How to Fire Bisque Pottery in a Conventional Oven

Written by kellyb
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How to Fire Bisque Pottery in a Conventional Oven
(Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)

Bisque is a special kind of porcelain or pottery, praised for its raw and natural look and feel. Basically, bisque is plain white ceramic ware that is treated with fire but not glazed. Although this may seem as though it would result in an unfinished look, bisqueware actually looks quite refined because of its soft ivory colour and tender forms. Today, the term ‘bisque’ is often used to describe all kinds of white and unglazed pottery. In order to fire bisque in a conventional oven, it must be made of low-fire white clay; regular clay needs much higher temperatures to fire than a conventional oven can provide.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Baking tray
  • Baking paper
  • Oven gloves

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  1. 1

    Inspect the piece of bisque pottery before firing it. Make sure there are no cracks or dents in the piece. Rinse it to remove any dirt or dust from the surface, especially if there are small wrinkles and holes that might collect dust particles. Make sure to let the piece air dry before putting it into the oven.

  2. 2

    Preheat your oven to 121 degrees Celsius and leave it empty for at least 10 minutes. This way, you will achieve an even temperature in the whole oven and prepare it for the firing process.

  3. 3

    Place the bisque pottery piece on a baking tray covered with baking (parchment) paper and put the sheet into your oven. Make sure that the object is standing in the same way it will be once it’s done.

  4. 4

    Leave the temperature at 121 degrees Celsius. If you set a higher temperature, the object might crack because the water from the clay will be evaporating too fast. If you set a lower temperature, the clay won’t dry properly. Think of this part of the process more as drying than firing.

  5. 5

    Allow the bisqueware to dry and fire thoroughly and properly. This part of the process will take between 25 minutes for a thin piece and 90 minutes for a thick piece.

  6. 6

    Turn off the oven and open the door. Let the bisque piece cool off a little before removing it, along with the tray and the baking paper. Use oven gloves to move the tray or the pottery.

  7. 7

    Place the pottery on a flat surface to cool off completely.

Tips and warnings

  • Remember that one of the most distinctive characteristics of bisque pottery is its porous structure. So, because it absorbs water, it is best to use your bisqueware for decoration only.
  • Always use oven gloves when taking things out of a hot over and never check the temperature of pottery with your bare hands.

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