Wood and Soda Fired Pottery

A New Soda Kiln

Back from the two-week stay at Penland, a little tired but mostly unharmed. Another Shane Mickey kiln now resides in Mitchell County, built with the help of several students. I was there to assist Shane and in the two weeks we built a modest sized soda kiln and fired it twice with the work made by students in the class.

The first firing of any kiln is an adventure, and a cross draft soda kiln can be especially tricky. With so many variables to balance, many a first firing turns out more ‘learning experience’ than nice pots. Different clay bodies and slips and glazes, how much reduction and how to read it, unmapped soda zones….

Our first firing was surprisingly successful, with the proper cones down in the proper places, ‘good’ reduction and soda coverage throughout the kiln. We unloaded in the morning and loaded up round two the same evening. We had another good firing the second time, lightened up the reduction just a bit and increased the soda amount which resulted in more flashing of the slips and clays and more hints of the icy gray soda. Both firings lasted only 12-13 hours, credit due to Shane’s design and the experienced firing crew.

We all wish ‘Lucille’ the very best, she’ll have an exciting few weeks. With the bricks still warm, a visiting artist was getting ready to start the third firing right after we unloaded with more firings to follow in the coming weeks.

One Response to “A New Soda Kiln”

  1. Emma Chan says:

    Dear Sirs

    I am a clayor in hongkong and have been firing my work in electric kiln. I have some experience in firing the soda kiln in jingdezhen with a group of pottery friends. I want to build a small soda kiln, probably 2x2x2 cu ft, would you please give me some suggestions? Thanks
    Emma Chan