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  • Writer's pictureEfthimios Sifounios

The Procedure of Firing Pottery

Firing pottery is the process of heating ceramics to high temperatures in order to harden and strengthen them. The process also causes chemical changes in the clay body, making it more durable and resistant to water and other elements. There are two main types of firing methods: low-fire and high-fire. Low-fire pottery is heated to temperatures between 1,800 and 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit, while high-fire pottery is heated to temperatures between 2,300 and 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Low-fire pottery is typically used for earthenware and terra cotta items, while high-fire pottery is used for porcelain and stoneware. The higher the firing temperature, the more durable and chip-resistant the pottery will be. The process of firing pottery begins with the creation of the piece. Potters will typically shape the clay using a variety of techniques, such as throwing on a wheel, hand building, or using molds. Once the piece is shaped and has had time to dry, it is ready to be fired.




Firing Ceramics
Firing Pottery

Before firing, potters will often glaze their pieces. Glaze is a glass-like coating that is applied to the surface of the clay. It not only adds color and shine, but also protects the pottery from water and other elements. Glaze is typically made from a mixture of clay, feldspar, and silica. The firing process itself can be done in a variety of ways, including using a kiln, pit firing, or raku firing. Kilns are the most common method of firing pottery, and come in many different sizes and types. Once the pottery is fired, it is cooled and removed from the kiln. This process is crucial, as the pottery is still brittle and can easily break. Once cooled, the pottery is ready to be used or sold. Overall, firing pottery is a crucial step in the process of creating ceramics. It not only hardens and strengthens the clay, but also adds color, shine, and durability to the final product. It is an ancient art form that still holds a special place in modern day society. Firing pottery is an essential step in the ceramic process, as it transforms the clay body into a hard, durable material that can withstand everyday use. The firing process also causes chemical changes in the clay, making it more resistant to water, heat and other elements. There are several different types of firing methods, each with their own unique characteristics. Low-fire pottery, also known as earthenware, is fired at temperatures between 1,800 and 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit. This type of pottery is typically used for decorative items such as vases, bowls and plates. High-fire pottery, also known as stoneware, is fired at temperatures between 2,300 and 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. This type of pottery is typically used for functional items such as kitchenware, as it is more durable and chip-resistant than earthenware. Another type of firing is called Raku firing, which uses a special type of kiln that allows for the pottery to be removed from the kiln while it is still glowing hot. This allows for a unique and varied surface finish, and also allows for the use of alternative materials in the glaze.

There are also pit-firing methods, which involves burying the pottery in a pit filled with combustible materials such as sawdust, straw, or leaves. The pit is then covered and the pottery is fired by the heat generated by the burning materials. This method can create unique and unpredictable surface designs on the pottery. In addition to these firing methods, there are also various types of kilns that can be used to fire pottery. Electric kilns are the most common type, but gas and wood-fired kilns are also used. Each type of kiln has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of kiln will depend on the type of pottery being fired and the desired final result.

Finally, it's important to note that firing pottery is a delicate process that requires a great deal of skill and knowledge. Potters must carefully monitor the temperature, timing, and atmosphere inside the kiln to ensure that the pottery is fired properly and that the final result is of high quality. In summary, firing pottery is a crucial step in the process of creating ceramics. It not only hardens and strengthens the clay, but also adds color, shine, and durability to the final product. With various firing methods and kilns, potters can create a wide range of ceramic pieces that are both beautiful and functional.


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