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Pit Firing

For New Years I went to my friend Laura's Farm in middle Georgia.  I love going there for the friends, the relaxation, walks through the woods with the dogs and peace.  This year though I did some work.  I was unable to resist the call from the large deep pit that is used as a collection location for the dead branches and stuff that are cleaned up from the grass prior to mowing.  I cleaned out the pit so I could use it as a kiln to fire some pots.
The pots were burnished with white and red Terra Sigillata while greenware then bisque fired to cone 04.  I know it should be cooler than that but I didn't want to wait for a full kiln load to fire these pieces.  I laid the pots in a bed of pine needles that I had soaked in salt water and then covered them with cotton (from the farm) that had been partly soaked in copper carbonate, orange peels, juniper berries and branches, black walnuts, and some more copper carbonate.  I then covered that pile with dried leaves and twigs.  I built a pile of dried branches over that, and surrounded it with some old scrap wood, all from the farm.  This was lit on fire from the top so it would burn down, which it did.  I kept the fire burning by tossing (gently) more dried wood onto the fire.  After a couple of hours we toasted the kiln gods as the sun was setting and let the fire burn down on it's own.
The next morning was New Years day so we didn't get up very early but when we did make it out to the pit the pots were warm but cool enough to remove from the ashes.  They cleaned up nicely and easily, I think they look pretty good for the first try.  They do not have a lot of black on them, as expected,  but everyone there agreed they looked fine without, not everyone likes black on their pottery I guess.
I did make a short video of the event also:

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  1. So disappointing - hardly a video at all,

  2. Jean, I'm sorry you're disappointed, what would have made the video better for you? I'm new at the video thing and welcome any constructive criticism.

  3. Hi Lori that's great to see this video and the pit since I am thinking of doing a pit firing with someone nearby.

    For the parts without the fire sound you could have some background music and some closeups of the pots, they look great and thanks for posting the details of all the ingredients you use.

  4. Thanks Linda, You Tube has some rules around music that I can add to video and one of my video's on horse hair firing got lots of complaints about the music so I thought I'd forgo it in this video. That might not have been the best idea.


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