Oxidation Firing and Reduction Firing in Ceramics

Oxidation firing and reduction firing in ceramics are crucial techniques that greatly influence the final product’s color and texture through differences in oxygen supply during the firing process. Below, we will explain the characteristics and differences of each firing method.

Table of Contents
1. Oxidation Firing
2. Reduction Firing
3. Comparison and Conclusion

Oxidation Firing

Oxidation firing is a method of firing in which the kiln is supplied with sufficient oxygen. In this process, the abundant presence of oxygen promotes oxidation reactions. The features of oxidation firing are as follows.

Clarity of Color:

In oxidation firing, metal oxides that react with oxygen produce vibrant colors. For example, copper turns green or blue when oxidized, while iron shows red or brown.

Stable Results:

Because there is a plentiful supply of oxygen, the firing results tend to be stable, producing reproducible products.

Ease of Temperature Control:

In oxidation firing, maintaining a constant level of oxygen in the kiln is relatively easy, and temperature control is stable.

Reduction Firing

Reduction firing is a method of firing in which oxygen is limited within the kiln, causing incomplete combustion that reduces the oxygen levels. In this process, metal oxides are reduced, resulting in different colors and textures. The features of reduction firing are as follows.

Unique Colors:

In reduction firing, colors and textures that cannot be achieved in oxidation are produced. For example, copper shows red in a reduced state, and iron appears bluish-black or gray.

High Technical Requirements:

Reduction firing requires precise control of oxygen supply, demanding high skill and experience. Subtle adjustments in the kiln’s oxygen levels can yield desired results.

Diverse Expressions:

Reduction firing allows for diverse expressions not possible with oxidation firing, providing a means for potters to showcase their individuality.

Comparison and Conclusion

Oxidation firing and reduction firing each have distinct charms and characteristics. Oxidation firing is known for its stable colors and high reproducibility, making it suitable for works requiring vivid colors. On the other hand, reduction firing produces unique colors and textures, allowing for diverse expressions, making it ideal for creating distinctive works.

The choice of firing technique in ceramics depends on the purpose of the work and the artist’s intentions. Both firing methods can produce beautiful ceramics through skilled techniques and creativity.

In the world of ceramics, both oxidation and reduction firing are used to create diverse works. Understanding the characteristics of each firing method and selecting them appropriately allows ceramic artists to imbue their works with unique charm.

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