Outdoor Pottery Firing 101

Outdoor Pottery Firing 101

Who needs a kiln? All you need to fire pottery is a well built outdoor fire.

This course will teach the ancient art of the outdoor, above-ground pottery firing as it has been practiced in the American Southwest for centuries. This course explains the science behind a pottery fire, give tips on selecting the best wood and fire safety, then leads you through several complete outdoor pottery firings. All video based learning so you can come along with me as I fire pottery in the way practiced by the ancient Mogollon while I explain what is being done and why it is being done. This is a one of a kind learning experience that is backed by a satisfaction guarantee.

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outdoor pottery firing

You Will Learn

What equipment and tools are needed to fire outdoors.

The science behind fire and how it relates to firing pottery.

All the steps needed to fire pottery in an open fire.

What causes pottery to break and how to prevent it.

Plus, get support from an expert as you learn. The author of this course, Andy Ward will provide personalized help and answer your questions as you progress through the Outdoor Pottery Firing course.

Course Objectives

In this course you will learn the process of firing pottery in an open, oxidizing, surface fire. This type of firing is suitable for producing most Southwest red ware or brown ware pottery such as that made by the prehistoric Hohokam and Mogollon cultures. Some Anasazi pottery could be fired this way, for example San Juan Red Wares but most Anasazi and Mogollon white wares were probably fired in a trench kiln or some other method to reduce the availability of oxygen. This course will not cover limited-oxidation firing procedures required to produce white wares.

  • Learn the safety considerations for any outdoor fire.
  • Become familiar with the equipment required.
  • Identify the correct weather conditions for firing pottery.
  • Learn what types of wood are best and what types should be avoided.
  • Familiarize yourself with the basics of fire science.
  • Learn the process for firing pottery and how it relates to fire science.
  • Become familiar with common firing mistakes, what causes breakage and how to avoid it.

After finishing this class you will have a good understanding of the principles of outdoor pottery firing and be able to successfully and safely fire pottery yourself in an outdoor setting.

Take this Course

I've been making primitive pottery since I was a teenager in the 80's. My work focuses on reproducing the polychrome pottery styles made in the American Southwest during thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. I have taught workshops and lectured at venues all over the Southwest. When I was learning to make pottery it was very hard to find the information I needed, so I created this website to make the technology of southwest pottery readily available to all.