Most of the work at Flying Plumtree Studio is fired in a propane fueled kiln. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to also participate in wood firings at River Song Kiln in nearby Plano, Illinois. In a wood firing, ash from the burnt fuel circulates freely in the kiln and is deposited on the pottery, creating unique, and, at times, unexpected effects.
Some of the pots I put in the wood firings are glazed with my studio glazes. The fly ash combines with the glazes often resulting in dramatic flashing and color modulations. I also leave some of the pots unglazed in which case the melted ash results in striking variations of surface and color that enhance the texture of the clay. It is a fascinating process that demands I surrender a degree of control to the kiln and flames. I like to think of it like kayaking on a river. I might choose the direction, but the flame, like the river determines the pathway. When looking at wood fired pots, take the time to imagine how the flames have danced and wrapped themselves around the piece, leaving their own touch upon the surface..