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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…

Pottery Kids

Last Thursday was the last day of our Kids Clay Class at Callanwolde (try to say that three times, fast). They had built some clay projects, fired them, glazed them and fired them again. So for the last class, they got to see the finished projects, which were really great. The class is two hours long and I wanted the kids to continue to have fun so I gave them a little tour of the pottery studios and showed them the kilns. We talked about how they worked. We even found someone in the raku area doing a sawdust firing. It would have been more exciting if she was doing a raku firing but that was not the case. Maybe next time it will work out that way. I brought them to the wheel room and showed them around there. Then I took out some clay that I had wedged up and did a little demo of how to make a pot. I also demonstrated how to squish a pot. Demo pots aren't always keepers. My best work doesn't always come out while I'm talking and kids ask a lot of questions which is wonderful but my pot was not.
Demonstrating throwing pottery to kids by Future Relics Gallery
Demonstrating Wheel Throwing

After showing them what to do I let each child take a turn on the wheel.

Teaching children centering clay on the potter’s wheel by Lori Buff
Teaching Centering

They all needed a little help centering. If you've ever tried to throw a pot or taught pottery, you know that centering can be difficult to learn to do at the beginning.

Children’s clay lessons at Callanwolde by Future Relics Gallery
Helping Throw a Pot

I helped a little but mostly let the kids play as much as they wanted. They didn't really care if they made anything, they just enjoyed the fun of playing with the clay while it was spinning. They even had fun just making patterns in the slip on the wheel head.

The kids were great about taking turns and being supportive of whoever was throwing at the time. The hard part was getting them to clean up and go when it was time for their parents to pick them up.

I tried to allow the kids lots of freedom to play and express themselves however they wanted through the clay. I feel like kids seem to have too much structure in their lives and a little play time is very healthy. The children seemed to enjoy it.  I think the best compliment was hearing "This is his (or her) favorite day of the week."

The Kids Clay Classes are off for the summer but will be back in the fall. I'm looking forward to them.


  1. I am sure you gave those kids memories that will last a life time! I completely agree with you that a lot of kids have too much structured time and not enough time for free exploration.
    P.S. I like your now blog layout!

    1. I hope so, they were great kids and really seemed to enjoy the class. Thanks.

      Thanks also about the blog layout. I updated my website and tried to make the blog match.


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