I was recently inspired to do a pit firing after seeing Claire Lockwood’s wonderful bead results.
I organised a group of my daughter’s friends and their parents to come along and make some pinch pots for the pit! We had a great day making raku clay pots and ‘things’ in our half constructed house. I had set up a tressle table (actually my other half had set it up) made up of saw horses, plywood and bits of hardwood, that were still waiting to go into the house construction.
Everything was bisque fired to about 1000oc. The pit was dug and materials collected. It was a beautiful still day and we fired for about 3 hours adding wood every so often. I think this maybe unnecessary as I have seen other people just load up the pit with wood and let it burn down, I will try that next time around. Corrugated iron was placed over the top after 3 hours and left for a day. I did have to scoop out some hot coals the next day as they were still near the top of the pit (closed it off a bit too soon I think). I then recovered it with iron and left it until the following afternoon.
We uncovered the pit and had no breakages…yay!! I did lose a couple of beads in the coals :(.
Here are some of my results, pretty pleased with how they came out. The beads don’t have as much red or green flashing as I would like. They were buried into the sawdust a little more than the pots, so next time I will suspend them on Kanthal wire.