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 an honouring of time and a discipline in letting go. The method of submitting clay vessels to fire in the ground dates back to 29,000 BCE. This ancient tradition was widely used by both the Ancient Romans and Greeks and is still practised in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
My vessels are initially bisque fired at a considerably lower temperature than normal, as this prevents the geometry of the quartz crystals in the clay from forming into a solid mass like today's tableware. The clay body, like the growing adolescent into adulthood, is still young, flexible and as yet, not fully tamed and ridged. This is pivotal to the gift that is revealed from the ashes because in the pit firing process, it is the vessel's openness and porousness that interacts and corresponds with the fire and fumes,the painting if you like, creating a very magical alchemical relationship with each other, as one transforms the other. Like the parents to the child and the child, to the parents. This is a very sacred and intimate process for me.