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updated mon 12 mar 07


Megan Mason on fri 9 mar 07

Dear Fred,

If you can join the group in Louisville,Ky, next week, starting Wednesday,
for the NCECA convention you will be on the fast track to learning a lot
about many things in a hurry.Just going to all the exhibitors booths is an
education in its self and the demos are truly inspiring also.You will get to
see every piece of equipment and book and whatever that you will ever need or
desire to do your pottery.This gang will be well represented and you can ask
the questions in person.
There are day passes if you cannot attend the entire program and many here
may have an extra bed or pull out couch if you share the room cost.

Check the archives and read the amil daily and you will get plenty of
information and will know more what to ask.

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email to everyone. Find out more about what's free from AOL at

Fred Warner on fri 9 mar 07

Hey all. This is the first posting for me. I am a beginner (litterally)and
have not yet made anything. I have been doing a little research on the net
and am very interested in pit firing. Any information you guys can send
would be greatly appreciated. Info like what clays are best and little
tricks to get different color, and what kinds of pits have any of you
built and what works best for firing.

Thanks very much,

Fred Warner

Chris Campbell on sat 10 mar 07

Hi Fred -

You have just asked a 'beginner' question
that would easily take a whole day to answer.

And, none of the answers you get will really
help because it will take you at least two years
to understand what all the ins and outs
of the answers mean for your pots.

It is a HUGE question.
There are at least a hundred different methods
... and another thousand opinions on each of
those methods.

I suggest you find a clay class in your town
and start learning from the teachers there,
start getting the feel of clay and firing ...
then start trying things.

Or, you could search the clayart archives
for past discussions on pit firing.

Clay is very addictive though ... welcome aboard.

Chris Campbell - in North Carolina

Don Goodrich on sun 11 mar 07

Hey Fred,
Looks like you're where I was about twenty years ago.
I found clay when I dug in my garden, formed it by pinching it
into little dish shapes and put them in my fireplace.
They blew up in the fire. This taught me the first lesson:
clay should be DRY before you fire it.

Depending on your location, there's a good chance that if
you dig a pit, you'll find clay below the topsoil. If there's
no gravel in it, you can try using it as it is. If that doesn't
work for you, tell us where you are and we can advise you of
likely sources and suitable prepared clay bodies. You can also
mix your own clay body from raw materials. Vince Pitelka has
a recipe for a very reliable pitfire/bonfire/raku body:
Goldart 25
Ball clay 25
Fire clay 25
Fine grog 25

If you've been researching the net, or just browsing the
Clayart archives, you've probably found that people put
everything from banana peels to bailing wire next to their
pots for color when they pitfire. Copper wire and Miracle-Gro
are popular. Try anything that isn't likely to poison your
water table. Let your imagination and your conscience be your guide.

Good luck, and please keep us posted as you traverse the learning curve.

Don Goodrich