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Spiral Ridge Pottery Studio

Spiral Ridge Studio is located in Shannondale, West Virginia, less than an hour from Reston. Fulfilling a long-time dream of mine, we built a propane-fired salt kiln there in the summer of 2002. We got many, many great firings from that kiln! However, in the fall of 2013 my wonderful little kiln was in need of rebuilding. After 112 firings, the salt had done damage to the structure. I decided to build a new kiln on the same site with all new bricks. I also decided to make it bigger...half again bigger...and taller! The old kiln held 130-140 pieces. The new one would hold more than double that!!

This is a photo of me using a piece of angle iron to add salt to the original kiln. The salt volatilizes and the sodium in the salt chemically combines with the silica in the clay to form a glaze on the pots:

Pouring Soda

This shows the same process with my new, larger kiln:

Adding salt to the kiln

The pottery is stacked into the kiln onto shelves and the door is built using 2 layers of additional bricks to close the kiln. Here are photos of a stack of shelves (the new kiln holds 3). The one on the left (or first one) was taken right after loading and the one on the right (or second) after firing. The addition of salt creates the beautiful, organic effects on the clay surfaces!

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