Opening Day


All ready to be unloaded!

Last Wednesday Al and I went on a long-awaited getaway to Whistler but first there was the soda kiln unloading. He had to wait for me to do the important stuff!

One jugbird visible at the top.

When I arrived at the kilns Linda had already unloaded the Blaauw kiln and reloaded it with another batch of cone 10 reduction student work. By 10am most of the soda firing group had arrived. The kiln door was already open but the pots were still lightly warm, even though it was four days since we turned off the kiln.


We formed a chain and passed the pots outside to tables, amongst lots of oohs and aahs, trying to keep them organized by where they were in the kiln. I’ll just add my snapshots here, with captions, to give you an idea of our busy morning in the sunshine.

pots from the upper front shelves

lower front pots






Most people were pleased with the amount of soda, orange peel and colours. Some felt we’d actually let it get too hot – to cone 12 – and some felt there was perhaps too much reduction early on and therefore some grey surfaces. There were some impressive and unexpected finishes and lots to learn from each other.

David L scrutinizing…

Felicia and her big basket

Felicia’s huge basket with extra loopy decorations, made in dark clay with textured slip added on the walls, in Tony Clennell’s workshop, turned out to be rather spectacular.

David Lloyd had some charming little bowls made with coloured clays, Sharon Reay’s dragons appeared in scary fashion here and there and Danny Kostyshin retrieved several new tea bowls.








My pieces were mostly in the back section so I had to wait until we had cleaned and kiln-washed the shelves from the front before my pots were removed. Wearing mask, eye protecting goggles and gloves I scraped bubbles of melted glass from some shelves, and painted kiln wash on them. They are then left to dry and are ready for the next firing.

Back shelves

pots from the back shelves

Finally I was able to find all my pieces and arrange them together for a photo, but not before Linda Doherty had asked each of us to lend one piece for a display in the Shadbolt Centre. So one of my jugbirds will be there until September or so. I don’t plan to part with these pieces for a while anyway. I’ve waited so long to get them into a salt or soda firing, and I need to study the results. These ones are all dated 2016 underneath!

most of my pots

Jugbird left there.






By 11.30am, after helping with clean-up, I was allowed to leave, and I raced home to quickly show Al the pots and then we zoomed off to Whistler.

There is definitely a difference in the distribution of orange peel effects in soda compared with a salt firing. Thanks to Linda’s enthusiasm and her preference for generous soda application, we got lots of melting, but there are still characteristic dry areas and quite considerable difference in colour from one side to another. But, as I expected, I can learn to love that and am, in fact quite happy with my modest little collection of soda-fired pieces. There were a couple of re-fires of old work and four little egg-cup sized tests which I haven’t documented. But today Al has taken good photos of both sides of all the rest and I’ll show those in my next blog.

Meanwhile, Linda and Jay, thank you for including me in this recent soda firing and for arranging for the process to go so smoothly. It was really exciting and satisfying. I’LL BE BACK!




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