Woodfiring is the oldest and most labor intensive process of making clay pots. Many different kinds of wood kilns have been used and developed over the years. The process begins as each shelf and pot is loaded into the kiln on top of "wadding", a substance made of materials that resist the ash. This helps to prevent the pots from fusing with the shelves.
Next, a small fire is kindled in the mouth of the kiln. Temperature is gained slowly to avoid cracking the pots. As the flame heats the chamber, minerals and salts from the wood travel on the ash through the kiln, landing randomly on the pots. When the kiln reaches temperatures above 2000 degrees F., the ash melts, leaving a natural glaze. In addition, the flame licks the pots, creating flashing marks. After maintaining the high temperature for a period ranging from several hours to several days, all of the kiln openings are closed up and the waiting begins. Cooling can also take several days. After the kiln has cooled, the moment finally arrives..it is opened and the wonders of the clay, fire, and ash are revealed.
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