Ceramics Firing Nov. 14


On November 14, 2022, from hours 5-10,  Arrowhead ceramics students participated in a pit fire on school grounds. 


A pit fire is a natural way to process ceramic products.  Sawdust is layered at the bottom of a pit and then the ceramics are placed on top of that.  Organic materials and copper carbonate/sulfate are sprinkled around and on the ceramics.  Straw, paper and very dry wood is placed on the top of all of that.  According to an article from Jane White Ceramics, “The fire is then lit and it burns for about 4 – 6 hours and then the pit is sealed for 70 hours for cooling.”


The pit fire was located outside of the ceramics room and next to the automotive parking lot.  


Brock Rumohr, AHS ceramic instructor, told staff, “North Campus teachers who park in the tech-ed lot may want to park a bit further from the pit area in the grass.”  


Rumohr said this because there is the possibility ash from the fire could fly onto the cars.


Pieces that are fired in the pit will look completely different than those fired in a kiln.  The pit and materials used in it create organic designs and colors on the ceramics.  Oftentimes items may break in the firing because of how they were placed in the pit. 


Ceramics student Brea Turnacliff said, “It was cool to see how the pieces got their unique colors and not just get them out of the kiln without seeing why they look the way they do.”  


The pit fire was open to anyone who would like to watch and participate, including teachers.  Students were allowed to ask their teachers if they could go to the pit firing instead of class but were expected to complete any assignments they may get during that class on their own time. 


The pit fire had to be rescheduled due to poor weather. The pit fire was originally scheduled for November 4th.