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Barrel Firing Experience: Saturday 27th April 2024 Book here

2- day Pit Firing: tbc  

Obvara Firing: tbc  

Workshops are suitable for all interests. You do not need to be a potter to enjoy these alternative firings!


Past participants have been from many various backgrounds, from potters, poets and archeologists, to families, tourists and experience loving individuals and groups.

(Workshops are not suitable for very young children but teenagers accompanied by an adult are welcome)


More details below.

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Barrel Firing Workshop


Learn to fire pottery without a kiln! Patricia will guild you thorough the process of barrel firing.

Decorate your pots, provided by us* with designs inspired by neolithic rock art. Learn how to use oxides and organics to add colour. Experience packing and firing a metal barrel. Learn how to clean and seal your beautiful pots.

*You are also welcome to bring your own pots. We will endeavour to add them to the firing, space permitting. Any clay is suitable but bisqued to no more than 900oC. Unfired pots can be included but do carry a greater risk of breakage of course.


Morning session, 10am start

A short introduction to Barrel firing. Learn about pot preparation, terra sigillata and burnishing.

Decorate pots inspired by our local neolithic rock art.

Make simple foil saggars, learning what colours you can achieve with different oxides and organics.


Health and safety and good practice around barrel firing.

Pack barrels. Learn how to layer fuel to achieve an even firing with maximum heat work.

How to tend to the firing to achieve a reducing atmosphere.



Light vegetarian lunch provided with a chance to chat and browse books on alternative firing techniques.

As we wait for the barrels to burn out there is an opportunity to visit Ballintoy or The Boat House Gallery depending on the weather.



Unpack the barrels.

How to clean and seal pots.

Take your unique pots home!


This day course includes a vegetarian lunch, all materials, including 4 pots (approx. 240ml)


£160 per person

Maximum class size 6

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pit fire pottery

2-Day Pit firing Workshop


Gather up a group of friends for some pit firing fun! The workshop takes place at Patricia’s studio on the Giant's Causeway.


Bring your own work or pre-order wheel thrown pots.

Learn and experience this ancient technique. Learn how to prepare your work, including various burnishing techniques and terra sigalatta, gain experience in packing a pit, firing and how to finish pit fired pottery.

Taking home your own unique pieces from the pit.

Day 1 

Typically lasts approx 7 hours, beginning with a short introduction on this ancient firing technique. Patricia will demonstrate how to wrap the pieces in simple foil or paper saggars along with different materials, explaining typical effects you may achieve and the science behind this ancient process.

You will be guided in preparing your own work with a choice of supplied organics.

After a hearty, vegetarian lunch, you will experience packing and lighting the pit. Health and safety around pit firing will also be highlighted.

The day finishes with clamming the pit. Patricia will tend it throughout the night.

Day 2

The group returns for the big reveal! 

In this 2nd session you will unpack the pit. Patricia will demonstrate how to clean and seal the work.

After a break for a light lunch, you will clean and seal your own unique work.

Approximately 5 hours depending on the groups' items. 



  • At least 12 hours of pit fire tuition

  • Pot preparation materials, including a selection of prepared seaweed, oxides, copper, wire wool, selection of organics

  • Tinfoil, masking tape, paper, string

  • Fuel for Firing- seaweed, wood shavings, hard wood logs

  • Sealing wax

  • Gloves 

  • 2 Vegetarian lunches and unlimited tea breaks with cake

Some tips for successful pit firing-

  • If you are bringing your own work,  bisque fire up to 900oC.

  • Green ware will also work but has a much higher risk of breakage.

  • Raku, stoneware or earthenware clay are all suitable.

  • If possible, pieces should be burnished at the leather hard stage which will enhance the pit fire patina.

  • Wheel thrown or hand built pots or sculptures are all suitable

  • Be aware that breakages are inevitable! A range of shapes and sizes will increase your chances of  success. Flat pieces usually break...

  • The pit measures 3' x 4' x 4' 

  • Do bring your own mask to use when handling oxides.

  • Do bring a woollen hat or scarf to protect your hair from the heat.

  • If you have any special dried flowers, do bring them to include on your own saggar.

£250 per person (Student rates available)

Maximum 6 participants. 

You can bring your own work or

Pre-order a mix of 6 wheel thrown, burnished and bisque fired pots from:-

£6 a small bowl approx 240ml

£12 a med bowl approx 300ml

£18 a large bowl approx 400ml

Pot orders are recorded on the booking form.


BBC 1 Countryfile filming a pit firing

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Obvara Workshop


New workshop coming for 2024! 

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