We have started an unofficial tradition of sharing both a clay project and an food recipe the day before Thanksgiving. So today I am posting an article from the Potters Kitchen section of the September/October issue Pottery Making Illustrated, which also happens to be a good fall project. In this post, Sumi von Dassow demonstrates how to make an apple baker, and also gives instruction on how to bake the apples once it’s done.- Jennifer Harnetty, editor.
Summer and Fall are perfect for experimenting with alternative firing techniques like barrel, pit, or raku firing. So for today’s video, I thought I would share a clip from Sumi von Dassow’s DVD Pit Firing and Burnishing. In this clip, Sumi shows some ways you can doctor up your pots before pit firing to get some magnificent marks.
In my neck of the woods, it’s the time of year when rhubarb starts peaking up through the cold ground. So when I saw Sumi von Dassow’s article on how to make a baker for rhubarb crisp going into the March/April 2013 issue of Pottery Making Illustrated, I knew I had to share it. In this post, Sumi demonstrates how she makes her lovely square baking dishes (that are great for any type of baked dessert – not just rhubarb!). Plus she shares a recipe for rhubarb crisp from the lovely Sarah Jaeger! – Jennifer Harnetty editor.
Terra sigillata means ‘sealed earth’ and comes from the name of a type of Roman pottery mass-produced around the first century AD. But the Romans copied the Greek technique used in their famous black and red pottery for hundreds of years before that. Here is a complete guide to making and applying terra sigillata, recipes, and troubleshooting.
Burnishing is the technique of polishing clay to a beautiful sheen without the use of glaze. Ancient potters used these techniques to produce their wares before glazes and kilns were developed. Today, modern potters use burnishing to create works of great beauty. Sumi von Dassow is one of those potters. She has been using low-tech pottery making techniques for more than thirty years. Though the burnishing technique is low tech, there are some secrets to really getting it right. In today’s post, Sumi shares her step-by-step method for burnishing pots.
Pit firing is an exciting firing process with roots in the earliest forms of pottery making. Burnishing is the technique of polishing clay without the use of glaze. Ancient potters used these techniques to produce their wares before glazes and kilns were developed; modern potters use pit firing and burnishing to create works of great beauty. In this video, Sumi von Dassow shares the methods of pit firing and burnishing that she has developed over the course of thirty years. You’ll learn how to prepare pots for firing, what materials and chemicals to use in the firing, and how to load and fire a pit.
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Because low-firing is the most basic of all ceramic techniques, it really treats all your senses. Using just about the lowest possible technical setting, you submit your work to flames and smoke giving you a sense of what the ancients felt when they used fire to create their primitive works. Both ancient cultures and contemporary potters have used low-firing to great effect, adding slips and burnishing pieces to create finishes not possible with any other firing method. Whether using an old garbage can, a pit in the ground, or a bonfire, low-firing is accessible to anyone with an outdoor space. Low-firing and Burnishing provides step-by-step practical information focusing on various approaches to low firing and methods for creating natural finishes.
Sumi von Dassow has been using the pit firing process for many many years and it shows in the amazing colors and surface effects on her pots. In today’s video, she shares some of the knowledge she has gained from her years of trial and error (and she shows some results from the firing!). So sit back and learn how to choose
combustibles and load them into your pit for maximum effect.
It’s summer and time to throw some pots on the barbecue! Yes indeed, your trusty old Weber grill, the little round one on three legs that you might have left sitting in your garage when you upgraded your outdoor kitchen, can have a second life as a mini-kiln. If you don’t have a kiln but still want to fire some pots—or you have an electric kiln but you’d like to do some smoke-firing without digging a fire-pit in your yard or alarming the neighbors too much—the grill is a surprisingly versatile alternative.
Sumi von Dassow is an expert on alternative firing techniques as well as an accomplished ceramics instructor and seasoned writer. Her latest book and DVD give you all the information you need to pick up many exciting low-tech pottery techniques.