Saggar Process

Preparing the Pots

The white earthenware clay pots thrown on a potter’s wheel are burnished several times while drying to smooth the surface and bring up the finer particles of clay. When the pots are leather hard, 3-5 coats of terra-sigillata are applied, followed by a polishing with a chamois.

Bisque Firing

Bisque firing at a relatively low temperature allows the clay body to absorb the effects of the combustible materials in the saggar firing to follow.


Ceramic containers called saggars are handmade from a different type of clay. Each saggar holds an individual pot packed with sawdust, hard woods, and a variety of combustible materials such as paper, straw, dry weeds, grass, iron, and ceramic colorants.

Saggar Firing

With saggars stacked in the kiln, the firing begins with a soft flame for the first hour, gradually increasing the temperature to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit over the next 4-8 hours. At this point, the burners are shut off, the openings are plugged, and the kiln remains undisturbed for 18-20 hours. The burning of the combustible materials traps carbon on the surface of the burnished forms. Hot areas produce a white or gray color and a slow burning fire creates black.

Final Cleaning and Polishing

After the firing, the pots are washed, allowed to dry for a week, and polished. No glaze is applied to the pots.

White earthenware clay pots Terra-sigillata is applied Bisque firing Pots before and after the saggar firing Ceramic containers called saggars Pots being fired in a kiln
Combustible materials trap carbon on the surface. A fired pot in its saggar Pots removed from the kiln Pots are washed and allowed to dry Pots are polished No glaze is applied to the finished pots Finished and unfinished pots