[Clayart] sawdust instead of straw in primitive kiln

Robert Harris robertgharris at gmail.com
Mon Apr 4 18:44:33 UTC 2022

Agree with everything you say David. We (read : ME) should all be a bit
more willing to see and embrace the beauty (sometimes unconventional) in
our experiments, even when they don't come out the way they were meant to
in our head.

I've never thought of myself as either a perfectionist, or a pessimist, but
I am definitely one of those people that in no way subscribes to the "a
kiln opening is like Christmas" philosophy. I'm pretty much permanently
grumpy and disappointed during a kiln opening. But once I've put the pots
away for a few days (or had them sitting in the corner where I can look at
them), I actually realise they're not nearly as bad as I thought in the

(And sometimes a favorite pot from a firing goes the opposite way!)


On Mon, 4 Apr 2022 at 05:26, David Woof <woofpots at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Spot on Robert,
> I would add that sculptural work "can" display interesting surfaces due to
> the pitted
> nature of the sawdust burnout.
> Judicious staining "may" also work to enliven the pitted raw surface.
> As will subsequent "possibly" masked and glazed areas in subsequent
> firing. (Multiple firings perhaps)
> Sometimes it's better not to know anything, and have serious fun with the
> risked outcome. Trip over our own egos and tumble into Ceramic Wonderland.
> Ask Alice when she's 10 feet tall.
> Misneach,
> Woof
> ********************************************************************
> ________________________________
> From: Clayart <clayart-bounces at lists.clayartworld.com> on behalf of
> Robert Harris <robertgharris at gmail.com>
> Sent: Friday, April 1, 2022 10:01 PM
> To: Clayart international pottery discussion forum <
> clayart at lists.clayartworld.com>
> Subject: Re: [Clayart] sawdust instead of straw in primitive kiln
> I've put sawdust in clay. Biggest problem is that it caused serious
> pinholing in the glazes. Otherwise it fired just fine.
> Obviously it depends how much you put in! (My aim was to produce a piece
> with enough air gaps that it would provide insulation for hot drinks,
> didn't really work).
> We also wad all of the posts in our kiln, even in a regular reduction
> firing, and we use sawdust (about 25-30% by weight which is probably >60%
> by volume), makes the wadding just crumble right off.
> Not sure what your aim is, by adding sawdust.
> The long fibers in paper help stabilise the clay, but sawdust won't provide
> that.
> On Fri, 1 Apr 2022 at 11:29, Carolyn Curran <cncpots2 at gmail.com> wrote:
> > My inarticulate bad.   Sorry I confused you.  I intended to add  sawdust
> > IN  the clay body along with vermiculite or perlite and grog...sort of a
> > paper clay situation, since straw and sawdust both  have cellulose.  I
> > would probably wet it so there won't be particles flying through air.
> > With my  COPD and chronic bronchitis,  I  don't think I'd play with a
> > sawdust firing, although we have a trash can with holes here that was
> > probably used in that way.  (Heck,  I only use   non toxic iiquid
> > combustibles  for any raku..have a bottle of
> > high test  Everclear booze for the purpose, use sparingly at bottom of
> > combustion chamber..  I have had great success with the alcohol with
> small
> > scale work in  old Aim test kiln with one vase almost 8" tall which was
> > super unique in  subtle coloration. It is still a  big favorite.
>  Carolyn)
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