Treating Pots for the Pit

Treating Pots for the Pit

Join us for a PIT FIRING!!  For only $30 a person you can have an a unique Door County Experience and create some pit fired ceramic art.

Arrive on Wednesday afternoon at 3:00 and get a quick history lesson on the origins of pottery and the development of mankind (womankind? peoplekind?) We (John and Diane) will show you some examples of the results you can get.  Pay attention to that word: CAN.  We promise a few things, but one of them is NOT a guarantee on colors.

More promises:

  1. We promise you will learn something
  2. We promise you will NOT get what you think you will get.  We rarely do.  We might get some of the colors we planned for, we always try, but we may not get them the way we want it or in the space we wanted.  This is part of the ‘art’ and fun.
  3. We promise that once in a while, a pot breaks in the fire.  Going from ambient (air temp.) temperature to 1700 degrees in 30 minutes is very stressful on bisque-fired clay.  We do everything we can to prevent it.  It happens to us.  We hope it happens to us and not you.  If it does, then we sift through the ashes and glue the pieces back together, creating a piece reflecting and recording the changes and stresses in the firing.  Once again: we learn to accept what happens in the fire.
  4. We promise you will get dirty, so dress for a mess.
  5. We promise fun.  Well, we have fun, we have heard from other participants that they had fun.  We promise we will be fun, how’s that?
  6. We promise you a unique experience and
  7. A one of a kind piece of art.
2 examples of workshop vases on the left

2 examples of workshop vases on the left

We will show you the choices of small hand built pots (pick just 2) you can chose from: vases, dishes, bowls and tiles.  Each year I (Diane) make a new series, making these one of a kind pieces.  You will not be able to make your own pots, there isn’t enough time for that part of the process.  I make them slightly primitive to fit in with the ancient process of pit firing.  Additional pieces are $10.

John and I will demonstrate the different techniques you can use.  You don’t have to do anything, actually.  I have done minimal treatments and ended up with results I was happy with.  We will help you every step of the way, we promise.

Treatments include terra sigilatta, plant food, oxides. You can brush, spatter, dip the materials on.  Or use all and go exotic.  Use leaves, grasses, copper wire, soaked twine.  We also provide gloves, aprons, goggles.

Once treated, we load the pit, load the pots into the pit and set the whole mess on fire.  45-60 minutes later John covers the pit.  You can stick around or leave at  that time.  We’ll take care of the rest and see you in the morning.


Return Thursday morning at 10 am to dig your art from the ashes.  After cleaning and treating the surface, your ancient artifact is ready to go home with you. (Can’t make it on Thursday? We can make arrangements for that.)

Children are welcome accompanied by their parents.  Reservations are not necessary, though if you are bringing your whole family or a loarge group we’d like to know in advance.  (920-854-5049 or


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