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Copper Reds – Second Guessing…How To Get Copper Reds in a Fibre-Lined Gas Kiln!

Copper Reds – Second Guessing…How To Get Copper Reds in a Fibre-Lined Gas Kiln!

I’m Firing As I Write This! and I keep asking myself….so how do I get copper reds?
I’ve read so many articles, webpages, blogposts…and I’m still not sure!  So we shall see!

Currently, I’m following the advice of these lovely potters!:

Ric and Judy Pierce at One Tree Hill Pottery in Beechwood, Victoria, Australia have a webpage that gives technical advice on getting copper reds.  Click here.

They state, “Copper red needs an early and nice reduction. We start ours at 850 centigrade.”

I started at 875 degrees centigrade??

“We measure the reduction by ensuring a consistent flame out of the kiln bung holes but not up the flue (as this is too much and certainly no smoke).”

I am doing this! I tried to close the flue up completely, but got smoke, so covered each side of the flue, leaving about a 1 inch opening.

“This is best done in the evening since the bung hole flame can be almost invisible in daylight. We don’t use an oxyprobe, although we own one, because its measurements don’t relate well to the conditions required by copper red.”

I decided to fire during the day, as I’ve read that the barometer pressure drops when night fall hits, thus stalling or slowing down the kiln.  However, it gets dark now early (5ish), so don’t know if I can completely avoid that issue.

“We keep this reduction up to 1200 centigrade after which it doesn’t seem to matter what you do. Just watch the reduction as it naturally increases as the temperature increases slowing the kiln unnecessarily. We gradually open the damper as the temperature rises while maintaining that bung hole flame. Fire to cone 10 but the top temperature is not very important (from cone 9 to cone 11 depending on the clay and the effects you’re searching for). The speed of the firing doesn’t seem to have a great impact on the results.”

So, that’s what I’m doing!

They also said that, “Refiring a copper red pot won’t make a green glaze go red.”

Hmmm….well, I’m trying, but in most cases, I added additional copper red glaze, so we shall see!

Tom Coleman’s Pottery
Tom Coleman’s copper reds are infamous!  His article in Studio Potter explains how he gets them and he gives recipes!
So with all this good advice, I should be able to get some copper reds!  Right???!!!
Written by Marian Williams

What do you think?