Wood fired pottery

The shape of the jugs that we make and the patterns on the stamps that we use are based on 13th Century pottery found in and around the area of York. We fire with wood as medieval potters would have done but to a much higher temperature. Firing to stoneware temperatures makes our pottery much stronger and allows us to use glazes that are more natural and subtle in colour.

There are many good reasons for firing with wood, a major one being that it is more environmentally sound. Wood firing only returns the carbon dioxide to the air that was taken when growing the trees in the first place and for further environmental reasons we use as much waste wood as possible.

Firing ceramics in an electric kiln just melts glazes at a set temperature. Wood firing is a much more natural process in which the potter is more physically involved in the firing. We have built a fast fire kiln and stoke the fireboxes over thirteen hours. At high temperatures there is an interaction in the kiln between the glazes and the clay body and the gases produced by combustion. Wood ash forms a natural glaze by itself at high enough temperatures. We fire to 1260°C and leave areas of the pot unglazed to show the warm body colour that can only be produced by wood firing.

Recently we have begun to experiment with a new clay body, terracotta crank. This iron rich clay is taking our work in a new direction. We are looking to fire at lower temperatures and are more interested in the interaction happening between the glazes, kiln atmosphere and surface of the clay.