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The Pit-fired Ocarina Process; Pictorial of the pit-fire process
Topic Started: 4 Jun 2008, 06:45 PM (783 Views)
omashanti
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Hi everyone!

Here are step by step photos of the pit-fire process i use to finish my ocarinas for the past 19yrs. It has firm roots in ancient world culture and is cool and fun to paint with fire. You can mix up the materials and other elements to create your own unique artwork as well. This is the stuff the art galleries like to put into their studios:)......enjoy!

Ok....so i don't know how many photo's i can post at a time so i'll do a series of installments.

Round one!
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DeepRed
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Taking a break from Signature requests
Wow those turtle shells look FAB! They look like little vanquished Koopas from Mario Bros! So uber cute! :) Cant wait to see the rest of the pics :)
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omashanti
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More pics:
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omashanti
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And more
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omashanti
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More samples from the pit
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Deleted User
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Thank you for sharing your process. Those are beautiful!

Do you also wrap with horsehair sometimes?
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Panch
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The Whistlemaker

These photos were a real help!
Would you mind telling us what kind of clay it is?
Are the ocarinas pre-fired, with this just being decoration... or is the temperature inside the barrel enough to fire them?
And sorry for all the questions, but if the barrel is intended to fire them, HOW do you get it so hot?
This is really interesting...
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omashanti
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Hi Eveyone!

i use a low fire smooooooth white clay body. High fire is available too, but i like the pitfire effect on lowfire more. i make the ocarinas extra thick to get nicer tone quality and a little more durrability....often asked"what do i do if i break it?"....i say "Well, i don't recomend breaking them...if you have a Les Paul Custom Electric guitar from the 60's(i wish) you should'nt break those either :poke: "

All of my peices are completely and utterly bisque fired in a kiln first. i used to sell plain white ones for decorate your own, kid projects.(don't decorate the kids! unless with ocarinas...you should've seen my daughter at X-mass, she looked like a x-mass tree with all the ocarinas :rolleyes: The pitfire process is indeed a finishing effect, i don't go for glazes and sparkly such, i like the crisp and clean with no caffeine, no artificial flavors or colors....100% all natural and organic!

As for horsey hair, my family on the pueblo does that, i mostly stick with my style of pitfire so that the galleries have a reason to call my work unique...they seem to like that sort of thing.

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Nonayourbeeswax
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Loves The Bagpipe

This is a really interesting topic. Thank you.
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Turbo852
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Very interesting! I like the way they look. Do you have any sounds samples?
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Turbo852
Jun 4 2008, 06:42 PM
sounds samples?

http://youtube.com/omashanti

He's fairly new to youtube posting ;)
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Eldurwen
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Inline Ocarinist x 2
Wow. That is sooooo cool!!! I would never have guessed how you did that! :cool: *wants a turtle shell ocarina now*
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omashanti
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How'd i do that? Each and every ocarina i make is hand carved and precision tuned for your playing pleasure and of course with the pitfire and all, each one is completely one of a kind.

Though i don't have the turtle sound samples YET, you can check out video's of my work at www.youtube.com/omashanti

Thanks to moonsyne for the assist :blink:

May the flutes be with you all padiwani

Prices for turtles to be posted on www.rareearthflutes.com soon with pics and sound bytes ihope if i can figure THAT out !

Prices will be Sopranino $80(shrill), Soprano $120, Alto $140, Tenor $160, Bass $200, Contra-Bass $250.

All are what i call my Cadillac model:6 holes, with five holes giving you Do Re Me Fa Sol La Ti Do Re...(one ocatave and a note) and the sixth hole is the half step sharp key on most all the notes...so no more half holing or crazy cross fingers. Out of the country orders will be priced according to shipping rates, please contact via e-mail for inquiries.

Gratzi mon amigos!
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Deleted User
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There is such variety! Can a potential buyer ask for photos of a selection on which to choose from?
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speckles
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I’ve been hypnotized

omashanti
Jun 5 2008, 03:13 AM
Prices will be Sopranino $80(shrill), Soprano $120, Alto $140, Tenor $160, Bass $200, Contra-Bass $250.

Your ocarinas are lovely! :D
What are the dimensions of your Contra-Bass, and what is the lowest note it plays? (Compared to the Langley Mega Bass), which appears to be about the size of a basketball from pictures I've seen. Its lowest note is G, about 1 1/2 octaves below middle C.
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Seresúl
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Has OcariDNA
Those look so unique, I love the look of them. Thanks for showing this process.
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omashanti
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new...Bigger ...BETTER!!! pics of turtle shells over on the ocs for sale section look at .....Ocarinas by ME! Shows more dimentions etc etc.
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shadowyi
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dysfunctional family
Thank you so much for posting pictures of your process! This is one of the most interesting topics yet!

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but if the barrel is intended to fire them, HOW do you get it so hot?
This is really interesting...


I can explain the theory a bit (yay environmental science class! I can't believe it's actually useful lol). I believe the barrel is acting a bit like a kiln, it traps the heat inside while allowing some oxygen to feed to flame, making it burn brighter and hotter. If you look at pictures of old kilns, they're pretty much all barrels half buried in the ground.

