Friday, 26 April 2013

New texture and a new saggar

Yesterday I bought four kiln shelves, some shelf supports, a saggar and some shelf off-cuts to act act as fire-grate bars in my mini wood kiln. Everything apart from the saggar was second-hand, and I had the kiln shelves cut to shape so that three of them can become the roof of the kiln and the firebox. Remains to be seen whether they crack..they're not really designed to be used in that way.

Here's the new saggar, it's just deep enough to contain three to four cups, but hopefully it will last for many firings. The top should be perfectly even so, provided the shelf is flat, it should make an air-tight seal, although it doesn't matter if a bit of oxygen gets in:

In the old days in Stoke-on-Trent, every bottle kiln used saggars to protect the ware from smoke and debris, and they were two a penny, practically disposable. Now the ceramics industry has declined and technology has moved on, they are as rare as hen's teeth..and as far as I know, no company makes them in the UK any more.

Playing around with rough textures again too..this is the latest concoction:

The clay is only half-dried in this photo. Not sure how it will fire (that is to say, whether bits will erupt and fall off!), but at the moment it makes me think of toad skin.

And finally, I took a picture of these pots mainly so I can remember which glaze I put on them. This is a matt ash glaze with an addition of rutile:

I can't wait to see what colours these will fire to, in oxidation and reduction. One of them will be fired in the smokeless wood kiln in Sheffield next week and the other two in the electric kiln.


  1. How exciting that you are able to use various firing methods! I used to do sagger-firing when I was not able to use a gas kiln. It was amazing! One thing I have always loved, but I have never had a chance to try is a wood kiln. I envy you! Looking forward to your firings! : )

  2. Thank you, Midori. It is exciting, I kind of enjoy the complexity and variety! Both saggar firing and wood firing are so unpredicatable..when the pots are good they can be amazing, and when bad, really really bad, ha! :)

  3. Hi Mark,
    Where did you get your saggar? I'm in the UK but am having trouble tracking one down? I love your pots by the way, they're quite inspirational.

    1. Hi, thank you for the kind words. I bought this saggar from a firm in Stoke; Acme Batt Co, run by Walter Brayford. These were a one off batch, only available in this size. He may or may not have more in stock. Tel: 07817 040971.

    2. Thanks very much for getting back to me so quickly. I'll give them a bell and see if they've got anything that might work for me.

      Keep up the good work!