Forming, Finishing, & Firing with Donovan Palmquist

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.)

$37.97 — $42.97

Runtime: 1 hour 30 minutes

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…into an easy-to-digest process. He then shares his simple approach to decorating and how everything comes together for the 40 hour wood firing.



IMG_6022Influenced by British and Japanese folk pottery and fabricated metal pots such as tin teapots and storage caddies, Donovan shares his process for making two complex multi-part forms. First comes the tea caddy, a cube form that is thrown on the wheel and then stretched, altered, cut and assembled. Want a cube with more volume? No problem with a little bit of hot air!

In his teapot demonstration, Donovan covers all the details needed to create well balanced, functional and beautiful teapots in a very straightforward way. He explains how he typically works in a series, arranging parts, varying proportions, and making subtle changes to discover what works best. During his demonstration, he compares and contrasts several teapots, noting formal differences and analyzing what works and what doesn’t.


IMG_5768For Donovan, surface begins in the greenware stage, and he shares his simple yet dramatic carving technique on both the teapot and tea caddy. Using a bendable fettling knife, he makes bold cuts that create both dramatic and more subtle lines that the wood firing process accentuates. Donovan also shares a wax-resist and underglaze decoration technique that can work great in any type of firing. While most potters wipe off the beaded up underglaze that the wax resists, Donovan chooses to leave it, which creates a lovely dappled effect.


IMG_6062The video culminates in an interview with Donovan, in which he shares his insights into loading and firing to optimize the effects of the wood kiln. Discussing things such as the placement of pieces for optimal response to the flame path, types of wood, and kiln architecture, Donovan provides a good introduction into the wood firing process.

Bonus Features

Included in the bonus features are Donovan’s recipes and firing schedule.

About the Artist

IMG_5889Donovan Palmquist has been making pots for more than 30 years. Currently, he makes pots part-time and is the owner of Master Kiln Builders. He received his MFA in Ceramics at the University of Minnesota in 1988. He exhibits his work nationally, and has received numerous grants and awards. He has served on the Board of Directors at the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, and has taught at the Northern Clay Center and Anoka-Ramsey Community College. His primary interest is high-fire functional work, with a current focus on thrown and altered vessels in atmospheric (soda/salt and wood) firings. To learn more or see more images of his work, visit


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