“My work is a collaboration between me, the clay, and the fire. I work with the clay’s inherent qualities to make objects that are complimented through the wood firing.” – Mark Peters, Pine Root Pottery
Other than getting to satisfy any pyromaniac tendencies you might have, another exciting facet of wood firing is the element of surprise. Experienced wood firing potters have the know-how to influence the outcomes of their firings, but there is still always some unpredictability when dealing with atmospheric firings. One of the beautiful and desired effects of firing in a wood kiln is flashing. Flashing is a color change in fired clay or slip due to direct flame contact and residual ash deposition in wood firing. In soda or salt firing it is a result of variable currents of vapor deposition. Flashing can occur on almost any light-colored claybody, but is most dramatic on porcelain bodies and slips. A flashing slip, like the one Mark uses on the bowl in the video, helps promote flashing effects in the firing. The bowl above has the Randy Johnston Flashing Slip on the outside and is a fine example of flashing effects that are possible. Note: Flashing slips are mainly used for atmospheric firings. If you fire in an electric kiln or in gas reduction, you should think about a glaze that breaks over the texture. Mark pairs the flashing slip with Temmoku glaze (an example is shown at right), a classic East Asian high-iron gloss glaze, which is black where thick and breaks to brown or red-brown where thin.
Mark eliminates the bisque firing, glazing at leather hard and single firing his work. If you have never tried single firing, be sure to do tests before committing an entire kiln load to the technique.