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Saggar, Barrel and Raku firing weekend workshops in beautiful Devon

Duration: Two days

Price: £220

Book with: Alison West/Abi Higgins

The Mill
Village Road
Christow, Exeter

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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. 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?

It was a great weekend in Devon for me. Apart from two full days of learning a variety of alternative firing techniques, I also enjoyed excellent hospitality from Abi and Alison. It was like a craft retreat holiday for me! The course is suitable for a wide range of abilities, from total newbies to potters with some firing experience, we certainly had taken a lot home. Highly recommended!

- - #24920


It was lovely to meet you Clover, so much fun and laughter and potting talk, very pleased you enjoyed it so much.
Alison and Abi

Thank you Abi and Alison for a wonderful weekend - truly inspirational. Yvonne and I can't wait to try more raku firing.
Thank you for sharing your expertise in a friendly informal way. The weather was also superb, enabling us to enjoy good food and share ideas with new friends in your lovely garden.
Best wishes,

- - #24721


Thanks so much. A great pleasure to meet you both and look forward to seeing you in Chagford too!
Alison and Abi

Thank you Abi and Alison for the excellent and wonderful weekend doing raku, saggar and barrel firing.
The course was certainly worth coming to England to from Iceland. I have taken with me a lot of information on saggar and barrel firing. Everybody on the course produced interesting work and I am certainly happy with my 12 pieces I managed to take back to Iceland in my hand luggage.
Well done you two, you have impressed and inspired me with your talent and professionalism. The lunches, the environment in lovely Devon and the group of people were also fantastic.

- - #22967

Such a great weekend learning under the instruction of Abi and Alison. Our group was an eclectic mix of professional potters, enthusiasts and in my case beginners. It just suited everyone!
The skills we were able to take away with us are simply amazing, I had no idea I was to learn so much in a matter of days. The excitement when the finished product is revealed was just another aspect of the weekend I was not expecting.
“Well done guys”! Just a beautifully designed and executed course that would suit anyone and the homemade lunches were to die for!

- - #22906

Results were amazing. Another day of fun, good food, great company and expert instruction. I’m already thinking about a return visit.

- - #22902

What a busy, fun packed weekend we've had! Lovely setting and great guidance in the techniques of Saggar, Barrel and Raku firing. It was amazing to learn, experience and reveal the effects from the different firings and be surrounded by lovely people sharing a love of ceramics.
Wonderful food, beautiful surroundings and knowledgable fun hosts too!
Highly recommended if you're visiting Devon or a local pottery enthusiast, don't just take my word for your place now!

- - #22899

Everything is well explained, questions answered knowledgeably. These ladies know their stuff. Thoroughly enjoyed my time at The Mill. Food was fantastic.
Looking forward to seeing the results of our efforts. Highly recommend this course.

- - #22877

This was my second visit having enjoyed the course so much last time. Learned hands on from these two lovely creative and talented artists. Abi and Alison share their ideas and experience with humour. I am so pleased with the results which I took home. Great group of potters to learn with too.
Hope to see you again sometime.

Ruth x

- - #21982

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

Saturday 26th October 2019

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

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