Joshua Goering is an upcoming sophomore at the University of Kansas. He is currently a double major in Visual Arts and Environmental Studies. Josh’s focus is ceramics, mainly wood and soda firing. These techniques emphasize his love of natural elements and process. He is currently working as a summer intern for the KU Ceramics Department and looks forward to exploring glaze chemistry, kiln building and working on large pieces.
Much of his work is unglazed except for a liner glaze on the inside. He depends on clay slips to flash (coloration caused by direct flame contact or residual ash deposit). This deposition of ash and soda on my pots creates a natural and organic glaze.
Wood firing is a long, slow process that needs undivided attention because there is no automated/semi-automated system as in electric and gas firing. It needs to be watched and fed wood 24 hours a day for at least 4 days. The mixture of flame, ash, and minerals from the clay produce unique results. The placement of each piece in the kiln greatly affects its final appearance.
The soda firing technique also requires constant attention. However, their kiln at KU is semi gas fed and because of this, the firing process is shorter. Soda firing is much like the centuries-old salt firing, switching sodium bicarbonate for the salt. Soda vapors react with the flame and minerals in the clay to produce results that are again, dependent upon kiln placement. Joshua enjoys the unexpected outcomes in these firings and the process it takes to complete work in this way.