Smoke firing in a pit

Been slow here as I’ve been busy with a myriad of other things, including estimates for two design jobs, hosting dinner for the family, finishing the basement (with salvaged materials) and moving more things from the old studio space downtown, including the kilns.

The electric kiln is mostly loaded for a bisque, including more small storm sculptures, parts of what will be an abstract figure for a lobby space at an Oklahoma college and some Christmas tree ornaments the wife and I have been toying around with. The derelict gas kiln I salvaged a few years ago was put to use for the first time yesterday in a smoke firing. It worked great for this, which is good because I’ve had a hard time finding metal trash cans which is what folks usually use for this kind of firing.

Didn’t try anything too much fun using just newspaper, small pieces of salvaged wood (mostly lath from the kitchen wall), a little sawdust and a few leaves. Since everything worked so well I’ll be adding some flashing slips and other more interesting objects in the future. As well as roasting marshmallows over the heat.

The most interesting thing yesterday were speckles on some of the objects (see last image in following gallery), something I did not get in an electric smoke firing.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

2 Responses to Smoke firing in a pit

  1. Pingback: Smoke firing in a pit | Paul Nielsen :: Mixed media sculptor

  2. scott says:

    I would not roast any marshmellows over the firing as the chemicals in the pit/can are not suitable to cook over. the smoke can be hazzardous to you coming of the firing depending on what you put in ,on or around you ceramics.

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