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Why Soda Firing

The pots in a soda kiln usually don’t have much glaze on the outsides of them, they are glazed by the introduction on soda ash, which volatiles when it hits the flame and creates a glaze. The flame then carries the soda ash through the kiln and the pots become glazed wherever the flame and soda kiss the pots.

Here you see me spraying the soda ash which is mixed with boiling water, into the kiln at about 2200 degrees.

 The results can be greatly varied with this type of firing. For me, that's a big part of the fun of it. You never know with 100% certainty, what you will get from the kilns.

This pot shows where the glaze hit the surface and really added a nice difference in appearance. The green you see is a spearmint glaze that I used inside the pot and along the rim. The soda mixed with that glaze and made it very dark, almost black in some spots and almost white in others. You can also see where it kissed the shoulder of the vessel and the handles. The orange color is from a flas…

A Few From The Kiln

The look of pots fired in an atmospheric environment really speaks to me. These are pots that are fired in a wood, or gas kiln with or without salt or soda. I love how the flame plays with the pots and tells the story of what happened in that hot kiln. The flame, ash, salt, and soda all play a role in creating the pot. They are the potter’s team. But I live in the city of Atlanta so having a wood kiln in my back yard may be frowned upon by my neighbors and city officials.

That means I need to work with my glazes and electric kiln to give me similar results. I’m not really sure I’ll ever come up with something that will make people wonder what type of kiln I own, and I’m not sure I want to do that. I just want to see some of that esthetic in my pots.

Some of the pots from the most recent firing seem to have taken a step in that direction. Here are a few examples.
Pottery Tumbler by Lori Buff
Ceramic Tumbler
The color is a little off in this picture, it’s a very foggy day today, I wonder if that’s what’s doing it. The glaze is actually a little browner. 

The silicon travel lids I have fit this tumbler perfectly, which is nice. I wonder why they are called “Tumblers.” I’ll have to look that up.

Ceramic Bottle with Brushwork by Future Relics Gallery
Pottery Bottle
The photo is a little truer to color in this picture, it’s a nice soft satin finish with some slightly glossy brushwork. This bottle would make a good soap or sake dispenser.

Butter Keeper by Lori Buff
Butter Keeper
I love the way this glaze moves and all the delicious colors in it. I think I could just stare at this glaze for a few hours.

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


  1. Those are some tasty glazes! Well done!

  2. I agree, those do have an atmospheric look. Lots of people are doing great stuff in electric kilns these days.
    The glaze on the butter keeper is luscious!

    1. Thanks Michèle, you're right, many people are getting some beautiful result by down firing and stuff. My kiln is completely manual so that's a little tricky.

  3. these are super results. I love that tumbler with the swirls going up the sides and the tasty surface. I've gotten some good results with overlapping or dotting various glazes or using what one would normally thing isn't a glaze to use on a darker clay body, ie a celadon on a dark red clay body, I dream of some day having an even small wood fired kiln in my back yard, just to do a few pots in, we shall see

  4. They're really lovely. I especially like the colours on the butter keeper.

  5. Beyond this point, there be magic.




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