Tue, May 10th, 2011 So you've made a decision and you're signing up for the July 16 & 17 workshop - What Now?
First, make your saggars. You can follow my posts on facebook, I'm giving a step by step on what to do to get ready:
Facebook Step by Step
Saggars are clay pots that are firing vessels designed to hold the REAL POTS you want to fire. Saggars can be any size and any diameter cyllander....with holes in it...and a lid.
In general saggars can be made of any refractory material - foil, brick, clay pots. I love a clay saggar for the control and dynamic interplay it yields. You can use any stoneware clay or raku clay, the more grog in the clay, the better the saggar holds up. Don't worry if it cracks in the bisque - they will crack anyway - you can still use it.
What size should your saggar be? Make it at least big enough to hold one pot (with the cover on) or large enough to hold several vessels. Play around. An individual saggar yields results and control that a 'tumble stack' saggar does not. I love a tumble stack for the surprise and diversity of results. A tumble stack is simply a chamber that holds several vessels that are not placed on a shelf, rather they are stacked one on top of the other.
Don't use terra cotta flower pots - they can melt! The clay used for those pots is very low temp and melts at 06. (see pictures!)
The hole size of your saggar can vary. Make some saggars with smaller holes and maybe more, and others with larger holes and fewer. The point of the saggar is to balance the air in the chamber. No holes and it's in total reduction, yielding black, murky tones. Air gets into your saggar via holes and there is a dynamic combination of flame & smoke, a good balance of reduction and VIOLA bright flashes and pretty colors.
It's not that easy, of course. It has taken me 16 years to master my saggar technique. But with some intensive instruction, you can leap 5 years ahead and begin experimenting with real direction.
Click on pictures below to see descriptions and directions.