Kilns & Firing

Forming, Finishing, & Firing with Donovan Palmquist

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In this video, Donovan Palmquist shares his techniques for creating, decorating and wood firing his understated and elegant pots! Starting out on the wheel with a teapot and a tea caddy, Donovan breaks down these complicated forms...(Scroll down for more.)

Clay: A Studio Handbook

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Originally published in 2001, Vince Pitelka’s Clay: A Studio Handbook has been an essential, all-inclusive studio text for students, studio artists, educators and all those interested in the art of clay for years. Now it is back fully updated, expanded, and better than ever with beautiful...(Scroll down for more.)

Layering Techniques for Sumptuous Surfaces with Colleen Riley

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Have you ever opened a bisque kiln and felt completely overwhelmed by the entire load of blank pots? Are you tired of the dip-and-done approach to glazing? Do you wish you could create surfaces with more depth? If you have answered yes to any of the above questions then...(Scroll down for more.)

In The Studio with Randy Johnston and Jan McKeachie-Johnston

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In this installment of the Ceramic Arts Daily Video Series, Randy Johnston and Jan McKeachie Johnston invite viewers into their studio for a look into their working processes. Soul mates as well as studio mates, Randy and Jan’s pottery shares the common influence of the Leach/Hamada traditions, but they each bring their own perspectives and techniques to the making process.

Electric Kiln Ceramics, 4th Edition

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The electric kiln has helped to open the doors of the ceramic world to more and more people due to its convenience, ease of use, and economical benefits, and this...(Scroll for more.)

Naked Raku and Related Bare Clay Techniques

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This definitive book on naked raku results from years of studio work, workshop presentations, conversations, and research. Guided by Eduardo Lazo’s expertise, contributors Kate and Will Jacobson, Wally Asselberghs, Linda and Charlie Riggs, Amber Aguirre, and Dana Bilello-Barrow each describe their personal working techniques for working on the bare clay surface. These skilled and passionate teachers withhold no secrets and reveal information gathered from years of trial-and-error experimentation. The book includes virtually every aspect of naked raku as well as bare clay techniques that include masking, pit firing and fuming.

Soda, Clay and Fire

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Soda glazing is a relatively new development in ceramic history, with exciting scope for research and experimentation. It’s a more popular ceramic practice, particularly in the U.S., where it’s widely taught in college ceramics departments and workshops, and has attracted a high number of professional practitioners.

Raku Firing with Marcia Selsor

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In this installment of the Ceramic Arts Daily Presents video series, Marcia Selsor draws from her extensive experience with raku firing to show a variety of techniques that can easily be done in any raku kiln. She starts out with the basics of raku, covering equipment, safety, and suitable clays and glazes for the process. From there, she moves on to preparing pots for firing with a variety of decorative techniques. Finally, it’s time to play with fire! Marcia demonstrates four exciting post-firing techniques for the raku kiln: basic raku, horsehair and feather raku, saggar firing, and obvara. If you’ve been wanting to experiment with raku and other post-firing techniques, this video will get you off to a great start!

Pit Firing and Burnishing

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Pit firing is an exciting firing process with roots in the earliest forms of pottery making. Burnishing is the technique of polishing clay without the use of glaze. Ancient potters used these techniques to produce their wares before glazes and kilns were developed; modern potters use pit firing and burnishing to create works of great beauty. In this video, Sumi von Dassow shares the methods of pit firing and burnishing that she has developed over the course of thirty years. You’ll learn how to prepare pots for firing, what materials and chemicals to use in the firing, and how to load and fire a pit.

Sumi von Dassow Collection


Sticks and Stones . . . are just about the only things it takes to enjoy pit firing and burnishing. These extremely low-tech techniques require the very basics — some sticks for a fire, rocks or bricks for a pit, and a stone to smooth the clay surface.

The Kiln Book


Fred Olsen is one of the leading pioneers in explaining everything about kilns to the studio potter and his book is one of the best selling references on the topic. This book covers it all from refractory materials and applications to design principles and construction techniques. No matter what type of kiln you plan to build, or what type of fuel you plan to use, The Kiln Book will help you understand what it takes to successfully harness the heat you need to fire your work and get the effects you’re looking for.

