I have decided to go to Keswick to do some wood-firing, I understand that to many, this means nothing so i shall explain, very quickly.
At school we have gas and electric kilns This is fine, but if I wanted to salt glaze something I wouldn't be able to. In order to salt glaze something you fire it in a kiln and add salt when it's really hot so the salt decomposes and forms silica on the pot. If you've ever seen an old clay bottle that looks a bit like it has orange peel for skin, that's salt glaze. If I were to put salt into any kiln, it would not only glaze the pots, but the kiln, making every pot that was fired afterwards salt-glazed.
The course I'm going on in August has a specific salt-glazing kiln so I can finally do it again. Not only that, but I'm going to be using ash glazes with someone who has been doing it for years and so can help me understand the mysteries behind it.
Because the department I use only has gas and electric kilns playing with fire is something I don't get to do. It's sort of magical and earthy and exciting, as most of you are makers I'm sure you can understand my excitement.
When I was in Tanzania I didn't have a cooker, I had a fire and a hot plate. This meant that when I made a custard tart I had to use the fire, and in honesty, nothing I cook will ever make me as proud as that custard tart that I made on a harth, it's just like that.
Here's a photo of the wonderful Lois Maude Blacklock last time we were there (she has black hair now but is still a pyromaniac).