Scottish Potters Alternative Firing Workshop

Last weekend I attended a great weekend workshop on Alternative Firing Techniques organised by Scottish Potters at Springfield Arts in Arbroath.

The workshop was delivered by American potter Marcia Selsor. I thought I’d share some of my results from the techniques I tried. It was great to try so many different approaches. I thought I’d like Obvara most but actually preferred saggar firing. There are definitely techniques I want to try again and experiment with, just need to get a Raku kiln… Planning to bring some of these pieces to Potfest Scotland to make this a reality!



I didn’t have a lot of success with this technique but I think more a textured surface would have improved my results.









Saggar Firing

This was my favourite method. I love rhubarb and can’t believe it gave such a strong colour on the pot, close up it has an almost metallic sheen. The close fitting saggar gave the best results, I used two old bisque bowls which had a snug fit. The saggar I made, which was cylindrical didn’t do much, producing a very subtle ombré effect.

Foil Saggar

These pots also came out with very interesting surfaces. Stronger concentrations gave much better results. The good thing about all of these techniques is that you can easily refire and start with an (almost!) blank canvas.

This is something I want to explore a lot more. The seaweed I added gave a lovely soft gray colour. Very smooth burnished surfaces came out best here.





Horsehair and Feather

This was great fun and definitely a case of go minimal for best results, in my opinion. I couldn’t quite get the feathers to look as good as I wanted them to but the horsehair (from a Clydesdale) worked really well. Getting the pot to the right temperature was key for good results, too hot and the hair/feather sizzled uncontrollably. I’d like to work on this more and get more control of the results.

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