Write up of Saggar firing experiment by Caroline Wilson from Julia’s Tuesday morning class.


Just to share with you my latest attempt with exploring marking pots by ‘smoking’ them – this time in a saggar.

Saggar firing has evolved as a way to achieve a result similar to pit-firing on a smaller scale.  A saggar is a lidded container which is used to contain and isolate a pot during its firing. Although originally invented to protect pots from harmful fumes inside the kiln, saggars can be used for exactly the reverse effect: to contain fumes around a pot to allow it to pick up colour from added ingredients.

I made a large cylinder (plus lid) from the recycled clay which was then biscuit fired.  Pots, previously burnished and biscuit fired, were placed inside the saggar on a bed of sawdust.  Some pieces had been wrapped in copper wire, anti slug copper tape, steel wool and masking tape.  A sprinkling of salt (inc seaweed), copper carbonate and fertilizer granules were added.

The saggar was then sealed with a clay coil and fired in the biscuit kiln for about 20 hours (the first 600 degrees taken very slowly).

Initial reaction on opening the lid after firing was a disappointed ‘oh’ as we looked at rather ‘grungy’ pots.  This turned into to excited ‘oohs & ahs’ as we started to clean them up and some extraordinary colours emerged. The steel wool and some of the granules have actually fused to the top of the largest piece. (photos were taken before final cleaning and before any polishing).

A further Saggar Firing (at a lower temperature) is planned before the end of term for anyone interested.  Details to follow.


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