I had problems replying to a comment posted on the "Pit Fire" post so I thought I'd answer it in a regular post. I have found that I get my best colors in the barrel kiln, which I fire completely uncovered until the fire burns itself out. In the pit firing I cover it when I can see the pots through the hot coals. And, it is loosely covered so that it can still get plently of air circulating around the pots. To create colors I sprinkle generous amounts of copper carbonate and miracle grow around the pots. Consistent beautiful colors every time.
Last Friday I helped students from Viterbo University with Alternative Firing. The get together was held at the instructor's house and we utilized his back yard fire pit for a pit firing. In this photo we have already lined the pit with sawdust, loaded all the pots, piled wood on top of the pots and lit the fire. The pit was only about one foot deep so we stacked some brick up to increase the depth to about two feet. I also brought my barrel and we did a barrel firing as well. All the pots around the pit are just pre-heating because we fired my raku kiln non-stop, load after load, till 1:30 in the morning. Once the top pots were removed from the top ledge of the pit and raku fired we placed a loosely fit tin cover over the pit and let it burn itself out. I'm guessing we had about 50 pots in the pit. Some were wrapped in tin foil saggers, some had terra sigallata finishes, and some were just plain bisqued pots. We also sprinkled copper carb and some other "magic dust" around the pot to create colors. The good news is everybody had at least one piece that they were extremely happy about but all the pots looked great to me and we had no breakage. All in all I think we fired the raku kiln about a dozen times and between the three kilns fired about 150 pots. We're in the process of taking photos of the finished pots and when that is done I'll post a slide show of some of our favorites. All I can say is that it was a fantastic and successful event. Stay tuned for the slide show.
Took my first clay classes at Bemidji State University in 1989. In 2002, after a long break, I started more pottery classes at Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI.
I do not have one area of interest, but that isn't to say I am unfocused. I enjoy making everything from coffee mugs to trompe l' oeil. I work with highfire stoneware, and low fire earthenware. I'm just clay crazy.