Upwey Potters Raku Firing

Last revised: 9th April 2013

The Upwey Potters are a group of ceramic artists who live & work in Upwey, Dorset, England, making and selling their work and running Workshops.

This page shows images and a brief description of the Raku firing by Bill Crumbleholme - one of the Upwey Potters.

A batch of Bill's Globes fresh from cleaning up.

A Raku Vase by Bill Crumbleholme.

A white stoneware body, thrown and turned. Biscuit fired to 950 deg C.

Copper Oxide rich glaze, affected by cooling in wood chippings when removed red hot from the Raku kiln. This promoted reduction of the glaze and formation of copper lustres and marked crackle.


Another of Bill's Raku Vases, with a zinc oxide white crackled glaze. The carbon from the smoke has stained the flaws in the glaze, pin pricks and crazing created by differential rates of expansion and contraction during firing of the glaze and the clay body.
The white stoneware body contains less iron oxide "impurities" than standard clay, so the white is whiter.

A copper carbonate glaze on white stoneware body, sprayed lightly with water as it was laid in the wood shavings (to promote the crackle effect).
A Raku glazed clock made by Carolyn - one of the students of Bill's Evening Class.

The Upwey Potter's Raku Kiln in action.

This design was featured in Ceramic Review magazine No 161.

It is lined with Carbo-wool, space age technology. Held within an iron frame lined with catering aluminium foil.

The side gas burner is at a tangent to promote a swirling motion (counter clockwise in northern hemisphere!)

The flue hole can be partially closed during firing to adjust escape of heat. It can be sealed when the kiln is waiting a fresh loading.

The thermocouple is poked through the side of the kiln to enable the temperature to be sensed. A visual inspection through the flue is used to check the glaze maturity.

A close up of the burner.

Bill Crumbleholme performing the amazing levitation to reveal the red hot pots sitting on their shelf.


The pots are immediately transfered using a pair of long tongs.

A wise man wears a filter mask, gloves and non-inflammable clothes!

The pots are turned upside down in an ammunition case, in a bed of wood shavings, which burst into flames removing the oxygen from the inside of the closed box as it cools.


The pots are left to cool for ten minutes, then moved onto a cooling rack for 5 more minutes and then plunged in water. Scrubbing with stainless steel wire wool removes the carbon residues.

A copper rich globe

Please contact Bill Crumbleholme for more information



Go to Beaker Folk Pottery (Bill Crumbleholme's)

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