I was the YAIR, young artist in residence in Guldagergaard in Denmark for three months in 2019. Here i was able to experiment with bourry box ,anagama and speedy soda and many other kilns as well as with slips and glazes.
Cob pizza oven.
I built this cob oven in my garden. Its perfect for wood fired pizza. You have to light it for an hour and then you push the wood to the sides and slide the pizza in. They will cook in a few minutes . The materials you need to build it are:
Glass Bottles(for insulation)
First you build the base. I used Cotswold stone and lime plaster but you can use anything from a tree stump to cement. I created a round hollow structure with stone and filled it with builder's sand. At the top I laid several bottles and topped up the sand to make it level. On top of this you lay the floor of the oven, I used builders brick but you can use any bricks that can withstand a high temperature (this is the stage in the first photograph). On top you create a round sandcastle out of the builder's sand and cover that with dampened newspaper, This is to separate the layers. Next I mixed the clay and sand into balls with ration 1:2 and coved the dome in a beehive like structure .I covered this layer with the same ratio plus straw and mix it all thoroughly together walking on the mixture to help this. Once the dome is created you leave it a few days before cutting a doorway which is 2/3 the height of the dome.Next you pull out the sand and newspaper and in a few days the oven is ready to fire.
- Lime plaster
- Engineering bricks
4 day wood firing.
I helped Nic Collins at his wood firing down at the Barn pottery in Devon.The Kiln needs to be brought up to around 1280 degrees for a long period of time so he can achieve his incredibly beautiful and ashy glazes. The fire needs to be stoked constantly and needs to be watched by somebody for the whole four days. This means it is quite a operation. Once the kiln has reached temperature, by checking the heat reading cones the kiln is sealed off with clay and then left for a few days before it can be opened.
I currently fire all my ceramics in an electric kiln. I fire this to 1285 degrees.
During my time at the Leach Pottery in St Ives, Cornwall I was responsible for making the eggcups for the Leach standard ware range. These, along with all their other standard ware pots, were soda fired in an outside kiln next to the studio. The kiln, just as it was reaching top temperature, would be sprayed inside with liquid soda for around 15 times, over intervals. The results are very impressive . The soda on the pots are the shiny greeny/grey flecks that you can see on the egg cups below. All the pots have to be wadded, placed on three ball of materials , for example china clay and alumina, that wont melt at the kilns top temperature. this is to stop the pot sticking to the shelf as soda firing creates a lot of movement in the glaze.