I often write about soda fired pots that bear the brunt of the flames, thickly doused in vapourised bicarbonate soda these pieces have their colour bleached away. The dividing line here is very clear between them. The rich almost metallic tan slip on the left is how they should fire, or at least it’s how we’d prefer them to fire, some people quite like the green hues. Personally I’m not keen on them, perhaps if it only happens to a select section, rather than a whole face being blasted away. The only good that comes from it is the black drips, which I presume is the remnants of the tan slip that has melted downward as the overpowering soda buries it.
This pot was from our last soda firing, which went very hot, cone twelve, approximately one-thousand three-hundred degrees, was put flat. Combined with an excessively strong reduction towards the end this metallic sheen is born, it’s most visible on the bottom right where the tan red deepens colour.
While we do fire the kiln mostly with bicarbonate soda we do introduce a touch of salt after we’ve sprayed in all the sodium solution. On the whole, soda gives you a far softer appearance, it isn’t as explosive as salt and doesn’t leave much, if any orange peeling, the term used for the white dots you can see here. As the salt enters the kilns atmosphere it erupts and atomises, crashing into pots and leaving these white impact craters. As it’s more explosive we hope it’ll reach those areas that the lesser so soda might have missed. The kiln emits far more vapour when it’s introduced, it leaks out following the corrugated iron roof before floating upward. In the winter especially it’s quite a sight as the outside lights project beams through the thick fog—it’s just best not to breathe too much whilst spraying the stuff.