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Discussion Starter #1
Thanks Floramum and Wisconsin Ann for the encouragement to start a thread on open-fired pottery. Basically it is pottery made from low-fire clay and fired in nothing more elaborate than a ground fire. You don't need any special equipment. I don't have pics handy but I will try to get some in the next couple of days. I do have an article online though with more specifics on the process. You can read it at:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/94624/anita_cheek_moon.html

I would love to discuss this pottery form further and either find others that are already doing it or encourage someone to try it out :)
 

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I'm glad you started it too. Something I've always been interested in. Thanks for the link! Hope to have time later today to actually read the article. Pics would be great.
 

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Happy Scrounger
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Nice article :) I'm enjoying rooting around the entire site!

We have an entire hill of clay on our farm. There are two variations....1)top layer, clay with nice body sand in it, and some soil. 2)4 feet down is a layer of almost pure clay. It's green when dug up. Definately workable. i've done some hand building with it. nice earthenware.

I've been wanting to build a pit fire type for some time. I experimented a few years ago with simple kiln building (as in: build a fire inside a brick square, put pots over it, cover with bricks.).

The technique you describe is something I could really enjoy. I agree with you that purifying the clay was something that wouldn't always happen. If you find a good clay pit, the clay is there...ready to use. Last year I was helping someone else make a glass melting kiln by taking clay from the riverbank, and building it up like a beehive. then fireing inside it to harden. Worked really well, and I see no reason you couldn't make pots, cups, bowls, etc. with the same "grab it and build it".

Okay. darn it. You've put the match to the fire, so to speak. I've got clay. i've got a remote area that I can build as big a fire as I like, and I've got the time. WHEEeeee. Gonna try it this weekend. okay..maybe monday.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I had intended to include a picture with the article but it didn't get done... I'm looking forward to seeing your results and hope that more people will give open firing a shot. Just remember to go slowwwwwww on the heating process. I'll try and work on getting some pictures tomorrow.
 

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I've been wanting to try the pit firing from my own dug clay, Plenty of wood around here, just have to dig a hole and probably sacrifice some of my green bowls. I've been told the larger items will most likely crack, of course I will have to see for myself anyway . Last winter I did fire some of my home dug clay to cone 6 with good results. I would be interested to hear your results in Wisconsin. If you want to swap clay sometime let me know. I live near the quad citiesabout an hour and a half from Dubuque, or 4 hours from Madison.
 

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I can't wait to show my son this. He has been planning to build a wood fired kiln - of course at our house. I will give him this info. Can't wait to hear more.
Joanie
 

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Wow, I did this on a small scale this summer (very small) when I made a tiny bowl from clay just on the ground and plopped it in a stump that we were burning. I have been interested for a long time in cookware used in open fires.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Starting small is the way to build up confidence to do the bigger stuff. Even just doing a couple of beads will give you an idea of the process. If you do have bigger stuff already made and you are willing to accept some morts though go for it! Just go real slow on the drying process and moving it into the fire process. The key is to keep it evenly heated all the way around. Some people even build a fire in a circle around a piece then slowly move it in towards the pot and eventually all the way over it.
 

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Happy Scrounger
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If it EVER stops raining here I'm still going to give this a try. The ground is so soggy now that if I dig a hole, I have a pool immediately. :( supposed to be dry for a couple days now, (rain tuesday, but only spotty thunderstorms forecast) so maybe I can try it out this week :)
 
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