Ceramics Pit Firing

On Thursday, November 4, 2021, ceramics classes three/four B and seven/eight B days had the opportunity to be a part of Arrowhead’s first ever pit firing. 


A pit firing is a hole in the ground behind the ceramics room, lined with gravel all the way around and in the pit.


Starting at 7:30am, six students started bringing the materials outside near the pit. Sawdust, newspaper, sticks, logs, salt, copper, cobalt, and the ceramic pieces were all needed in order to create the unique designs and colorings. 


After everything was brought outside, the sawdust was loaded into the pit to block oxygen to the pieces. Instead of air, only carbon was being absorbed giving an ashy black to the places covered in the sawdust.


After the pieces were placed in the pit, newspaper and sticks created a fine line to heat up the ceramics without melting them.


As the fire grew, the pieces moved down towards the middle of the pit. This shifted the salt and sawdust around the pots, adjusting the coloring of each pot. 


Once the fire died down, Brock Rumohr, Arrowhead Ceramics teacher, started pulling the pieces away from the middle. He went slowly so the pieces would not shatter due to the extreme temperature changes. 


Once they were pulled out of the fire, they were left until November 8, 2021, when students cleaned off the ashes. Then on November 10, 2021, a clear coating was sprayed to preserve the ancient looking designs. 


Justin Riegel, a current Arrowhead sophomore, says, “I didn’t even know that this was back here. I wish more people had this opportunity.”