Ceramics by the Sea Shore – Paper Kiln Firing
On the morning of the 26th of May we travelled up Banff Castle Grounds to set up for the paper kiln demonstration we would be doing that day. We began setting up at 10am and gathered interest from the public early on. We were joined by Phil from Gray’s School of Art, and began construction, by making two simple stick “teepees” on top of steel grates, which were tied at the top with string.
Once the framework was finished, the ceramic work made earlier was brought over and packed inside the stick teepees. The work was packed tightly amongst a variety of combustible materials, including sawdust, straw, sticks, seaweed, newspaper, animal droppings, tin cans, and tin foil and was a mixture of dried and pre-fired work.
Everyone got stuck in, with some very messy hands as a result of helping us finish the kilns by cladding the outside of the teepees with newspaper and magazine pages coated in liquid clay. The teepees were then placed on fires which had been lit earlier, making our presence felt.
The kilns caught quite quickly and the kilns started to smoke. Once the smoke had died down and flames started to shoot out of the top of the kilns we added salt and sugar to create different reduction glaze effects on the work. Finally we capped off the chimney on the top of the kilns and left them over night.
On Sunday we arrived, excited to open the kilns. We gathered a crowd and began to open the first kiln. Using a saw we carefully cut down the middle of the kiln to free the work inside. After this, we hunted through the pile of ash to find the pieces.