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Atmospheric firing is the bees knees. If you don't know what it is, here's a quick idea. Your sink, toilet and Target mugs are fired in, effectively, giant toaster ovens, with those glowing coils that heat everything evenly and perfectly. That's fine; clean, sterile, smooth white pottery is great. 

But to me the beauty of ceramics lies in the fact that time is being stopped. When I make something, every fingerprint, pinch, and cut is frozen and laid bare for you. When it goes into a kiln those marks are made eternal; ceramic can never be clay again. That's why we have ceramic artifacts from 20,000 years ago.

Atmospheric firings show the path of heat, flame, ash and vapor traveling through the kiln, much like water down a river, moving over, around and under the clay, finding the path of least resistance with occasional meanderings. The evidence of fire or vapor's path is left behind, in ash deposits, color changes, or textural scars. This is much the way clay is left behind by rivers, or how the water’s journey leaves a mark on the earth reminding us of the past.

Work fired atmospherically in a wood or soda kiln has been to 2345 F, sometimes for days, and is as strong as strong can be. It may be rough and irregular at times, but aren't we all?

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