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With so many different firing techniques available to choose from, all with their own set of requirements, it can be difficult decide which is best for your work, or intimidating to experiment with a new one. High-temperature atmospheric firing techniques, like soda, salt, wood and reduction, can be the most challenging to learn because of the many variables involved. To help you get started with soda firing, we’ve put together Soda Firing Techniques, Tips and Soda Glaze Recipes as a free gift. Inside, you will find articles and images from Ceramics Monthly that demonstrate the exciting aesthetic possibilities with soda firing and share practical technical information, soda glaze recipes, atmospheric slip recipes, soda glazing techniques and tips for firing a soda kiln. Whether you’re looking for inspiration, investigating a new direction for surface techniques for your own ceramic art, or want some new tips and soda pottery glaze recipes to add to your repertoire, Soda Firing Techniques, Tips and Soda Glaze Recipes provides an excellent resource.

 

Here’s an excerpt from Soda Firing Techniques, Tips and Soda Glaze Recipes:

 

Painting with Fire

by Gail Nichols

 

Soda glazing was once hailed as an alternative to salt glazing, but has proven to be much more than that. The choice of vapor glazing is now primarily one of aesthetics, with soda’s potential extending far beyond that of imitation salt. A contemporary challenge is to explore what soda has to offer in its own right, and to set aesthetic directions for this new ceramic process.

 

For the Gail Nichols Soda Mix, add 9 U.S. fl. oz. of water per 1 lb. (600 ml of water per 1 kg) of dry mix. Wearing gloves, mix the dry ingredients thoroughly, then add the water all at once. Stir until the mixture begins to set, then break it into small pieces.

 

Light soda ash is required for the setting process. A wet mixture of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and calcium carbonate will not set; neither will a mixture using dense soda ash. Sodium bicarbonate is not an essential part of the soda source, but it makes the wet mixture less caustic. Sodium bicarbonate is also inexpensive and readily available in the supermarket or from a bakers’ supplier.

 

As this mixture breaks down in the heat of the flame, water vapor is released along with the vaporizing soda. Water vapor helps to carry the soda through the kiln chamber, enabling good glaze distribution and evidence of flame movement on the work. Water vapor also appears to assist with soda dissociation and glaze formation.

 

The choice of kaolin used in the Basic Soda Slip largely determines the color of the fired surface. Soda glaze quality is highly reliant on materials used, especially clay. It is important to become familiar with locally available clays and their responses to soda vapor. Developing and working with slips is a good place to start with such research.

 

 

HEALTH AND SAFETY PRECAUTIONS
Soda ash dust is an irritant to the nose, throat, and lungs. In combination with lime, it will form sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), which can cause alkaline burns. Wear impervious rubber gloves and a NIOSH (National Institutes for Occupational Safety and Health) approved respirator mask. Chemical safety goggles are recommended for eye protection, and long sleeves and trousers should be worn. These precautions apply to all preparation and handling stages for the calcium/sodium mix, including handling the firebox residue,
which is high in sodium hydroxide.

 

To read the rest of this article and the articles below, download your free copy of Soda Firing Techniques, Tips and Soda Glaze Recipes

 

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Soda Firing Techniques, Tips and Soda Glaze Recipes also includes the following articles:

 

 

 

 

 

More is More: Lorna Meaden
by Stephanie Lanter

 

Ceramic artist Lorna Meaden uses soda glazes and soda firing to accentuate her forms and slightly blur the inlaid slip patterns she uses to activate the surfaces.

 

 

 

Lisa Hammond: Intuited Grace
by Phil Rogers

 

Along with an analysis of her work, this profile of ceramic artist Lisa Hammond includes slip and cone 12 slip and glaze recipes for soda firing.

 

 

 

The Many Layers of Kiln Wash
by John Britt

 

Britt’s how-to article on kiln wash covers what it is, how it works, why it sometimes doesn’t work (and what to do about it), which kiln washes to use for soda firings and ways to avoid the image at left, the all too familiar flakes of kiln wash that drop onto your pieces and melt into glazes during the firing.

 

 

 

 

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About Ceramic Arts Daily:

 

Ceramic Arts Daily is a free online website and newsletter written and produced for the benefit of potters and ceramic artists worldwide. The newsletter features both renowned and emerging artists, their work, techniques and artistic perspectives. Regular features include tips and techniques designed to help every artist expand their skill set and widen their artistic horizons. Ceramic Arts Daily also delivers video tips, in which potters and ceramic artists demonstrate various projects and processes. Think of them as e-workshops!

 

Ceramic Arts Daily is designed to be interactive, inviting your comments and fostering a community in which each person can contribute to the growth of their own and others’ skills. You may be surprised at what you learn!

 

Ceramic artists on Ceramic Arts Daily know what ceramic art is all about – from functional pottery to abstract ceramic sculpture. This is about community. You’ll be drawn in by artists’ stories, inspired by their work and find confidence to try some of their techniques. With Ceramic Arts Daily, you’ll learn a little bit of everything. Then you can choose the techniques you enjoy the most to create something new!

 

So start today by downloading our free resource, Soda Firing Techniques, Tips and Soda Glaze Recipes. Then, get ready for Ceramic Arts Daily to introduce you to new artists and show you new techniques!


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