Next Santatsugama firing will begin loading on a

Saturday in Spring 2010

Crews will include : To be announced

Loading on Saturday and Sunday, igniting on Sunday evening, and stoking till its done

There is plenty of room for sleeping, either camping in your tent or van etc, or sleeping in the studio (plenty of floor space) so if you don’t have your own camping gear, or van, you would want a cot, sleeping bag, or what ever makes you comfortable . There is a bed room and depending on your shift, that might be available to share.

We all either provide and prepare a dinner meal for the crew or chip in on the cost of food for dinners in addition to the cost of firing space. Let me know if you want to provide a meal or help pay for food, (Please call or email if you can provide a meal and when you would like to) as we will assign days for cooking on or before the first loading day. Saturday and Sunday are pot luck lunches.
Shifts are 7:30 am till 4:00pm, 4pm till 12:30, 12:30 till 7:30

Crews will be: announced later

The evening after starting the fire, generally around 9 PM, 2 people take the shift till 12:30 then 2 people take it till 7:30 (first night is kind of tough). After that we will have 2+ people for the crews. Some wood splitting will be needed for the side stoking. But the majority of the wood is in the shed by the kiln and ready to go.

Come prepared to be there for all your shifts. You should be at the kiln at least 15 minuets before your shift starts to get a feel for how the fire is going and what your crew needs to do for your shift. (let me know if you have any schedule problems)
Drinking during shifts is definitely frowned on.

The loading will go much faster if your pots are glazed before you arrive. If that is not an option for you we do have glazes (various shino) there and many people do some glazing at the kiln. (some people have there pots glazed and wadded on arrival, I am not generally one of those)
Here are some of the shino we use with good success:

Wirts shino #3
Soda ash 3
Spodumene 12
Feldspar Kona F-4 15
Nepheline Syenite 50
Kentucky OM #4 17
Bentonite 2

Malcomb Davis #2

Nepheline Syenite 36.8
Soda ash 16.3
Kaolin 17
Feldspar Kona F-4 9.3
Kentucky OM #4 13

Jim’s shino
Bentonite 4.5
Nepheline syenite 54
Spodumene 36
Superpax 5.5
Epsom salts 0.25

Anderson Ranch shino Slip

Soda ash 3.2
Spodumene 12.16
Nepheline Syenite 36
EPK 28
Ball Clay 12
Feldspar Kona F-4 8.64
Big white , Helmar Porcelain, Welmar(beautiful, but some cracking has occurred), Clay Arts Stoneware Grog, B-Mix, are good clays at this kiln to name a few. Avoid high iron clays, do not use Clay Arts standard paper clay, DRSM, or Welsh Porcelain.

The back of the kiln gets good temp and is as good as the front, the back is better for glazed pieces than the front. We always seem to have a shortage of 9“ pots, particularly narrow ones. It’s always good to have some small things to fit in between the big ones. Ken, Al, Jenny and myself make more large sculptural pieces The rest make a various sized pots

Let me know if you have any questions, or special food needs
allergies, vegetarian, or any problem I can address.


Don't forget Saturday and Sunday lunches are pot luck

Saturday dinner:  

Sunday Dinner:   

Monday Dinner: 

Tuesday Dinner: 

Wednesday Dinner:  

Thursday Dinner:  

Friday: No Dinner 

Contact: Steve Sauer at for workshop information

Nov 09 firing crew: Beverly Saito, Rick Mahaffey, Anthony Goudino, Jimmy Mcdonald, Eve Funderburgh, Frank Carsey, Drew Nicklas, Ken Lundemo, Steve Sauer

Results : the kiln was stacked loose in the front and tight in the back resulting in an easier time keeping the front temp down and still able to brig the back temp up to a satisfactory cone 11 The ware at the front of the kiln was much nicer very good color nice ash and no erosion , the hikidashi pieces pulled on Wednesday evening were very good. cone 13 down flat in front and middle cone 11 in the way back , we reduced cooled with water sprayed in with each stoke of small pieces of wood Very stormy weather rained hard the whole firing possibly producing slightly darker colors.

June firing of Santatsugama was canceled See Ochawan-gama

Results from March 09

The kiln was stacked tight with many many small pieces and a few larger ones, with the usual lack of "9 inch skinnies" There was a slow steady rise in temp through out the firing, 3 body reductions, and very little temp loss during hiki-dashi. 3 pots were knocked over from stoking mishaps, with no collateral damage and very little unwanted kisses

This was in the top 5 of good firing results. Cone 13 down in front good and hot not overdone. cone 13 soft in the middle and a good hard 11 maybe 12 in the back. Cone 12 doing its normal weirdness by staying up, but 13 soft and a little bent so ??? We stoked in the way back and it was believe to be beneficial for this firing, with good color to the last pot . Anthony, Rick and our workshop participant Jimmy pulled t-bowls on wednesday with good results and exciting times. Rick's larger firebox jar was knocked over early in the firing and was rolled around and left on top of the ember pile in the end with fantastic results.We fired 3 commission pieces for Eric Nelson with extremely fine results for him

We finished hot, reaching our highest temps at the end. It was sealed up and reduction cooled with green alder for over 3 hours.

Overall a great firing with another fantastic crew. Many thanks to our special guest Jamie Kirtpatric for stepping in and helping beyond expectations due to illness in the crew (mainly myself)


Results from Oct 08:

This was the first time we stacked pots in the stoking area of the way back leaving no room for wood.

