Saggar Fired Vessel (9 in / 23 cm tall)
Saggar Fired Vessel (9 in / 23 cm tall)
Saggar Fired Vessel (9 in / 23 cm tall)
Mathew Arnold

Saggar Fired Vessel (9 in / 23 cm tall)

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This vessel was fired in a clay saggar with the imprint of the process recorded on the surface. This is a "bare surface" process that does not use any ceramic glaze*.  

9 in x 5 1/2 in 
(23 cm x 14 cm)

The piece was thrown by me on a pottery wheel using using a white stoneware with a high porcelain content.  It was then trimmed to the final form and smoothed by hand using a stiff rubber rib to prepare the surface.  Once the piece is completely dry (before any firing), it is sprayed with several coats of a ultra-refined clay slip called terra sigallata. Between each layer I buff the surface with a soft microfiber cloth to reveal the shine. 

The piece then receives the initial bisque firing so that it can be handled without breaking to prepare for the final firing.  I create a saggar by rolling out a large, thin slab of clay lined with aluminum foil. Copper wire, steel wool, paper, sesame seeds, salt and iron oxide are then placed into the sagger as the piece is rolled up and sealed into its cocoon. 

The saggar firing takes place slowly, over several hours, and it closely monitored to reach the ideal temperature of around 1,600 F (870 C). Once cool enough to handle (or sometimes not quite cool enough, but I can't help my excitement), the saggar is cracked open to reveal the final result.

The piece  is carefully cleaned and then sealed with a micro-crystalline wax to accentuate the natural beauty captured by the entire process.

*Please note that this is a "low fire" ceramic process,. The surface is still porous, so it is not considered water-tight or food safe.  This piece should only be cleaned with a dry, soft cloth. Please feel free to ask any questions about care and cleaning.


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