I recently ventured to Seattle for a long weekend workshop. After watching my good friend, Isaac Howard, develop and master his soda-firing techniques over the last year as a resident at Pottery Northwest, I jumped at the opportunity to participate in a workshop under his tutelage.
I can't begin to express how much I learned over the course of a few days--and I'm still thinking(and dreaming!) about it a week later. First, I'd never fired a gas kiln, so that was all new. Then, of course, I went into the class expecting it to be very much like wood-firing. As I loaded the kiln (my first time actively having control over the loading and stacking in this way, mind you), I had my experience watching the wood-kiln loaded tucked firmly in the back of my mind as a reference. Well, it turns out that while similar, the two methods of atmospheric firing are very different--which I better understood after the unload. Both methods require careful thought to pot shape and placement, however, stacks that would have created amazing marks in a wood-kiln, were disappointingly dry and blah in the soda-kiln (thus, the shard pile, pictured).
It was a grueling--and sweaty--couple of days with minimal sleep, thoughtful and crazy conversations, and an ever-expanding awareness and understanding of working with clay. And I have some mighty-fine pots to show for it, too.
Here are some pictures from the experience, and in my online shop you'll find the cream of the crop soda-fired pots available for shipping or pick-up now.
Ann Marie Cooper
Consumed by a love of clay.