The Pit Firing Process
A process of taming and shaping of clay and releasing
it into the wildness of fire
I view the ancient practice of Pit Firing as anhonouring of time and a discipline in letting go. The method of submitting clayvessels to fire in the ground dates back to 29,000 BCE. This ancient traditionwas widely used by both the Ancient Romans and Greeks and is still practised inmany parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
My vessels are initially bisque fired at a considerably lowertemperature than normal, as this prevents the geometry of the quartz crystalsin the clay from forming into a solid mass like today's tableware. The claybody, like the growing adolescent into adulthood, is still young, flexible andas yet, not fully tamed and ridged. This is pivotal to the gift that isrevealed from the ashes because in the pit firing process, it is the vessel'sopenness and porousness that interacts and corresponds with the fire and fumes,the painting if you like, creating a very magical alchemical relationship witheach other, as one transforms the other. Like the parents to the child and thechild, to the parents. This is a very sacred and intimate process for me.