Soft, cool, sensual clay, and dancing fire. If this is your jam, come join us! Sound like fun? We promise you it is!
Pit firing is the oldest known method for the firing of pottery. Examples have been dated as early as 29,000–25,000 BCE. The continued interest in pit firing, despite the many advances in ceramic technology, is twofold. Fire is fascinating, setting it up and tending to it stirs something deep in our beings. Secondly, the coloration and patterns that occur as a result of the burning of various substances and smoke are always unique and couldn’t happen any other way. We will use wood shavings, coffee grounds, and various other materials to encourage coloration on the pots. Dried banana peels, corn husks, seaweed, etc. are all wonderful. Feel free to bring burnable organic materials (nothing plastic or caustic). It just needs to be very dry and combustible.
This 4-day workshop for making and firing ceramic work for pit firing will take place at the Toshiko Takaezu Ceramic Studios and property, which includes a beautiful garden and welcoming studio space. It will take place over two consecutive weekends.
First weekend / June 4 & 5:
Day 1: Making pots suitable for pit firing, using the techniques of pinch, coil, and slab. Characteristics of pit-fired work will be presented along with pertinent historical background. We will complete anywhere from 4-12 pieces.
Day 2: We will burnish and apply terra sigillatta to the pieces we made on Day 1. We will also talk about various surface treatments and decorating options. If there is time, we will make a few more pieces or try other decorative ideas depending on the desires of the class.
Second weekend / June 11 & 12:
Day 1: Finish surface decoration and prepare pieces for firing. Load the pit kiln/s and begin the firing.
Day 2: Unload the pit kiln, wash and wax the finished pieces. Share and discuss work followed by a celebratory feast of lunch.
Masks and proof of vaccination are required for this workshop.
Above image: Karin Abromaitis, part of Delphic Landscapes series. Students will create similar colors and color patterns in their own pieces.
Images below courtesy of Mechtild Bitter, a student in a previous iteration of this workshop.