search  current discussion  categories  kilns & firing - wood 

subject: saggar/woodfire question

updated fri 8 dec 00


Karen Terpstra on thu 7 dec 00

It's not a silly question. Everyone starts somewhere. If your friend
has a ground hog kiln, take advantage of the beautiful natural ash and
flashing that can be produced from that kiln. Talk to her before hand;
ask her if she uses any flashing slips to enhance the clay body or does
most of the work go in raw? Does she use glazes? What does the work
look like in different parts of the kiln? Putting all the combustibles
you mentioned on your pot may be self defeating and not necessary.

I learned to saggar fire when I had tons of work that were disasters
from the wood kiln. I didn't want to wait for the next wood fire to
re-fire some of them. Sometimes but not always, saggar firing is a
quick fix for a wood fired pot. Sometimes they develop a beautiful
characteristic all their own and can't be replicated any other way. One
time I did something like a saggar fire in the back of a wood kiln that
had trouble reaching temperature. We just put extra wood around the
pots as we loaded.

I'm assuming your friend fires to cone 10-12. Make sure your clay body
can take the high fire temperature. Keep asking questions!


Karen Terpstra
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Hope this isn't a silly question...I guess if I had to classify myself

a title it would be Fetal Potter lol. Anyway, I am lucky enough to live

the same town as a certain clever Clayart poster with her very own

kiln, and my question is the next wood-firing, could I take

bisqued pieces, wrap them in sawdust/organic material, then aluminum

and place on sand under a big bowl on one of the shelves to obtain those

pretty saggar-type smokey markings but still fire to high temps? Or

all of that just burn off and leave me with ugly ashless pots? (Believe

my pots don't need any help in the ugly department, or heavy for that

matter...I have decided that I have invented a new classification:

decorative, functional, and DEADLY WEAPON lol.) Thanks gurus...