• by vinux

Previously in our chat with pottery friends, we discussed the issue of firing purple clay teapots. We found that many of them thought that “the current purple clay teapot is still fired once like before,” and some even thought that “if it has to be fired twice, it means the craftsmanship is not up to standard.”

So, why did we used to burn it once and now have to do it twice? Is it better to burn it once or twice? Let’s take a look below.

One burn and two burns.

Before the Republic of China, DingShu had not yet adopted modern kiln firing technology and mostly used Dragon Kiln for firing. However, the controllability of Dragon Kilns was very poor, and each additional firing would increase the risk of damage to the ware. Therefore, teapots were usually fired once.

This has also brought up a problem, that of the lid of the pot. Very few masters would be able to achieve a perfectly sealed lid, unless they are very skilled in handling mud, but such is a rare occurrence.

With the development of modern technology, the use of new kilns such as pusher kiln and electric kiln makes temperature very well controlled. People have high requirements for craftsmanship. In order to achieve tight and smooth turning of the lid, the two-burn process was developed.

The first firing is done at a low temperature. After being fired, the mouth of the pot is polished with emery powder. Then it is fired again. This kind of finished pot has an impeccably tight lid, which is what people in the industry call “whole mouth”.

Some pots, after the second firing, find that the sand color is not ideal, so they are fired in the kiln for a third time.

Of course, the more times it is burned, the higher the degree of crystallization, and the risk of burning is also higher.

Additionally, the pot after the first firing must not be washed; otherwise, there will definitely be problems when firing it a second time, and bubbles will form.

Once is good, but multiple times is better.

After understanding the reasons for firing once and twice, I believe everyone has a clear understanding in their hearts that this is entirely a matter of process, and there is no good or bad.

Not every pot will be perfect after one firing, and many lids can have problems; it is also not necessary to fire a pot multiple times to get better results – too much firing can even damage the pot or change its glaze.

No matter how many times it is fired, as long as it can finally present us with an instrument that is as close to perfect as possible, then it is good technology and worth pursuing.

Pottery enthusiasts should take a rational and correct attitude towards single-firing and multiple-firing.

Off-topic: I had a great time catching up with old friends.

Many merchants when selling purple sand pots, will claim that it is “ancient method of firing”(especially in the recently popular teapot made of charcoal fired clay), at this time we can ponder what does ancient method of firing means? Generally, we can understand it as fired by Longyao kiln and finished in one firing.

Nowadays, the last remaining Qianlong kiln is mostly used to fire flowerpots, and from what I know, the cinders fired pot is usually fired several times. Where is such a pot fired with ancient methods?

Therefore, pottery friends should think twice before buying any pottery that is labeled “ancient method of firing” in the future.