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woodfire workshop news

updated mon 9 jul 01


Karen Sullivan on sun 8 jul 01

The process of charcoal firing was developed by Philip Cornelius.
One builds a saggar to contain the inside space of the kiln.
A port is make in the door/or flue in an updraft and
at cone 10 or better yet cone 5 and again at cone 10
the charcoal is thrown into the kiln and covers the work.
The range of color developed from the process depends on
how the work is loaded (a natural loading/tumble stack with
wads holding the pieces in place) and which zone they occupy...
So bottom pots get covered/black
middle pots some flame pattern color/flashing
top the melting of ash
It is a little crazy with all of the fuel flying around the kiln...
Pretty dramatic stuff.
I also do a water reduction, i.e. I throw in water after
the charcoal to stir things up.
It seems important to introduce the charcoal at temp. as I get
nowhere close to the range of color from a simple saggar, loaded
with work, charcoal and fired in a standard reduction firing.
I also think that when cooling the kiln is NOT reoxidizing due to
the 60-200 pounds of charcoal in the reduction cooling
has some affect on the work.
Does that help?
bamboo karen

on 7/8/01 4:31 PM, Steve Mills at wrote:

> Dear Karen,
> In another place there has recently been some discussion on firing with
> charcoal. I have in my mind's eye a kiln very like the coke/coal fired
> Raku kiln of earlier days; a Sagger full of pots surrounded by fuel. Am
> I right or right off beam?
> Best regards
> Steve Mills
> Bath
> UK
> In message , Karen Sullivan writes
>> So I returned from a week in Idyllwild California at
>> a woodfire workshop in the mountains.
>> An amazing experience...about 40 participants, 8 presenters,
>> and over the week close to 30 firings.
>> Everyone arrived with boxes of pots that were arranged
>> in a room of tables, a display of pink, bisque pots.
>> Then in two categories/three times a week a team
>> of presenters would load and fire their kilns.
>> Salt by Jesse Bay
>> Kazegama by Steve Davis
>> Charcoal by Karen Sullivan
>> Fast Freddie by Greg Kennedy
>> Cone 10 reduction by Greg Kennedy
>> on alternate days the low fire crew took over
>> while we waited for the high fire to cool
>> Raku with china paint by Kevin Myers
>> Paper Sagger by Greg Kennedy
>> Low Salt by David Kiddie
>> Burnished by Marsha Judd
>> Also Robby Wood organized the wood kiln,
>> loaded Saturday and fired until Wednesday.
>> Over the course of the week the room of bisque pots slowly
>> transformed into an amazing array of a variety of firing techniques.
>> The energy was positive and wonderful. An amazing
>> collection of artists and participants.
>> I will take with me the memory of sitting off to
>> the side of the kiln shed in the quiet evening, a
>> magical memory of the sounds of the wood kiln firing.
>> There was a dissonant combination of the sounds of
>> splitting wood, the hollow thud of the wood hitting the
>> pile by the kiln on the concrete, the metal clang of the
>> axe in a magical rhythm with the call to stoke.
>> Many thanks for all who were there.
>> bamboo karen