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Saggar, Barrel and Raku firing weekend workshops in beautiful Devon

Duration: Two days

Price: £200

Run by: Alison West/Abi Higgins
at Alison West Ceramics and Christow Pottery


The Mill
Village Road

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About the Course

This is an intensive firing course, where you will learn how to fire work (your own or provided by us) in saggar and raku firings over two days. The workshop takes place at Abi Higgins Ceramics’ beautiful studio in Christow in Devon and is run by Abi Higgins and Alison West.

Christow is a village in the Teign Valley on the eastern edge of Dartmoor National Park with easy access to Exeter.

The name Raku means ease, pleasure and enjoyment. With its roots in Japan, the technique has altered over the years to produce some of the most interesting and gorgeous effects found in ceramics. Intensely hands on, it is sheer pleasure to experience the low-temperature, fast-firing process which involves removing pottery from the kiln while at bright red heat and placing it into containers with combustible materials.

Saggar Firing was originally developed to protect wares from ash-slagging and flame-flashing in wood firings, but in contemporary use, with clean-burning gas firings, the process is used in exactly the opposite way: to contain fumes around a pot so that the pot to picks up colour and pattern from the fumes. Saggars are the lidded containers used to contain and isolate pots during a saggar firing.

Barrel Firing developed as an alternative to long pit firings with the advantage of getting to high temperatures making it possible for added oxides, carbonates and copper wire to produce stronger colours. A steel barrel is loaded with sawdust, straw and wood together with metallic colourants and pots and fired over several hours.

Over the weekend you will –

• Learn how to prepare your pots for raku,barrel and saggar firings.
• Learn how to load and fire a gas fired raku kiln, load and fire a saggar in a gas kiln and load and fire a barrel.
• Be introduced to resist techniques, sacrificial glaze (naked raku) and reduction glazes with demonstration of applying terrasigillata slip.
• You will be instructed by two teachers, so plenty of help and advice throughout the weekend.

Small groups, of no more than 8, mean more in-depth tuition and guidance to explore your own ideas. Bisque fired pots can be provided at extra cost or bring your own bisque fired masterpieces.

If booking with a CraftCourses voucher for part or all of the course fee, please fill in the contact form above or telephone us. Your voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.

What's included in the price?

All materials and tools included. Homemade lunch and tea/coffee/cakes provided. Local accommodation recommended.

Want to review this course?

Hi Abi and Alison
Just to thank you both for such an informative and wonderful course at the weekend. It was just so nice to get away and meet like minded people since being a potter can be a lonely profession. I came away on a high determined to get back in the studio again but of course that will have to wait until after I get back from my holiday and with this weather it can't come soon enough!

Good luck with the next course.
Sue x

- - #15195

Even though I have never done any pottery, I enjoyed the course very much. I learned a lot, especially that pottery and firing techniques are not an exact science. The outcome depends a lot on timing, experience and, last not least, "luck". Everybody produced some amazing pieces to take home. Both Abi and Alison are excellent teachers, they are enthusiastic, patient and explain very well. They provided lot's of tips and tricks and encouraged an exchange of information between the participants. The course took place in the lovely Devon countryside. It was an overall very inspiring experience and I would highly recommend it to anybody who is interested in pottery and learn more about firing techniques.

- - #14807

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Course Start Dates

Course dates are flexible; please get in touch for the next available date.

  • Suitable for beginners
  • Suitable for events & groups
  • Suitable for stag and hen dos
  • Teen friendly

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