The kiln reached temp and was held till thursday evening at which time it was determined to be hot enough front and back. (the front upon unloading shown that cone 14 was a mere whisper of itself bent at the top and very thin, with cone 13 down in the middle and only cone 11 down inn the way back) In an effort to keep from eroding the ash deposits we decided to end the firing early. We started hydrogen reduction cooling at 8:30 PM on thursday evening, about 12 hours sooner than normal. We feel that the front of the kiln benefited from the shorter firing, however the way back was a little dry in spots, not real bad , but not as juicy as normal

We pulled tea bowl on Tuesday and Wednesday totaling about 10 bowls. leaving the front a little more open possibly allowing temp to climb a little better to the middle

It was agreed that we needed a little more time and temp in the back, and if no firebox in the way back that we probably need more fire box in the middle to compensate.

It was also felt that the hydrogen reduction cooling effects were more elusive this time. Possibly not getting enough water into the kiln. We might try using kao wool to wick the water in next time

We talked about loading the back shelf tight as always but perhaps making
it looser in the area of the way back near the fire box step.

 Try to making sure that there are pathways for the flame to travel
through the kiln.

Stacking tight to the roof is very important.  
 Possibly not a good idea to put something too big in the middle firebox.   We will have to make large piece fit just to the front of the middle fire box space if we are to fill the way
back with pots.

 We need to feed the fire box every time a bowl is pulled. To
maintain some semblance of reduction.

 we talked about possibly cracking the damper (open lower passive) during reduction cooling

Rick would still like to try to keep the kiln in reduction (if not true
reduction at least more reduction than oxidation) from the first 08 to cone
5 in the back or so if that were possible.

 Mostly glazed things in back

more feed back to come!


Results from June 08

The kiln floor was repaired and held together quite nicely. The front of the kiln was buttressed and the dragons relocated. The kiln looks good! The kiln was stacked very tightly from the throat to the center fire box and more open than usual from the center box to the front. We made a conscious effort to keep the kiln slightly cooler this time, our high pyrometer readings were nearly 100 degrees cooler this time. As a result we had cone 13 in front, cone 12 middle, and cone good cone 11 in the back (and the throat). We achieved cone 12 in front early and maintained temp thru the firing ending at our high temps on the pyrometer. The way back fire box was rarely stoked. leading us to consider stacking ware in that area next time. The color was very good, nice reds and a lots of shine, Not as much of the high temp erosion, however minimal carbon trap, Ken and Shan made new side stoke plugs, (no alligator skin). Again I believe we let the kiln cool too much before beginning hydrogen reduction and did not see quite as good of results from that technique as in previous firings.

Thoughts and ideas resulting from discussions after the unloading were:

-Keep front fire box full and not burn down the box before beginning Hydrogen reduction

-Use larger pieces of wood toward the end of the firing

-keep the door and stoke hole closed as much as possible nearing the end of the firing

-Larger stoking area in the center fire box.

-begin adding water (hydrogen reduction) before the final stokes as we start to seal the kiln and at the highest temperature, If possible use green wood.

We had guest artists Robert Barron and Jennifer Lee come to the firing on Wednesday, joined in on the Hikidashi and helped fire the kiln for 2 days It was great to have both of them join in the fun. One of the hikidashi pieces was pulled on Tuesday at cone 12 - usually we do the hikidashi on Wednesday at cone 13 or higher. The result was good and the glaze crawls had more definition than when the same glaze is fired to cone 13.


Results from March 08

The firing as a whole was very good once again, not quite as bright as the 3 previous firings, very hot cone 13 down front to back!. We did hydrogen reduction once again, but because of the low temperature that we stopped stoking, the reduction cooling was shorter than we might have liked. this possibly contributed to the more muted colors. However the color was still very good just not what we had previously.

The first rank of shelves collapsed into the fire box , on top of many pieces of work, late wednesday night thursday morning. This was apparently due to movement of the top layer of floor bricks in the first ware chamber. They seemed to have expanded forward lost there underneath support and sagged down..The crew rallied with good judgment and saved much of the work, by pulling and post reducing, while continuing to maintained temperature of the kiln. GREAT JOB!!!

The kiln will undergo some repairs to the floor and additional buttressing to the front. We should still be able to fire in June although we will determine the exact dates later. Repairs to the kiln are nearly complete.


Results from NOVEMBER 07

Results from October and November 07

Both firings very good!

Oct firing very hot and good color, again hydrogen reduction cooling, (3hr, + another reduce cooling cycle for another 4 hours. We got hot sooner in the schedule and maintained 2300+ degrees for 3 days with highs of 2440F (Pyrometer reading ) cone 13 down front center and back with the back cone 11, Colors very bright again with a general tone toward salmon peach color rather than the more red tone. Some of the pot with glazes in the front where it was very hot came out with a shiny frothy not so attractive surfaces (later gas re firing of some of the pots showed it to re-melt and run looking much better) The cause was discussed, but no conclusions were made.

The Nov firing was the hottest yet with cone 14 nearly puddled in front, cone 13 middle, 12 in the back. More than half the wood was damp to wet. We got the kiln hot with the mostly dry wood and then worked in the wetter wood, slower to get hot but HOT! A mix of wood: Fir, Hemlock, Alder. Color results were very good, darker than the last fire, but still bright (darker possibly due to the wetter wood). We pulled Tea-bowl from both firings with some nice results


Results from June 07: