burnished pit fired vessels & bowls

Firing pottery in an open bonfire is the one of the oldest methods of firing clay to obtain both hardness and surface markings. Older cultures found ways to compress or polish the surface (burnishing) of a clay piece using a smooth stone. This burnishing added strength, helped the piece to be more watertight, and gave a beautiful glossy surface.

In the United States these techniques are still employed by the Pueblo Native Americans of the Southwest. In the early ‘70s when I began experimenting with burnishing and open pit firing, I studied these Pueblo Native American techniques. The Pueblo Native Americans do not dig a pit for firing but instead fire directly on the ground. Because of this influence in my early studies, I fire in a very shallow depression on the beach. My first pieces were very sculptural. Later, after spending time in the southwest, I began making vessels based on the exquisite Pueblo shapes.