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Finished work at Guldagergaard

I have really enjoyed my month at Guldagergaard. In my final weeks I fired the Speedy soda kiln again and took part in firing the anagama. This was a three day firing where we each took a six hour shift. My shift was 6am to 12 noon on the final day. We stoked the kiln every time the temperature started to drop. The front of the kiln near the firebox was much hotter than the back of the kiln, so we tried holding the temperature steady for several hours to bring the back up to temperature. By around 2 am the firing team eventually got the back to cone 9 and the front to cone 11 and sealed up the kiln. After that, we kept the kiln in reduction by stoking with a few sticks of wood every 15 minutes until the following afternoon. The cooling took around five days and we couldn’t unpack the kin until minutes before I had to leave to catch my flight back to London. I’m looking forward to seeing the results.

Firing the anagama

I took some photos of my finished pieces outside the studio at Guldagergaard. These pieces were inspired by the lichens growing on trees and rocks around the studio. Guldagergaard means Gold Acre Farm and it used to be an apple orchard before becoming the International Centre for Ceramic Research. These pieces were fired in the Bourry box train kiln and the Speedy soda kiln. The large pieces are made from Scandinavian stoneware and the smallest pieces are English porcelain.

Wood fired pieces inspired by lichens
My piece for the Guldagergaard collection
One of my favourite wood fired pieces
an anagama fired piece
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Wood firing at Guldagergaard

I am now midway through my residency at Guldagergaard. We had a busy week firing two of the wood kilns. Ana, a Spanish artist and I got up early and started the fire at 5am. The pyrometer wasn’t working so we had no idea how quickly the temperature was rising, although we could see an orange glow inside the kiln. When the wood firing technicians arrived at 9am and put in a new thermocouple, we were amazed to find we had already reached 1100°C, a very fast increase in temperature indeed, so we were lucky that nothing had cracked. We had to let the temperature drop to 1000°C to do body reduction by adding hardwood, closing the dampers and restricting the air intake for an hour.

Firing the Speedy soda kiln

When we reached 1280°C Ollie the wood firing technician sprayed in a solution of soda ash in water. The soda reacts with the silica and alumina in the clay to produce a glossy glaze. We soaked the kiln at top temperature for several hours to even out the temperature between the top and bottom of the kiln. Ollie sprayed soda again and we finally put in more wood and closed up the kiln so that the glazes would be in reduction.

Ollie spraying soda
Glaze results

The next day we fired the Bourry box train kiln. This is a slightly larger kiln that encourages effects from wood ash falling and melting on the pots and flames from the burning wood flashing the surface orange.

Cones 8,9,10

The results were much more matt and crusty where wood ash and embers had fallen onto the pots.

Cone 8 and lichen effect glazes

I was very happy with some of the results but surprised by some of the glaze colours that had changed owing to the effects of reduction. My mustard yellow glaze turned black and my dark green lichen glaze turned blue-green.

The Bourry box train kiln
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Residency at Guldagergaard

I am a week into my month long residency at Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Centre in Skaelskor, Denmark. There are several artists in residence here and new potters coming every week to attend workshops and wood firings.


I have been trying out a variety of grogged and flecked stoneware clays and making test pieces to fire next week in a wood kiln. I am using an Australian Venco wheel with a wireless Bluetooth pedal. The studio space is very well equipped with a glaze room, drying cupboard, mould making and slipcasting rooms as well as electric kilns.

Glaze room

I have also taught a special effect glazes workshop where we made a range of lichen, lava, oilspot, crackle, gloop and metallic glazes.

Lichen effect glazes

Thank you to the Making Waves Trust for providing me with a grant.