pottery with some form of sodium is an ancient technique.
You may have seen blue and gray beer steins from Germany or
the brown and tan bean pots of colonial America. Sodium in
the soda and silica in the clay body form a thin, fluid glaze
over the surface of the clay. Contemporary potters use sodium
to achieve many decorative effects from heavy orange peel
on stoneware to a mat orange blush of flame on porcelain.
is the unpredictable nature of this method of firing and glazing
that I find so exciting. Each load is different. This creates
different patterns of circulation for the soda vapors to travel
on through the kiln and around the pots. The endless possibilities
and surprises presented by each load suggest new ideas for
form and decoration. Magical!
When the kiln gets just under 2300 degrees, a soda and water
solution is sprayed into the kiln through several access holes.
When about half of the soda has been sprayed in, I will remove
a draw ring to check on the soda build up. When I am satisfied
with the draw rings and how the pots look through the spy
holes the firing is finished up and gas turned off. Now I
can hardly wait to open the door and see all the magic the
soda performed -well worth the two day wait.