Upwey Potters Soda Firing Numbers 28 and 30

May & June 2005

The Upwey Potters are a group of ceramic artists who live & work in Upwey, Dorset, England, making and selling their work and running Workshops.

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This page gives images of Bill's pots from the 28th & 30th soda kiln firings

These two firings were the first that Bill did "Raw", that is without biscuit firing the ware beforehand. The Glazes were applied to the insides and rims of the pots when still damp - "leather hard".
The bowls were based on Celtic Iron Age shapes, with Light Oatmeal inside (a dolomite glaze that benefits from the fluxing of the soda which helps to make it mature)

The batch of Beakers were based on Bronze Age drinking vessels, with strips of decoration applied by repeatedly pushing a comb into the damp surface. The insides were glazed with a Tenmoku glaze, which unfortunately "crawled" in places, leaving patches unglazed, however the high temperature and soda makes them waterproof. Bill refers to these as "Fusion Ware", as they combine the techniques of several cultures!

Firing 28 took rather a long time, Bill wanted a slow warm up as the ware had not been biscuit fired, however the rear burner was misbehaving because some grit got behind the nozzle and then the gas ran low. It was midnight before the firing was completed!

Firing 30 was much quicker, Bill was braver, the beakers were smaller and a new gas bottle helped. It was a heavily reduced firing, with the damper pushed further in at times to restrict the updraught and so introduce partially burnt gas into the chamber, that sought out the oxygen in the iron within the clay body and glaze and turned it pleasingly darker. It also reached a higher temperature, with the Cone 8 almost flat and the 10 well bent (although the soda tends to make them melt a bit more)

The first view of firing No 28

The kiln's load waiting in the rain.

Firing No 30's Beakers
Follow this link to Bill's Pages about Bronze Age Ware

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