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1-Day Barrel Firing Pottery Workshop with Patricia Millar Ceramics

20 Isle Road, Lisnagunogue, Bushmills, Antrim, BT57 8XR
peoples' hands are painting small round pots
  • peoples' hands are painting small round pots
  • colourful ceramic pots featuring pink tones after the firing process
  • people pack barrels with wooden sticks
  • smoke rises from two barrels that are being used to fire pots
  • Barrel fired bowls
  • Ceramic pots after the barrel-firing process, surrounded by clay and ash


One Day Barrel Firing Workshops with Patricia Millar Ceramics at her remote studio in Lisnagunogue

Learn to fire pottery without a kiln! Patricia Millar, an expert potter, will guide you through the process of barrel firing - a technique which involves stacking ceramic items inside a metal barrel, along with combustible materials such as sawdust, seaweed and other organic materials. The barrel is then set alight, allowing the organic materials to combust which mark the pots with unique colours.

On this Barrel Firing workshop, you'll have the opportunity to decorate your pots (provided*) with designs inspired by neolithic rock art. You'll aso learn how to use oxides and organics to add colour before packing and firing a metal barrel. Finally, Patricia will teach you how to clean and seal your beautiful pots.

*You are also welcome to bring your own pots and you will add them to the firing, space permitting. Any clay is suitable but bisqued to no more than 900oC. Unfired pots can be included but do carry a greater risk of breakage, of course.

Morning session 10am – 1pm

The workshop begins with a short introduction to Barrel firing. Learn about pot preparation, terra sigillata and burnishing and decorate pots inspired by local neolithic rock art.

Make simple foil saggars, learning what colours you can achieve with different oxides and organics, while learning the crucial health and safety practices around barrel firing.

You will pack the barrels and learn how to layer fuel to achieve an even firing with maximum heat work. Patricia will guide you on how to tend to the firing to achieve a reducing atmosphere.


Light vegetarian lunch provided with a chance to chat and browse books on alternative firing techniques. As you wait for the barrels to burn out there is an opportunity to visit Ballintoy or The Boat House Gallery, depending on the weather.

Afternoon session 3pm - 5pm

Unpack the barrels and learn how to clean and seal your pots before taking them home!

This day course includes a vegetarian lunch, all materials, including 4 pots (approx. 240ml) Max 6 participants.



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Opening Times

Season (17 Aug 2024)
Saturday10:00 - 17:00
Season (31 Aug 2024)
Saturday10:00 - 17:00
Season (28 Sept 2024)
Saturday10:00 - 17:00

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Patricia reaches for dried grass in her workshopPatricia Millar Ceramic Studio, BushmillsA clay studio minutes from the Giant’s Causeway, Patricia’s work uses local clays and materials to capture the unique colour signature and forms of the Causeway Coast's landscape.

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