Interview: Deborah Schwartzkopf
Artists Who Used to Soda Fire
What attracted you to soda and salt firing?
"Seeing other people’s results. I wanted the variation that the introduction of soda offered. I was still learning to use glaze and this felt like the kiln was on my side! I also enjoyed having more interaction with the firing process. I fired oxidation so I was constantly adjusting to keep the kilns from reducing and adding salt or soda at the end felt like a finale. "
What aspects do you miss and not miss about soda firing?
"I do not miss much... The kilns I had access to were challenging to keep in oxidation and keep even. And the soda would often remove glazing decisions that I made and wanted… The kilns I had access to were quite old and would spald off bits of debris… I do not miss that.
I miss firing the kiln. (pushing the start button is nice, but much less interaction). I miss having a large kiln to fill. I miss the interaction of sharing a large kiln. And I miss wadding pots and group loadings.
I just got a bunch of brick from an old gas kiln. So in a year or two I may be building a new soda kiln!"
What aspects of soda firing do you reference in your current work?
"I have chosen to fire cone 6 electric. This shift to a lower temp happened when I got my own studio. Installing an electric kiln was much easier in a smaller private city space than a gas kiln. And much more affordable. Now I love it!
I spray layers of glaze to create the variation I enjoy. Initially I sprayed a soda ash solution. Then moved on to a more fluxed out glaze… Like a clear. Now I use lots of different glazes. I spray a whole ware board of pots at a time…" Click here to read more about this process.
Learn more about deb on: Instagram: @debspottery and @ratcitystudios, Youtube and her website.
All Photo credit belongs to Deborah Schwartzkopf
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Hi, I'm Lisa the artist and creator of this content.
Here on my blog I share behind the scenes, events, and activities related to my art.
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