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London Potters: Woodfiring with Dr Robin Wilson @Oxford University Kilns

May 4, 2022 @ 10:00 am - May 8, 2022 @ 3:00 pm

London Potters are organising a unique opportunity to learn how to fire your own work in an anagama style wood kiln at the Oxford University Kilns, under the instruction of researcher and expert kiln-firer Dr Robin Wilson and his team.

Twelve London Potters members will make up the firing team and will learn to load, fire and stoke the kiln over five days 4th – 8th May(residential), and unload the kiln a week later on the 14th May. PLEASE ENSURE YOU CAN ATTEND ALL DATES INCLUDING THE KILN OPENING ON THE 14TH MAY BEFORE YOU MAKE THE BOOKING.


On days 1 and 2 (4/5 May), the firing team will load the kiln. On days 3 to 5 (6/7/8 May), in shifts for a continuous 24 hours during these 3 days, the kiln will be fired. After seven days of cooling, Day 6 (14 May) of the  course will be the unloading of the kiln and discussion of the results. Those who fired the kiln will be expected to share their experience during the kiln opening with the public and other London Potters members who attend the results discussion.

The firing team will be allocated shelf space as part of this firing and the remainder of the kiln load will come from pots submitted by London Potters members (available to book separately)

Please read the detailed instructions below carefully before booking this event.

Dates & Times:


(i)  Loading & Firing

4th – 8th May 2022

Arrival 10:00am 4th May

Departure 3:00pm 8th May

(ii)  Kiln Opening & Results Discussion

14th May 2022 10:00am – 4:00pm

Venue: Wytham Woods, University of Oxford (OX2 8QQ)
Cost: £350 Members* (Log in to book)

£385 Non Members* (Email events@Londonpotters.com to book)

Excludes accommodation & food

Booking Deadline: 25th April 2022
# Attendees: Minimum 8 Maximum 12

If we do not reach minimum of 8 attendees, the course may be cancelled at the discretion of the course tutor. If the course is cancelled, then the fees will be fully refunded.


Janet White

Email: Events@Londonpotters.com


*Please note that the course fee is exclusive of food / travel to and from Oxford. The firing team will cook and eat together on site, with meal/cooking ingredients costs split between participants. A follow up form to the firing team to gather information about dietary requirements will follow.

There is no charge to camp on site, and this is recommended for those who are willing/able. There are shower and toilet facilities on site. Please see below for detailed information of what you can expect from the course.


Course Details

It is important, before you commit to a firing like this, that you understand what exactly you are signing up for. The information below breaks down what you can expect from the course at the Oxford University Kilns led by Dr Robin Wilson. If you commit to the firing, it is essential that you do not cancel as this could put the firing in jeopardy for the whole team involved, and as such please read all of the information carefully before making a booking. Please feel free to contact event@londonpotters.com with any questions you may have before committing to the firing.

General Information

The kiln requires stoking 24hrs/day during the firing, which means that firing teams will be working round the clock and you will end up doing at least one night shift. There is a lot of laborious tasks involved such as chopping and moving wood, moving kiln shelves and so on. Firing the kiln itself is hot, tiring, but very exciting work. As part of the course, you will be taught the tasks to be performed. However, no one will be expected to do something they are not comfortable with/do not feel they can do safely.

It is important to note that the firing team will be responsible for managing the campsite as well as firing the kiln. This includes: cooking communally, keeping the kiln site clean and tidy, disposing of rubbish etc – it is not only the glitz and glamour of firing the kiln!

It is also important to look after each other and keep well hydrated and fed. As such communal meals will be planned to support those firing the kiln. A list of items that we recommend for you to bring to make the firing comfortable and enjoyable will follow.

What you will learn

You will be guided through the various demands of the different stages of firing a kiln of anagama design by Dr Robin Wilson. You’ll understand what impacts decorative effects (pots will go into the kiln unglazed and will develop their decorative character by the interplay of the ash, embers, atmosphere etc of the kiln), and learn how to stoke and load the kilns. You will be spending an intense period of time with fellow potters, so you are also likely to learn a lot from each other, and most likely make friends that will last a lifetime!


Pitching a tent onsite is free of charge, and there are washing and lavatory facilities on site. The experience of woodfiring is an all-encompassing experience and so it is recommended that you camp if you are able to. There are limited B&B offerings in the area which can be booked at your own expense, but punctuality for your shifts for firing the kiln is essential for the well being of other firing team members, so please be on time if you decide to not camp.


You can access the kiln site by a 10 minute taxi from Oxford station, or park on site for free. There is very limited public transportation. More details will be sent to the confirmed firing team in due course.

