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Up in smoke?

May 23, 2018

Have you ever heard of smoke-fired pottery?This interesting way of finishing handmade pieces produces a one-of-a-kind color and pattern for each piece that can never be reproduced. The potter creates the pieces and bisque-fires them to get them to a porous state. The pottery is then layered in a pit, barrel, or outdoor kiln, and packs the area between and around the pieces with objects (usually from nature) such as sawdust, paper, manure, leaves, seaweed, pine needles, or cones. The kiln is then lit and left to burn until the natural materials have burned up. The smoke produced by the burning of these materials leaves unique colors and patterns on the pottery. Depending on the artist, the pieces are typically given a light sanding and finished with either a wax or a polyurethane product. The result: beautifully unique pieces of pottery that are sure to catch the eye of collectors and enthusiasts alike.


Here is an example of a piece of a smoke-fired bowl. This photo is for reference only. This is not my photograph and not work produced by myself or any potters that I am affiliated with.


Smoke-fired pottery, unlike other traditional folk pottery, is not typically food-safe and typically remains porous due to the finishing process. It is a purely decorative art form. Pieces should not be used for functional purpose other than storage of non-consumable items.

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