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Ground Breaking

Reuse, recycle, reduce. We hear these ideas all the time and I tend to think they are good ones. It comes in especially great when someone gives me an old kiln.  That is exactly what happened when the electric kiln that we used for cone 6 glaze firing gave up the ghost at Callanwolde. It’s a good size kiln, much bigger than my electric kiln but I’m not interested in rewiring this one. You may remember I did that with my electric kiln when I installed the kiln sitter (you can read about that here) which I got from another free kiln.

My plan for this kiln is to make it a reduction kiln since that is the look I like best for my pots. I am even considering adding a stoke hole so I can feed some small piece of wood into the kiln for some ash and wood effects.

Before I can start converting it into a gas kiln I need to build a kiln shed. My current kiln room is fine for the electric kiln but it’s too crowded to add flame to the mix. I’m designing a simple lean-to type shed that will have a m…

Salted Burritos, Soda, and Oatmeal Cookies Into The Kiln

One of my favorite kilns to fire at Penland is named Julia after potter Julia Terr who died in a car accident several years ago.  It's a sweet kiln that usually produces beautiful works, maybe it's the sprit of Julia helping out.  It's also a fun kiln to fire because it has no restriction and encourages experimentation.  Naturally, we were up for some experimenting last week.

Soda Kiln Loading at Penland School of Crafts by Future Relics
Sarah and I Loading Julia
 Despite the cold we loaded Julia after dinner.  Sometimes I joke that it's against the rules to load and fire a kiln during daylight hours at Pemland but it's really just a matter of getting everything done in a limited amount of time.

We fired through the night and had planed to add salt and soda to the kiln around the time that cone 8 went down, that's around 2200 degrees.  We would wrap the salt and soda in newspaper that was folded up like a burrito and feed it to the kiln.  But Michele did some research and found Emily Murphy's wood chip soda recipe which is, essentially, a way to add soda to the kiln.  We were already firing a wood kiln so why not add wood chips to the salt.  We read that the results were beautiful.

The recipe says to make the mix about the same consistency as oatmeal cookies so that's what we named the mix.

Soda and Salt fired Covered Casserole by Future Relics Pottery
Covered Casserole

Yes, we were happy with the results, the pots came out looking beautiful.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff


  1. Replies
    1. Oh, that would have been good. Thanks Gary.

  2. Very beautiful. My first wood firing was all through the night, and then we said, why are we doing this at night? So the next time we fired all day long, much easier to see what we were doing, and warmer!

    1. Thanks Tracey, we normally wood fire for a few days so we'd be going overnight no matter what. I haven't fired in a wood kiln that's small enough for a one day firing but I hope to one day.

  3. That casserole came out awesome!
    It seems I always get an overnight shift when wood firing. In some ways it's the best time. It's quieter, there are usually just two people, listening to the kiln and feeding it what it needs.

    1. Thanks Michèle. I tend to prefer the night shift too, for many of the same reasons. Then when the perfectionist comes on for the next shift and asks how often we're stoking the kiln I say "whenever she asks."

  4. Mmmm, cookies work did you still deliver them in a burrito, or just fling in a cookie like wood?

  5. We just dropped them into the ports using an angle iron. We used one round of cookies on each side of the kiln and 2 rounds of salt/soda on each side. The pull rings looked great so we called it done.


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