspection. This time a bit of insulating adobe around the base of the chimney. Then it’s into glazing and working out the combinations of liner glaze and exterior or highlight glaze. This firing we’re trying a new Barium Blue glaze out on a few different pots to see how it looks, different methods of application and placement in the kiln will test how it reacts.

We pick a clear weather window to load and fire the kiln, it makes the job that much easier if we don’t have to dodge the showers. Firing close to the winter solstice is often the easiest as you can see the changing colour inside the kiln better and spot the chimney flame sooner. We stockpile wood close to the kiln before it gets dark which saves a job at the pointy end of the firing when we’re soda spraying and stoking.

The firing went smoothly in 12.5 hours and produced good results. Now comes the last jobs, sanding smooth the rough bases and picking out the seconds and the exhibition pieces, everything else is destined for one of our outlets.

To see more of Duncan’s work from this firing then head over to