A Happy Soda Firing

I fired last week. When I’m done glazing, but before I load the soda kiln, I sit down and roll hundreds of wads for the bottom of my pieces. It always takes a ridiculously long amount of time. Time when I’m feeling a bit anxious about getting things done on schedule. When I was rolling my wads for this last kiln, it was a sunny day, and the morning sun was hitting them in the most beautiful way. I took this picture to share with all of you. My happy spin on a less than fun job.

Wadding Recipe
for the soda kiln (pretty standard) (by volume):
  • 1 part EPK
  • 1 part alumina hydrate
  • medium grog to taste (not really, but you know what I mean…)

I roll my wads ahead of time and put them in a plastic container (the ones from the local Thai take-out place are the best). Then I glue them to the bottoms of pots before loading (Elmer’s glue). Breaking up the wadding into steps keeps my hands cleaner and helps me avoid the problem of getting wadding where it doesn’t belong.

A shot of the front of the kiln. It was an interesting firing. I reduced the amount of soda that I added by about 25% or so.

(new) Soda Mixture:

  • 1.75 lbs. of soda ash
  • 2.25 lbs. of soda bicarb
  • 4 lbs. of whiting

Mixed together with 1/4 of a 5 gallon bucket of wood chips. Mix together well, then add enough water (while mixing) to the consistency of oatmeal cookie dough. I add it on an piece of angle iron through the ports on the front of the kiln when c. 9 is soft. (More on this in a future post.)

Below are some tea bowls that I got out of this firing. 

6 thoughts on “A Happy Soda Firing

  1. congratulations Emily on such a thoughtful, practical and beautiful website. its great that you share your wealth of ceramic knowledge in such an open way. I look forward to seeing more updates.

    wadding is a lesson in patience- thanks for adding an amazing image of this highly undervalued part of the process.

  2. Hey the texture from your hot glue rolling pins works great. :)

    Wish I could pre-wad and pre-glue all my wads. I wad mostly because of severely warped shelves. Setting the piece on the shelf then applying a bit of pressure levels it up and prevents stuff from warping (and falling over).

  3. The firing looks great Emily. Nice colors from the slips and glazes. I enjoy checking in and being inspired by your work.

  4. Hi Emily –
    I was surprised & pleased to see you had visited the Fine Mess Blog after I linked to your soda recipe. I have found your blog both helpful & inspirational, and will continue to visit often. Wonderful pots!

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