I have a shop!

Lots of things to write about, which will happen soon, promised. But, first things first: I am now proud owner of an etsy shop:

Access to my shop is always available from the top right of teh blog page and from teh side bar.

Over the next days I will upload more items. Right before Christmas a first one has already been sold. Fingers crossed that it will continue this way.


Kiln opening (cone 6 wood fired from raw)

Here a first image, more to come soon:


Phoenix wood firing (cone 6 from raw)

To experiment some more with firing from raw, we did a cone 6 firing with the Phoenix kiln. This was my first firing as a kiln master – very much the first of many to come so I learn to fire the kiln on my own.

Many glaze tests went in as well – our first raw glazes: tests on BRT clay and on stoneware (Elisabeth Street clay).


Here some pictures from the firing:

I searched the web but could not find very much information on firing schedules so here is the one that we used:


  • We used broken-up wooden pallets -> resulting in thicker and thinner planks of wood about 1.2m length
  • get pyrometer – check battery!
  • take a warm blanket and a chair for the morning (plus all the other useful things one needs)

Phase 1: 50°C /hour to 300 °C

  • Start nice and early (5am was good, earlier would be possible) with kindling in the middle slot
  • 2 people are enough if ½ the wood is already broken up
  • Candle firing the evening before might shorten this first phase
  • Three thin planks of wood in each slot (when 2 are half in start a third one), vertically
  • Make sure ember-bed is nicely distributed to the end of the slots
  • towards the end of the phase: lots of riddling, we started to put charcoal from bottom slots to top grate

Phase 2: 100°C/hour to 600 °C

  • Ensure continuity from phase 1 (having people overlapping instead of taking turns)
  • Careful when starting wood on grate -> temp jumps up quite quickly
  • Close bottom slots to preserve ember bed (first one stone in each slot, then 2 to close)
  • Criss-cross 2 or more long logs, half in, pull out of necessary, push in when drop in temp
  • Develop rhythm -> wait 20 sec after each action to the reaction
  • Careful firing as the kiln reacts to the new wood and temps are spiking
  • Never throw plank in completely, always leave part hanging out to be able to pull out
  • Pick wood before you need it (in hand or lay next to kiln)
  • Use long pieces, keep smaller ones for the end

Phase 3 -1: 150°C/hour (before reduction) to 900°C

  • Continue from phase 2 – just a bit faster firing
  • Aim for oxidized firing in this phase
  • It was unclear how to identify 900°C: use cones or move pyrometer to a better spot?
  • Need to learn reading the temp from colours and other signs
  • When is the right temp for reduction reached in the kiln?

Phase 3-2:  (reduction) 900 to 1050°C

  • Close fire grate (to 3×3 bricks open)
  • Open passive dampers in chimney
  • Fire to the smoke (piece in, wait for black smoke to clear, then another piece -> smoke means that there is reduction happening)
  • Stop when cone 05 is over – about 1040
  • May take up to 2 hours
  • Put the stones for the dampers somewhere where they can be found again 😉

Phase 3-3: 150°C/hour (after reduction to cone 6 over)

  • Close passive dampers
  • Look at smoke (to prevent from big black smoke) – too much smoke means the fire is choked and the temp drops
  • Small pieces of wood often -> rhythm is important
  • Having cones 5/6/7 was good.
  • Need to experiment with better cone positions
  • In this firing:  Had difficulty getting temp up to cone 6 in the end as it was already dark and we tried to rush it (fire out the chimney might bring on the  fire brigade)

Closing up:

  • Have the bricks for closing up somewhere where they can be found
  • Don’t forget to take in the road sign 😉

WSP annual exhibition 2011

I have two pieces in the annual exhibition of the Waikato Potters Society.
Five pieces submitted, two got accepted.

Two beakers received a Merit Award 🙂

Wood firing pictures (Dec 2010)

loading the kiln

Claire stoking the fire

that's me

nicely glowing but it took a long time

chimmey flames

I only had to pieces in this firing. One (a sculpture) came out okay but the other one had some accident during the firing and I am still not quite sure what happened there:

it used to be a bowl...

Francis Cappuccino.

My first market

hm, not sure about the experience. We had lots of fun designing the layout of the stall. People were interested and lots of friends stopped by. Lots of work in lugging things around and packing/unpacking. Made some sells and it was fun as a shared experience with a friend. But still too many pots left … my garage is overflowing. I need another plan.

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