We loaded & fired the pit on Wednesday, September 14. This was after months of preparation, including two classes on Pit Fire Techniques and several teams of CAC members going out to collect seaweed and dried cow pies (among other things). Shown below is the preparation of the pit and subsequent loading of our pieces (many of them wrapped in newspaper) into the pit.
Here are more shots of the Pit Fire Team (led by Patty Taylor and assisted by Anne Shulenberger) preparing the pit: sprinkling all around the carefully placed pieces with a mixture of salt and copper carbonate, putting on cow patties and seaweed, adding crumpled newspaper & kindling wood, then stacking firewood logs on top of everything - plus more paper & kindling!
With everything loaded inside, some long metal pipes were placed over the pit. Then we had our ceremonial blessing of the pit, led by Darryla Green and accompanied by Doc King and Damon Shulenberger (Anne’s son), on native drum and flute. Almost ready for the firing!
Next came the lighting of the pit, using charcoal lighter fluid and long torches of rolled up newspaper. The fire blazed up and eventually subsided into smoldering embers. Very dramatic & beautiful! Everyone left the area and relaxed, as the pit crew shared some pizza. Finally - once the flames had died down - the whole pit was covered with metal sheets that were placed on top of the metal pipes, to concentrate the smoke within. And finally. it was left that way for 2 days.
Below is the pit when it was cold and we uncovered & unloaded it, on September 16. Lots of beautiful pottery and sculpture came out of the fire! We got some beautiful colors & colors this time – a really wide variety.
After unloading, sorting & cleaning the ceramic pieces of ash & debris, we had a wonderful potluck lunch right there in the studio, as we celebrated among our new treasures. It was an amazing Pit Fire, well worth the wait!
Activities of CAC
Artists at work and play in our studio!