Pit Fire Passion

The passion potters possess pertaining to pit fire pottery is a hot topic! The more I work toward this direction the more excitement builds – tempered with the grounding mantra “it’s an experiment” of course.

Here is a great example of awesome pit fire work, found on Facebook, Guarnera Potter – be sure to check out his other pieces on Facebook!

Speaking of Combustables!


  • Banana peel. Orange-ish
  • Coffee grounds. Gray-ish, orange-ish
  • Copper carbonate and salt. Green, red and black
  • Copper, cobalt and iron sulphates. Blue and red colors
  • Copper wire. Most often black – if lucky red or green
  • Ferric chloride. Often used in splashes. Great tones from dark red to light pink
  • Sea weed. Colors depend totally on the type, the amount of salt in it etc.
  • Steel Wool (black patterns)
  • Many different kinds of other organic materials, nuts, leaves etc.

Great webpage and Pottery works: https://robertcomptonpottery.com/index.php/vermont-studio/firing-methods/pit-firing/

Step-by-Step Instructions from renowned Marcia S., MSU, on ceramicartdaily.org

when teaching primitive firing techniques and firing local clay using a pit (in the ground hole) I did the following:

  • 1. dig a hole about 2-3 ft deep.
  • 2. cut an edge about half way up the wall that will support a grate or square BBQ grill. Can use more than one grill in a longer hole.
  • 3. start a wood fire in the lower part of the hole, letting good coals accumulate.
  • 4. place the grate on the ledge.
  • 5. let the pots absorb the heat from the blazing fire.
  • 6. place the pots upside down on the grate.
  • 7. cover with well dried cow pies to a height at least 1-1.5 ft. above ground level.
  • 8. Let it smolder. You can use sheet metal to seal off wind for better blacks.
  • 9. AFter a few hours, flames will burst to the surface.
  • 10. Let it cool and unload.
  • https://community.ceramicartsdaily.org/topic/203-pit-fire/?tab=comments#comment-954

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