I think it's wonderful that you do it this way, nothing unduly harms the environment, and your ocarinas have a very natural feel to them. Plus, this DIY style seems easy to replicate in one's backyard, encouraging more people to experiment making ocarinas!
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They are pre-fired. The barrel treatment is purely for decoration! :wub:

It's a wonderful alternative to slick and shiny glazing.
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Surielarias
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HELP ME!!! Oi Cannae Think O' Anythin'!!
So, omashanti, do you know of any way to do a bisque firing with a pit firing technique? I would like to know, because I do not own a kiln.
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omashanti
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Ok my first 500 or so ocarinas i used no kiln at all, just a pit fire (in a hole i dug in the ground) I experimented with variuos hard wood chips and sawdust, but never realy got anything to fully fire. so after i started getting better and knew my place in the ocarina world to come(this was back then in a galaxy far far away) ofcourse i had to make my clay fired all the way as part of the quality assurance thus i started using a kiln. Bear in mind i am completely self taught(the only one i have ever met) with no books classes or even any clay working experience. Just dove in head first and fell in love with ocarinas imediately.

Bottom line is ...yes you can fire in the ground and reach low fire temps, however the equipment and fuel consumption is harder to come by than one might think. try researching native american pit fire techniques on line for more detailed info.

also, i don't have time for long fireing process as i can barely keep up with the demand for my ocarinas. Seems that with notoriety come the task of hard work just to keep up.

hope that helps some!
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sibeliusfan
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Transverse Ocarinist x 2
These are fabulous! I love the shapes of your ocarinas, and the pit firing is totally cool.
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DeepRed
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Taking a break from Signature requests
We used to get cool effects by throwing random stuff onto the clay before firing- dried rice has a great effect when fired on the clay, especially burnished. If anyone here has kiln access give it a go- it's great fun! Rice, straw, wool/horsehair, sawdust, even cornflakes! lol
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OcarinaTycoon
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Amateur Ocarina Maker
Is it possible to use briquettes and fire ocs on a barbeque? I can't afford to keep going to the ceramics place and pay 5 bucks per oc to get it fired, and if I can use briquettes on the barbie I can fire like 10 or more at a time. Is that possible?
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DeepRed
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Taking a break from Signature requests
This might have been better as a new thread, since this is a pretty old topic, but anyway..
I doubt a barbeque would get hot enough to fire an oc, or fire it evenly since all the heat is at the bottom. Did you look at OmShanti's techniques of pit firing? I think he uses an old oil drum, but you can also do it by digging a pit and filling it with fuel. Just don't do it in your mum's garden :)
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Deleted User
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The ocarinas are kiln fired first, then this process is done to decorate them.
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speckles
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I’ve been hypnotized

OcarinaTycoon
4 Oct 2008, 12:02 AM
Is it possible to use briquettes and fire ocs on a barbeque?
Pit-firing has uneven temperatures, which is stressful to the clay. Previously-fired (bisqued) pottery is porous, and is is better able to withstand the thermal shock.
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OcarinaTycoon
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speckles
4 Oct 2008, 11:14 AM
Pit-firing has uneven temperatures, which is stressful to the clay. Previously-fired (bisqued) pottery is porous, and is is better able to withstand the thermal shock.
The reason I'm asking is because the economy is doing nothing good for our family, and I'm going to try to make a pit-fire kiln with a 55-gallon drum and my dad made a smoker out of a very old refrigerator (1950's). I figured I should keep to the Native American roots that is in my family and keep it as natural a process as possible. Plus, facing surgery and unable to work, money's tight around here. Anything to get me going will help out :)
Edited by OcarinaTycoon, 6 Oct 2008, 08:37 AM.
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DeepRed
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I'm sure there are lots of how-to's on the net showing how to build your own firing pit :) might be worth looking up! :D
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There are also no-bake clays that people have used to make ocarinas with.
I think that they can be fired like this to add decoration.
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OcarinaTycoon
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Amateur Ocarina Maker
Right on, Moonsyne and Deepred, thanks for your help! I'll be looking into pit firing kiln building instructions!

Speckles, when the people made pottery before electricity, they pretty much used the pit-firing technique. I'll be trying to perfect that technique with experiences that I can learn from it. :)
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speckles
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I’ve been hypnotized

OcarinaTycoon
6 Oct 2008, 05:39 PM
Speckles, when the people made pottery before electricity, they pretty much used the pit-firing technique. I'll be trying to perfect that technique with experiences that I can learn from it. :)
That's so true. :)
Some people use saggers (pre-fired ceramic boxes that can be used again and again). These can be stacked, thus protecting the pottery from shifting as the fuel burns away.
I remember back in elementry school we were shown a film of a Native American woman pit-firing her pots They were exquisitely decorated and burnished. The pots were placed in a shallow pit in the ground, and dried cow dung patties were the main fuel. Pieces of sheet metal, old car license plates, and metal trash can lids were pilled on top for insulation.
Once the firing was finished, and the coverings were removed, many of the pots were broken.:( This was partly due to uneven firing temperatures and the pots shifting. Those pots were the gorgeous black on black decorated ones.
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