Shirley Sheppard


"These photos show both the making of my works and the firing. As many sculptures are wood fired this requires many hands. Firstly at Rufford wood firing group, now often at the International Ceramics Centre in Hungary. But no matter where, the firing is a very important part of my sculptures and those I fire with are also close to me in their love of the same. My thanks go to them"

My work is at blandscliff gallery and studio, 9 Blands Cliff, Scarborough UK and other selected galleries


Several firings of the Large Fred Olsen Kiln at ICS in Hungary

  Jacob begins stacking a days stacking completed Early rising at 2am to begin firing
  The first fire box is underway Enico stocking at temp1200 deg. Night time flame
  Jacob and Klari always smiling

After 16 hours firing

at 1280 degrees, the kiln is sealed.

Klari and me.

Without the help of her and Jacob

and all the team, I couldn't do it.


The firing log shows what happened when and what we did. Very important for future firings.

We now wait 2 to 3 days for the kiln to cool down and we can open it up.

Enico ..Relaxed exhaustion

  3 days later the kiln can be opened Jacob begins unpacking Sleeping beauty awakes

The use of shells in wood firing

As ash is a nauiral glaze all pieces in wood firing need to be held off the shelves. Normally this is done with wadding. Shells however have the amazing property of supporting even heavy pieces, leaving interesting marks, yet once touched after firing they turn to powder in your hands.


Klari and Jacob with their Kiln Gods.Every firing they are made for luck and to thank them.

My seagull god in the cabinet of the Gods
  Making of works  
  Carving a cruved piece A slab is rolled, the landscape pressed into it, then gently wrapped around the form. Slowly the body shape is established by pushing and stretching the clay.

In making a mould for the lithophane lamp base, Enico threw the clay bowl for me, then a mould was made into which slip porcelain is poured, then finished off slowly by hand to form the light and mounting structure.


Lithophane: the design is carved into a plaster slab. Bone China slip is then poured in a thin layer over it. The resulting piece is cleaned then fired. With the lighting underneath the negative image becomes a positive.


Each sculpture is built up from the feet adding coils of clay. The only tool I use is a piece of 4x2 wood to and my hands to push, bash and cajole the clay.

  Several firings of the Fred Olsen Fast Fire Kiln at ICS in Hungary  
  Firing with Adam

First one fire box is lit, later the second

  Before Hanging of the firing cone. As a temperature is reached the cone bends After

A successful firing often has its accidents and a glaze running, ruining a shelf, requiring forced extracting of the sculpture followed later with its rebuilding, is part of the uniqueness.

  Raku Firing at ICS in Hungary  
  Sue and I examine the results

< Enico unloading the oil raku

Not ideal for the face mask!! OR??

> then the reward !!

  Firing my larger gas kiln at home  
  Firing the Anagama kiln at Rufford  
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