Most potters fire everything twice. The dried clay piece is first fired to a lower temperature to burn out material in the clay and to harden it so that it will withstand being dipped in wet glaze without falling apart. I normally "single fire" pieces- glaze is added to the unfired piece before it's bone dry. That saves fuel and time, but means that you have to be very careful to not break the brittle wares. For a klutz like me, this can be an issue. Thanks to Heather Gwinn for some of the better firing photos here.
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Green pots, covered in glaze, await the kiln. It helps if it's not raining- loading in bad weather can not only damage the unfired glaze, but being all cramped up in the kiln is about as comfortable as sleeping in a damp cave.
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