Low-firing and Burnishing


Because low-firing is the most basic of all ceramic techniques, it treats all your senses. Using just about the lowest possible technical setting, you submit your work to flames and smoke giving you a sense of what the ancients felt when they used fire to create their primitive works. Both ancient cultures and contemporary potters have used low-firing to great effect, adding slips and burnishing pieces to create finishes not possible with any other firing method. Whether using an old garbage can, a pit in the ground, or a bonfire, low-firing is accessible to anyone with an outdoor space. Low-firing and Burnishing provides step-by-step practical information focusing on various approaches to low firing and methods for creating natural finishes.



Raku has been a popular technique among potters for a long time—the roar of the fire, the glowing work, the dramatic results—are all part of the allure. But raku is more than just a technique, it’s a way of thinking with an attitude of openness to the unexpected and willingness to use accidental happenings in developing your work. Raku encourages curiosity and exploration, and there’s no end to the variety and quality possible in this medium.

Electric Firing: Creative Techniques


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Electric kilns are wonderful things! They’re so readily available and simple to install that you can easily take advantage of the incredible potential this tool has to offer. Nearly every ceramic artist now uses one in some capacity in their studio because electric firing offers a control and dependability not found with any other type of firing.

Raku Firing: Advanced Techniques


Raku is one of the most exciting and popular techniques in ceramics. From the ball of clay to the final fired piece, you’re in control of every creative aspect along the way, and the basic raku process is within the reach of potters of any age or skill level. But when the technically skilled and highly creative artists turn to raku, they explore and experiment to take the medium to an inspiring level.

Raku, Pit & Barrel: Firing Techniques


Raku, pit and barrel firing are three of the most popular firing techniques in ceramics. Accessible to anyone involved in this expressive medium, the unifying theme of these three techniques is the ability to work directly with the fire to achieve both quick and unique results not available with more conventional firing techniques.

Advanced Raku Techniques


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A collection of articles and information published in Ceramics Monthly and Pottery Making Illustrated dealing with raku beyond the range of most books on this topic. Written by and about accomplished raku artists and experts, this book explores a wide range of topics including techniques, materials, equipment, tools and recipes, as well as firsthand accounts of personal experiences and exploration. Both inspirational and instructional, this book is a valuable tool for any serious raku artist.

Barrel, Pit and Saggar Firing


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This Ceramics Monthly Handbook reflects the keen interest in pit firing and related techniques. The artists included here were carefully selected to illustrate the wide range of approaches to barrel, pit, and saggar firing. Works ranging from wheel-thrown and coil-built pots to complex sculpture are tied together by a similarity in the firing process. Originally published in 2001, Barrel, Pit, and Saggar Firing is now available as a downloadable PDF. Imagine what ancient practitioners of firing would think of your easy computer access to such a wealth of creative ideas?

Exploring Electric Kiln Techniques


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The electric kiln has made the experience of pottery accessible to people from all walks of life. For those who would like to better understand the art and science of pottery, this Ceramics Monthly Handbook, edited by Sumi von Dassow, focuses on the expertise of ceramic artists who have explored the possibilities and potential of electric kilns. These artists share their knowledge on a wide range of topics, including clay bodies, glazes, decorating, form and more.

Wood Firing: Journeys and Techniques

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For many potters, wood is more than just a source of heat for a kiln, it’s a process and even a way of life. Wood firing provides a link for ceramic artists to their surroundings and to pottery’s beginnings thousands of years ago. Wood Firing: Journeys and Techniques relates the experiences of individual potters who have sought to reconnect with a basic technology in our hi-tech society, and who strive to explore and master all the possible variables this technique provides. Here you’ll find wood-firing ceramic artists discussing the kilns they’ve built, the lessons they’ve learned and revealing the ups and downs of the lifestyle.

The Potter’s Professional Handbook


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The perfect resource for individuals wishing to take the next step in their involvement with clay. Written by Steven Branfman, The Potter’s Professional Handbook covers topics ranging from determining what a professional is to equipment selection, setting up shop, marketing your work, and much more. This book provides descriptions of the items necessary for a beginning professional potter and includes visual examples of items including sales slips, purchase orders, invoices, credit slips, and even floor plans of well-known potters’ studios.

Pottery: A Life, a Lifetime


This is a book about the experiences of Mel Jacobson as a potter during the past four decades—as a student, an apprentice, a teacher, and an avid participant in all things ceramic. Each chapter of this autobiographical account relates to a different facet or technique of pottery making, with instructive text and illustrations as well as entertaining stories from his time in Japan and candid opinions from the Clayart archives.

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