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Pottery/Firing To Bisque - Pottery With Lids


Could you give me specific reasons why you should always fire pieces with lids together?  I work in a community studio with volunteer loaders.  For some reason it is hard to make one volunteer understand that pieces with lids should be fired together.
Thank you.

Dear Ms. Mankin,

    Thank you for your recent question. The purpose for bisque firing, and glaze firing, lids with their matching pottery piece is to maintain uniform tightness between the lid and the lip of the pottery piece.

    When firing clay to bisque, shrinkage occurs for both pieces, however, pieces fired individually can warp just enough that the lid and pottery piece no longer match in diameter. For instance, the lid, being smaller in size, could warp just sitting on the drying shelf. This is why pieces are dried to green ware together.

    While the lip of the pot could also warp because of the force of heat from one side of the kiln, placing the lid on the pot allows them to expand and shrink at the same force so that they will continue to have the same round lip and the lid will be able to be nested inside the pot lip when finished.

    The same holds true when firing glaze ware. Although not as risky because most chemical waters have been removed during the bisque fire, there is a chance that the lid will warp or the lip of the pot will warp during glaze firing. Therefore, do not apply glaze where the two pieces meet. If you must apply glaze, stilt the lid and fire very slowly to allow the glaze chemical waters to evaporate at a slower rate. At turn off, allow the kiln to cool slowly too.

    If the volunteers do not understand your explanation, please feel free to print this answer and give it to them. If you or them have any questions, I will be happy to further explain or assist in any way possible with firing techniques.

    I hope this answers your question. Much luck to you.

Ms. Ti Phillips
Earth Stoke 'N Fire Pottery Studio and Artist Retreat


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Ti Phillips


Will answer any questions on hand building, wheel, glaze, firing. Speciality questions to include those in glaze calculation and development, firing techniques. Please do not send questions on identifying pottery. Although I would love to add this to my question topics, I have a retreat to run as well as the studio and volunteering on AllExperts, and therefore do not have the available time to research indentification and marks. Thank you for understanding.


Experience includes 30 years in pottery design and education. Have taught online and studio classes worldwide for the last 20 years. Own a pottery retreat specializing in firing techniques. Have 12 years solid experience in glaze calculation and formulation as well as problem solving in glaze chemistry. I am the first potter in the United States to have developed a complete package of pottery equipment blueprints for a studio. The blueprints include wheels, kilns, studio furniture, wedgeboards, raku kilns, slab rollers, ball mills and studio tools.

Alliance of Pottery Artists Worldwide Association

Ceramic Industry - PPP Wyndstryder Press - Pottery Journal

University of Sciences and Art's of Oklahoma, studied under Professor Jaymes Dudding.

Awards and Honors
Potter of the year with APAWA, various awards for showmanship and design.

Past/Present Clients
Available upon request.

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