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Woodfiring Pottery BBQ: Pots And Goannas!

Woodfiring Pottery BBQ: Pots And Goannas!

The bi-yearly woodfiring at the Fernvale location of the Murwillumbah Potters Group happened a couple of weeks ago.  It is always a grand event, attended by lots of people, and lots of work ensues trying to get that bastard of a kiln to temperature (didn’t happen….AGAIN!!!!).

Pots lined up ready to be loaded.

Pots lined up ready to be loaded.

I actually thought that I was going to have a great firing and incredible pots.  I love the work of Dick Lehman and here are some photos of an article that was in Ceramics Monthly (a few years back!) showing how he side fires and the gorgeous results.

Dick Lehman on the cover of Ceramics Monthly.

Dick Lehman on the cover of Ceramics Monthly.

Dick Lehman and his pots.

Dick Lehman and his pots.

Dick Lehman's sidefired bottle- This is what I was hoping for!

Dick Lehman’s sidefired bottle- This is what I was hoping for!

Then on Facebook, I saw a tip from Michael Coffee that showed how to mix wood ash with copper carbonate and rutile to get amazing results.

Michael Coffee
I received an IM from a potter here on facebook that wanted to know how I get the multiple colors on my yunomi like that pictured below. I thought I would post my top secret information here…My secret is…BBQ shakers. I put a few tablespoons worth of wood ash sieved through a basic kitchen sieve and then at a teaspoon or so of Copper Carb to one and Rutile to the other. The shaker on the right is Portland Cement straight…

I apply the ash while the underglaze is still wet and I apply to anticipate the flowing at temp.

Did this too!

My secret (not so much!) formula!

My secret (not so much!) formula!

Marian Williams sieving ash mixture onto pots.

Marian Williams sieving ash mixture onto pots.

Anyway, you can see the slide show here of the befores, during, and afters of the wood firing.

Before:

During:

Warwick stoking the kiln

Warwick stoking the kiln

Ronnie and Emma having a chat.

Ronnie and Emma having a chat.

Julie tending the side of the kiln and the coals.

Julie tending the side of the kiln and the coals.

Pyrometer???

Pyrometer???

After:

However, the BEST part was when Carol Anderson decided to retrieve a goanna from the roadside that had been struck by a car (later found out it was Ann Lee’s husband, Terry!) and then cook it on the coals from the wood kiln so we could EAT IT!!!

The whole thing was my friend, Judith’s fault.  Really!

Book given to me by Judith Wagenseller

Book given to me by Judith Wagenseller

Judith Wagenseller, one of my besties, gave me a book on Clay Pot Cooking.  Last year.

Oops, just now getting around to reading it!  But it is awesome and fascinating and one of the things that it talked about in the book was cooking a chicken wrapped in clay.

Judith and I are both subject to a bit of craziness as I only mentioned a book to Judith last year and she FOUND it!

Book suggested to Judith Wagenseller

Book suggested to Judith Wagenseller

Then we did a video to send to Ellen (we just knew Ellen would want Judith on her show talking about the cat finger puppets she had made from her own cat’s fur – too good, eh?!!)  Side note:  Truly Southurst this could be you on the video!

See the video of Judith and her cat finger puppets here:

So you can clearly see, that none of this is my fault…it is Judith who is the culprit here.  She is the one that gave me the book.  I …. only read it and reported the process of cooking a chicken in clay.  The rest just happened!

Once again I must reiterate, this is my friend, Judith’s, fault.  I was merely sitting chatting with the group about my book on Clay Pot Cooking and mentioned the chicken in clay and everyone sitting around chatting agreed that it was supposed to be excellent.

Well, Carol decided to run to town and get a chook and some banana leaves and try it!!

On the way back, the poor road-kill goanna lay tauntingly at the side of the road and Carole couldn’t resist.  She’s an archaeologist and she and Warwick taught school on an island in Northern Queensland, so she is a cluey sort of chick.

So here’s the photographic rendition of this crazy tale!

I did taste it and yes, it tastes like chicken – although stringy, tough chicken.

There was a party happening in the building at the other end of the property and soon a crowd came to see what was going on.  Tasting and dismembering of the goanna happened.  It wasn’t pretty, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

As I said this is how kids start using drugs, “Oh come on, try it!  It won’t hurt you.  Just try a little bit.  You don’t want to say you never tried it!” and so it goes.  First, it’s goanna, then you are on to the heavier stuff…snake, possum, who knows where it could end!

My family is worried that I’m going “bogan” (red-neck to you Americans) as I am also keeping the snake skins I find around the place in a Mason jar (and other stuff is happening, hey?!).

What the heck!  I’m a potter! And we can be as weird as we want!

Happy potting to all! and to all a good nite!

Luv,

Marian

 

 

Written by Marian Williams

4 Comments

  1. Sadhana · October 12, 2013

    OMG! You did iT!
    Hahaha good on you but be careful how for you take this ;D ;P
    Love you Marian!
    BTW I don’t think your big pot is ugly I like how it has come out.
    Sadhana xx

  2. Anna · October 12, 2013

    I’ve eaten crocodile but never goanna… at least it wasn’t killed in vane

  3. Georgia · October 13, 2013

    Fantastic! I’d definitely try a bit of goanna tail if it were offered.
    What was the issue with the firing? Why doesn’t it get hot enough? Must be frustrating, though what a gorgeous setting to be stoking a big fire in, and a nice crew to be hanging out with.

  4. FutureRelicsGallery · October 14, 2013

    Perfect timing since I’ll be doing another wood firing really soon.

What do you think?