Smoke Firing

Smoke firing is an ancient firing method used to fire ceramics. Before kilns, smoke firing would have been one of the few options to fire ceramics, as well as decorate them with smokey designs. I loved the simplicity of the smoke firing process, as it reflected the heritage experiences I immersed myself in for my final year project at the University of Brighton.

After researching the various methods of smoke firing, I began to investigate sagger pot firing. Sagger firing involves sealing the crafted ceramic objects within a vessel and by added materials like sawdust, salt, banana skins etc. to the vessel. The firing then burns the organic material inside and leaves the smoke to colour the pieces within. 

For my experiments, I made my own sagger pots of different sizes to fill the bowls I had been experimenting with. Each pot was filled with various organic material I found on my journeys: Seaweed, Leaves, Cuttlefish Bones and Driftwood. I chose not to completely seal the lid to the pot, in order to experiment with the amount of smoke in each vessel. I placed my sagger Pots in an outdoor Raku firing which reached 950 degrees.

This was my first experience with smoke firing and I loved the final results!

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