Saggar Fired Work

Many hours are spent on each vessel, burnishing the almost-dry clay with a pebble to produce a sheen which is further enhanced by the subtle colours absorbed in the saggar firing.  No glaze is used, but a coating of beeswax helps protect the surface.

The kiln is heated to a top temperature of 1260°C, and the kiln door is then opened to cool it quickly to about 1100°C.  Over the next few hours a controlled cooling programme takes place, and this is when the crystals grow in the glaze.

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Concentrating on domestic/decorative ware my main influences are David & Margaret Frith, John Jelfs, Lisa Hammond & Jim Malone.​

Recently I have been producing more individual pieces for galleries and exhibitions using a variety of clays.

I am always working on new ideas and  experimenting with different glazes and effects, resulting in beautiful traditional ceramics with a contemporary twist.

I studied stone carving in the 60’s & started teaching art in 1977. I began potting in 1980 & am largely self taught except for two courses with David Frith in Wales.

As a change of direction this year however, I intend to make some oxidised high fired earthenware in order to experiment with a brighter colour range.

I make domestic and decorative stoneware pottery using the traditional techniques of hand moulding and the potter’s wheel.

I originally specialised in sprig ware for tourist outlets and for commemorative work, later expanding my items to include domestic ranges and gift ware.

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Tony Wells: Stoneware & Earthenware

Jill Ford: Ceramics

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The resulting colours and markings often suggest landscape features – above or below water, or even from another planet.  I sometimes wrap copper wire around the pot, which leaves lines of brown, green, black, or even raised ‘beads’ burnt into the surface.  Mosaic wall pieces are also available in this style.

For the crystals to grow, the glazes must be very fluid, and this can result in the colours mingling as they run down the pot, giving an individual finish to every piece.  The glaze can run over the edge of the pot, in which case it is ground down to a smooth finish.

I hand build each piece of work using coils of clay which are then smoothed to form tactile, organic forms.  These are often based on shapes/shadows in the landscape glimpsed or half remembered. 

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Gerry Grant: Ceramics


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All the pots are fired to a temperature of 1280C, making them ovenproof, dishwasher proof and microwave safe.

The use of a gas kiln in the final firing produces glazes of rich and vibrant colours and textures.

I produce a collection of statement porcelain vases and bowls thrown on the wheel from fine white porcelain.
Surfaces are pierced and stretched to create masses of ridged holes, inspired by sketches of barnacle shells and coastal rock formations. Smaller pieces include bowls and mugs for a touch of everyday luxury.

I also use porcelain to make textural wall pieces representing areas of beautiful woodland across the East Riding and coastline. I welcome commissions of places of special personal importance ideal for birthdays and anniversaries.

A saggar is a ceramic container, traditionally used in production pottery to protect the surface of the domestic ware from the dirty atmosphere in the kiln.  I use it in the opposite way – to produce a local atmosphere around the pot with combustible and colouring materials which will volatilise and impart their colour to the ceramic surface.

The bisque fired pot is placed in the saggar - which may be a ceramic lidded vessel, or simply crumpled aluminium foil - together with wood shavings (or other combustible material), salts and oxides.  This is then placed in the kiln.  I use my raku kiln, which is fired by propane.  It is heated quickly to about 800-900°C, and then left to cool.  The combustible material burns, causing the areas of the pot that have been in contact with it to blacken.

If you fancy learning a new skill - Jill runs regular workshops and throwing lessons at her pottery in Ellerton.​​

Crystalline Glazed Ware

The ‘hedgerow series’ of crystalline glazed work is based on plants and landscape features.  The porcelain clay is rolled on a board, and then leaves or seed heads are rolled into the clay to leave an impression.  With the ‘wall’ pots, individual pieces of porcelain are applied to ‘build’ a drystone wall border. The vessel is formed either by wrapping one piece of clay into a cylinder, or joining two pieces at the sides.  Another slab of clay is used for the base.  When dry, the pots are bisque fired.

Several different glazes are then painted on to the pot to simulate the lush vegetation that grows in an early summer hedgerow.  Occasional bright spots of colour suggest flowers.

I have experimented with saggar firing for over 10 years, and continue to do so with each firing.  Although I have some control in how the finished piece will look, the fire has the final word!

My work is reduced stoneware, glazed with poured multiple classic glazes such as Tessha & Temmoku.


  This page: Ceramics

                   Barbara Wood

                   Jill Ford

                   Gerry Grant

                   Tony Wells

Barbara Wood: Saggar Fired Work & Crystalline Glazed Ware

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