How to do a Pit-Firing

This is the sort of thing you can easily do in your own backyard (subject to local council regulations of course). It’s a simple firing technique used in many ancient cultures across the globe and popular with potters today.

Difficulty Level: easy      Time Required: half a day

Here’s How:

  1. Dig a pit of the appropriate size, depending on the amount of work to be fired.
  2. Place a bed of dry leaves and twigs and possibly coal, which will burn slowly, at the bottom of the pit
  3. Place the pottery on top of this.
  4. Carefully sprinkle oxides and carbonates around the pieces (particularly copper carbonate), which volatilize and result in flashes of color appearing on the fired work.
  5. Cover the work with more leaves, twigs and dung (if available), building up a mound over the pieces.
  6. Once the stacking process is finished, light the pile around the edges and leave to smolder for several hours, or until the next day.
  7. Towards the end of the burning process, bury the pit in earth or sand, which will cut off the oxygen supply and create a strong reducing atmosphere inside the mound.
  8. Allow the kiln to cool overnight and open the next day.
  9. Remove excess scum with a wire brush under a running tap.


  1. Additions of grog or volcanic ash ‘open up’ the clay and make it more resistant to heat shock.
  2. The best color results can be achieved with iron bearing, or red clays.
  3. Bisque firing the work first helps to prevent shattering and cracking.

A Day Off…

Finally A whole day off. I am going to play around with 3D then retreat to the basement where it’s cool and mix some glazes 🙂 It’s going to be record highs today near 100 with heat index feeling like 110. I don’t know I think they just invented a way to make it more dramatic for ratings. I mean it’s like saying 60 is the new 40. No it’s not! 60 is 60 and 40 is 40 WTF. 100 degrees feels like 100 degrees. hot. muggy. stifling. I love it!

Sprint… FYI

I always loved Sprint but switched to AT&T in order to get the iPhone. I have been less than impressed with the iPhone and had decided to switch back to Sprint. I phoned Sprint and got my account set up and all ready to switch back only to fail the identity theft screening question. Apparently I am not who I say I am….

I find it more than a little hard to accept that while I have excellent credit Sprint would decline me because I don’t know the year of a Subaru I owned 10 years ago. I mean I don’t even know the year of my current Saturn.

And while I know my father is in his 70’s  I am not sure of his exact age and two of the multiple choice options had 70’s so I may have guessed wrong.

And then when asked which of the 4 streets I lived on my answer was none of the above and the woman asked several times… my answer still being none of the above which tells me Sprint has some bad information since I know I am who I say I am.

Sprint needs to find a better way of screening people against identity theft if they think I am not me… Sprint failed the test, not me. But I am told they can try again in 60 days.

Oh and you can bet I am posting this everywhere… Twitter, Facebook, blog…everywhere!

Last I checked,
Mary Murphy

By bluedawg Design Posted in Rants