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Women Who Fire With Wood

Women Who Fire With Wood

Women Who Fire With Wood.

I’m one of them.

We load wood.  Stack wood.  Clean shelves, load the kiln, make pots FOR a wood firing.

After each firing, I say to myself, “I’m NOT going to do that again.  It’s too much work.  Results are often if’y” –  but then the next woodfiring comes around and there I am…right in the middle of the whole process.

So I ask myself, “WHY!”

Well, I found this old article in Ceramics Monthly, entitled, “Women Who Fire With Wood”, that says it beautifully.

Please summarise the story in one sentence

Ceramics Monthly Article

“It may also be the magic of community, seeing friends’ faces lit by a ten-foot foxtail of flame shooting out the chimney (wood firing is rarely done alone), and the knowledge they are a constant participant in the “becoming” of the pot that drives most of these women to gather, split, stack and stoke wood into the fiery inferno of the kiln. 

In fact, the bulk of labor involved in the wood-firing process totally lacks romance or magic, but the hours of scraping shelves, wadding ware and preparing the wood lead to those precious moments when the kiln seems to breathe, and the resulting pots capture a memory of that experience.  

Whatever their individual reasons may be for firing with wood, the group as a whole is undaunted by the difficult process, and purposefully chooses to create works that demand the direct touch of the flame.”

And that’s the point isn’t it.  We do it for the fun, the camaraderie, the passion, the fire!

woodfiring pottery-burnpile-wood

Marian Williams and Ann Lee- aren’t we funny!

woodfiring pottery-burnpile-wood

Ann Lee serving up the lovely Damper Bread made by Claire Byrne and cooked in the coals of the kiln.

woodfiring pottery-burnpile-wood

Ann Lee in the kiln loading the pots while Ronda Luling assists.

woodfiring pottery-burnpile-wood

The kiln shed – loading pots!

The results…well, some are good and some are bad…but we will do it again as soon as we get our energy back!

Peace out my lovelies!


Written by Marian Williams


  1. Claire Byrne · July 30, 2014

    Proud to say I am one too
    Love it never want to miss a firing !!

  2. Sue Coggins · July 31, 2014

    Marian, it may be the romance or the comaraderie or the mystique—BUT I think y’all just like to play with fire! BTW, you look enchanting in your wood gathering garb!!

  3. Kate · August 4, 2014

    What temp or cone do you fire to. Thanks. Looks incredible.

    • Marian Williams · August 4, 2014

      Kate, we fire as hot as we can get it!!! Try to get to cone 10- but seldom get there – more like cone 6-8-we only fire til the wood is gone or about 24 hours.
      Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  4. Judy Smith · August 4, 2014

    Have never fired a wood kiln but all the “older” potter say it was magic. One day!!!

What do you think?