One of the most important parts of the woodfired process is the clay. Not all clays are equal, infact, all are different. You can take two identical pieces of pottery, fire them side by side in the same kiln, and they can come out with two totally different surfaces! It is really exciting and has required a lots of research on the clay itself for us to land on clays that we love in the wood kiln.
That being said, I rely on a growing company out of Star, NC called StarWorks Ceramics for all my clay needs. StarWorks is using local North Carolina clays from throughout the state to create clay bodies that can withstand the intense wood firing atmospheres. Check out what they are doing here.
I almost exclusively use all North Carolina clay. I like knowing where the materials are coming from and more importantly the folks who are working to bring potters a great product that we can trust. It is special to me that the clay I am working with came from the same place I have called home my entire life.
For my Woodfired collection, I use whats called an "anagama" kiln (pictured above) to fire the pots. The kiln is about 50 cu. ft in size, which translates to about 200 pots, big and small. It takes about 2 cords of wood to fire the kiln over 30-48 hours, stoking every 5-10 minutes around the clock.
I did a lot of research before building it, and actually found another similar kiln built by Zac Spates that i took inspiration from. If you want to know more about what went into building it back in October of 2017, feel free to visit the original kickstarter page.
For my White collection, I use a speckled clay and white glaze that I cover each piece in before firing in a standard electric kiln out of my studio. This process is a little more straight forward than woodfiring.