I developed a method of wet-firing for my BA back in 2001. There was an article printed in Ceramics Technical No 13. In 2003 I demonstrated this method during the International Ceramics Festival in Aberystwyth, Wales.
I used clay directly from a clay mine and made it into a porridge like mixture. In the pieces I made for my degree I didn’t clean the clay of anything but big stones. It had lots of iron pyrites etc and was the most glorious colour. It was a ball clay ‘contaminated’ by iron oxides – the clay lumps looked like sides of marbled beef.
I mixed the clay slop with fine hay – long strands of hay - not straw – which is too hard and brittle.
You need to use some sort of former / vehicle to get the hay/clay mix into the kiln.
I used broom handles, cardboard tubes etc for the standing forms – for the De-fragmented Disc Form I used an old satellite dish – always fired in a wood or gas kiln. As soon as the piece is made it was placed in the kiln - the Conical Form former was woven from various organic materials and placed directly, upside down on a kiln shelf. I then covered the former with the hay/clay mix and also applied a layer of porcelain slip over the hay/clay layer.
I found it much harder to do this method with refined clay – I think I was really lucky that the clay I had access to was so suitable – others weren’t so successful.
I loved working this way and was really sorry when I couldn’t get the method to work so well using other clays.