MonicaAdamo_Spring2014

Peony Vases , electric fired porcelain
by Monica Adamo

RosemaryAicher2

Sketch Made Permanent, multifired porcelain
by Rosemary Aicher

EstherDevriesLasby_Spring2014

Nesting Bowls, reduction gas fired stoneware
by Esther Devries-Lasby

MurrayFoxSpring2014

Flower Vases, electric fired stoneware
by Murray Fox

NajmaHaque

Drops, reduction gas fired porcelain
by Najma Haque

SallyHarangozo_vases

Bud Vases, electric fired porcelain
by Sally Harangozo

Stephen_Hawes_Earthborn20151

Whisky Cups, electric fired porcelain, by Stephen Hawes
Winner of the Dorthea Tutte Functional Award at Earthborn 2015

JasonLabbe_Spring2014

Bottle, crystalline glazed porcelain
by Jason Labbé

MarlenMoggach_bird

Bird, raku fired stoneware
by Marlen Moggach

BarbMurphy_Earthborn2015

3 Piece Sculpture, wood fired stoneware, by Barb Murphy
Winner of the Best Handbuilding Award at Earthborn 2015

NataliePrevost

Bottle, smoke fired stoneware
by Natalie Prévost

TrudySchulz

Effervescence, electric fired porcelain
by Trudy Schulz

RosemaryStartek_Spring2014

Flowers
by Rosemary Startek

Sculpture by Eekta Trienekens

Pan is Back, electric fired stoneware by Eekta Trienekens
Winner of the FUSION Award at Earthborn 2016

NicoleWaddick_Earthborn2013

Land Plant Amalgam, electric fired stoneware, by Nicole Waddick
Winner of the FUSION Award at Earthborn 2013

photos by Nicole Waddick

Pottery Stages and Firing Guide

Greenware

Greenware is a clay object that has never been fired.  It is not very durable and will dissolve into sludge if it gets wet!

Bisque Firing

Most pottery is fired twice.  The first firing is called a “bisque” and hardens the clay to the point where it can be glazed without too much risk of breaking.  Bisque fired work is not yet able to hold water without it seeping through.  A bisque firing will heat the pot to a temperature of 999 degrees Celsius for a medium firing, common for stoneware.

Electric Firing

An electric kiln is used for firing pottery to almost all possible firing temperatures – from the low temperatures needed to put gold trim on fine china to the high temperatures needed to ensure “cone 10” (high-fire) clay is completely mature and watertight.
Most often, at WPW, the electric kilns are used for “cone 6” clay pots (medium-fire).  The atmosphere in an electric kiln has plenty of oxygen available for the chemical reactions that make the glaze hard and colourful.

Gas Firing

A gas kiln can also be used for firing pottery to almost all possible firing temperatures.  At WPW Waterloo Potter's Workshop, it is normally fired to “cone 10” (high-fire).  Generally, the oxygen supply is restricted, so the firing is said to be “in reduction”.  A glaze may have a totally different appearance in reduction vs the oxidation firing of an electric kiln. For example, one cone 6 glaze is green in oxidation and red in reduction! Some colours are best achieved in reduction, like reds and purples. Gas firings can also produce more ‘movement’ in the glaze that is harder to achieve in oxidation (electric) kilns.

Raku Firing

Raku is always fired outside and is fueled by propane. The pots are put into the kiln until the glaze reaches the right temperature.  Then they are removed and placed in containers filled with shredded newspaper and covered with a lid so that no air gets in.  This is another way of getting that reduction (limited oxygen) effect, but in a very short time period compared to a high temperature gas firing.

Smoke Firing

Bisqued pots are placed in a container, such as a metal garbage can.  The bottom is lined with sawdust and holes are drilled around the can to allow air to pass through.  The pots are prepared with areas that are intended to be lighter by masking with paper, string, or organic materials like leaves or flowers.  The pots are then placed in the container layered with newspaper which is then lit.  The sawdust catches fire and produces smoke that marks the pots where it can reach.

greenware teapot

This greenware (unfired) teapot is made with clay that is gray when it is unfired, but will be white after firing.

electric fired mugs by Trudy Schulz

Electric fired mugs by Trudy Schulz.

gas reduction fired platter by Najme Haque

Detail view of a platter by Najme Haque that demonstrates the colours possible with reduction gas firing.

photo by Nicole Waddick
raku fired plaque by Angela McKay

Raku fired plaque by Angela McKay showing the metallic and iridescent colours made possible by the reduction atmosphere of raku firing.

photo by Nicole Waddick
Smoke fired jar by Becky Webster

Lidded jar by Becky Webster that was smoke fired in a saggar. Winner of the Primitive Firing Award at Earthborn 2014.

photo by Nicole Waddick