Wood firing is a pottery firing technique that involves using wood as the primary source of fuel to achieve high temperatures in a kiln since the 4th century BC. This process is known for its unique and unpredictable effects on ceramic pieces, resulting in distinctive colors, textures, and glaze patterns. Wood firing is often associated with traditional and artisanal pottery making, as it requires careful attention to the firing process and a deep understanding of how different factors, such as wood type, kiln design, and temperature control, influence the final results.
During a wood firing, pieces of pottery are loaded into the kiln, and wood is burned in a firebox within the kiln. As the wood burns, it releases heat, flames, and ash. The flames and ash are drawn into the kiln's chamber by the draft created by the kiln's design. This process leads to several unique effects on the pottery as the ash melts at high temperatures, creating a natural ash glaze.
Wood firing is known for its unpredictability. Variations in temperature, flame movement, and wood combustion mean that no two pieces in a wood firing will be exactly the same. This element of surprise adds to the allure of wood-fired ceramics. Some firings last 8 days, stoking the kiln day and night at roughly 7-10 minute intervals.