Glazing & Firing
Because the atmosphere in the kiln creates its own glaze by reacting with the clay, I like to keep the applied glazes to a minimum. I use glaze as an accent and of course as a liner for a smooth and food-safe interior. The glazes I use are mostly made with wood-ash, feldspar and clay. I also use traditional shino, iron, copper, and celadon type glazes..
Soda Firing process
Once the pots are bisqued and glazed, they are ready for the kiln. If I am firing in the gas soda kiln, I usually allow a day to prep the kiln, wad pots (raising them off the shelves for protection and to allow the atmosphere to flow under them, making interesting marks), load the kiln, clean the burners, and get ready for an early start next morning.
The firing usually lasts about 17 hours. Since the pots are bisqued, I raise the temperature fairly quickly in an slightly oxidizing/neutral atmosphere, then I do a slight reduction til cone 9 is committed, about 2250 °F. I take about two hours to introduce soda into the kiln, both spraying and sliding in wood slats painted with super-saturated soda solution.
After that I finish reaching top temperature, cone 10, 2350 °F, and soak it there for about an hour. I oxidize slightly, then shut the kiln, clam it up and let it cool naturally for about 30 hours. The I crack the damper and let it finish cooling til I can get my hands on the pots!
I love the interplay of glazed and raw clay, and the subtle changes in light reflectivity and color variation that come from the sliding and pooling of wood ash and atmospheric traces that result from a long wood firing.
I am fortunate to be a member of the 4-person crew at Jody Johnstone's Anagama Kiln. Twice a year, May and October we fire this 24 ft. long beast.