Dates & Times

Loading & Firing: 4th May – 8th May

  • Attendees are required to arrive by 10:00am on the 4th May 2022 for the beginning of the course
  • The firing is expected to complete by 8th May 3:00pm

Kiln Opening & Unloading: 14th May

  • Attendees are required to arrive by 10:00am on the 14th May for kiln opening and unloading
  • The attendees can disperse by 3:00pm following the Woodfiring Results Discussion

 Guide timeline

  • 4th May Wednesday 10:00am-4:00pm: Organise and begin loading the pots in the kiln. Theory of how these kilns are loaded will be taught. Wadding of pots for decorative effects
  • 5th May Thursday 10:00am-4:00pm: Continue to load the kiln
  • 6th May Friday 10:00am Light the kiln. From then on the kiln will be stoked by teams 24hr/day. Expect two shifts of around 4 hours on the kiln each day, with the additional responsibility of preparing one meal for the whole group at specified meal times. Exact timings will depend on the final size of the firing team, and will be confirmed in due course
  • 8th May Sunday 3:00pm (approx.) Firing finished and kiln sealed to cool slowly. Clean up the camp site and dispose of any rubbish
  • 14th May Saturday (following week). 10:00am: Open the kiln and see results, discussed with other LP members. Once the kiln is unloaded, prepare the kiln for the next team (apply kiln wash, grinding etc). 2:00pm – 3:00pm: Be part of the team to share your experience and discuss results with other London Potters members who bought a ticket to submit their pots for firing and attend the results discussion. Depart after the results discussion at 3:00pm

 Woodfiring Shifts

  • During the firing stage of the course (6th – 8th May), a rota will be created for the woodfiring team to attend the fire. The firing leader will support teams and advise if things are going wrong
  • All attendees will be expected to cover overnight shifts


  • For the full woodfiring experience, it is recommended that the firing team are onsite during the event
  • A campsite with washing facilities is provided free of charge on site
  • Attendees are required to bring their own tent, sleeping bags toiletries and other personal amenities
  • If you do not wish to camp on site you can make your own accommodation arrangements, but you must be on site in time to prepare meals/ fire the kiln as specified by the rota


  • Free parking is available on site


  • Safety equipment will be provided and a full safety briefing given onsite
  • Please bring a cloth face covering
  • Do not wear synthetic fabrics of any kind
  • Bring kiln gloves and goggles if you have them


  • Food is not included in the fees
  • During the course, attendees will take part in the planning, shopping and making of all meals and drinks

Shelf Space

  • Each attendee is allocated shelf space measuring approximately 24 inch (width) x 8 inch (length) x 8 inch(height)
  • You can create as many pots as you like to occupy this space
  • Members of the firing team are encouraged to bring more than their allocated space, as any additional space will be given to those firing the kiln. However, there is no guarantee all pots will be fired as the loading cannot be judged until all pots are on site. You will learn about this as part of the course
  • To illustrate the space, this equates to 8 pots if each pot is 4.8inch (width) x 4.8 inch (length) x 8 inch (height)

Pots for firing

  • Please bring to the firing your bisqued pots
  • NO glazes are allowed in this firing
  • All pots must be clearly marked with your maker’s mark
  • Email two photos by the 26th April for EACH pot showing
    • (a) the pot
    • (b) the makers mark on the pot to LPWoodFiring@gmail.com
    • (c) use something to show scale e.g. a 50p coin as part of the photo. This is for cataloguing as pots are often difficult to recognise after firing.
  • Please use this naming convention for your files e.g.:
    • Pot 1: firstname.lastname.1a.jpeg and firstname.lastname.1b.jpeg
    • Pot 2: firstname.lastname.2a.jpeg and firstname.lastname.2b.jpeg
    • etc

Recommended Clay

For clay body, we recommend:

  • Reduction St Thomas – Dark brown, high iron
  • Ashraf Hanna – White body, red flashes
  • Svend Bayer – Designed for extended wood firings

Any clay that fires to 1300 will also work as they will not melt.


  • Due to the nature of these kilns, we cannot guarantee
    • that all your pots will be fired
    • if your pots – within the allocated shelf size – cannot be fired during this firing, we will aim to fire it in a future firing
    • that your pots will survive the firing- the process is high risk and accidents happen
    • how the pots will look as a result of the firing

The Oxford University Kilns Instagram page will give you a good idea of the kinds of pots these kilns produce, and a bi of what you can expect from your experience. @oxforduniversitykilns on Instagram


May 4, 2022 @ 10:00 am
May 8, 2022 @ 3:00 pm
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Janet White


Wytham Woods, University of Oxford OX2 8QQ
Oxford, OX2 8QQ United Kingdom + Google Map


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