Helena Brennan

Artist Potter Specialising in Hand Thrown Porcelain

Introduction to Helena Brennan’s studio work


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Hi there..this is my first blog….I am blogging to spread the news of my kiln firings and experiments by publishing photos of the most successful pieces as they come from the kiln- warm like new laid eggs. After 40 years making in Dun Laoghaire last Autumn (2009) I built a high firing gas catenary arch kiln by my cottage studio near Avoca. I have had 12 firings and successfully made both stoneware and translucent porcelain. Firing the pots in a smoky atmosphere to 1265degrees centigrade over 12 hours and using copper oxide in the glaze recipe has given me lime green to damson and cherry red on the one piece. I find this very beautiful as it evokes a evening sky and yet will last for thousands of years and can be handled daily as you sup your coffee or tea.

Three of the firings have been Bisque to 920C. These are the firings which turn the clay irreversibly into pottery. Biscuit firing by gas is very hazardous as the pottery can be shattered so easily by the too sudden application of a naked flame so I bring the temperature up slowly over several hours to 100C with electric torches (paint stripping torches) before very carefully lighting the gas burners. Normally the bisque firing will last longer than the subsequent glaze firing depending on the thickness of the pieces, the dryness of them and the size of the kiln.