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An interview with

Made OF Australia's founder

Anna-Marie Wallace in

The Journal of Australian Ceramics




Liquid Quartz


saggar firing

The somewhat unorthadox method used to achieve Made OF Australia's unique & unrepeatable surface finishes is called Saggar Firing; an ancient & unconventional process that uses natural, organic waste materials to make marks on the surface of the clay instead of chemical glazes.

Saggar fired ceramics are the result of mixing the earthly elements of earth, water, air & fire (& perhaps a little aether?) in just the right quantities, for just the right length of time, with just the right combination of each in order to attain something transcendent from something as base as dirt & organic waste; it is pure alchemy.

Made OF Australia utilises native flora [Eucalyptus leaves, Blackbutt & Redgum bark, flowers & foliage from Wattle, Banksia & She-Oak trees, Pandanus, Quandong & Kutjera fruit, Bunya & Macadamia nut husks & shells], gifts from the sea [seaweeds & sea grasses, cuttlefish, seashells, calcified ocean plants & corals], & organic waste from indigenous Australian fauna [emu & crocodile eggshell, discarded skins from reptiles & arachnids, even scat from wombat, kangaroo, wallaby, pademelon, emu & koala]. These ingredients are often seasonal or their chemical compounds change with climatic conditions & foraging areas.

These earthly elements are sealed inside purpose built containers (called saggars), together with the ceramics, & fired at temperatures reaching nearing 1000°C. This controlled combustion & containment transforms these ingredients from solid to gas, releasing the naturally occuring minerals & organic compounds found within. When unable to escape into the atmosphere, these opportunistic vapours instead permeate the surface of the clay, creating an unpredictable & unrepeatable transference of colour, pattern & texture, which permanently fuses with the clay body, resulting in a completely spontaneous & natural surface decoration without the need for any chemical glazes whatsoever. The pieces are then sealed with Liquid Quartz for stain resistance & food safety.

As you can imagine, firing this way means that each & every work of art produced by Made OF Australia is as unique & individual as the person who owns it. No two pieces are alike.

You can see first hand how it is done in the short documentary about Made OF Australia above; Harnessing the Elements, by Michel Marondé.

the building of "Caia the Kiln"

Made OF Australia now uses a dual burner, gas fired brick kiln, much larger than the one shown in Harnessing the Elements.

The videos below show "Caia the Kiln", the mother of the baby kiln above, being built on the Gold Coast & in the Goonengerry hinterland at Anna-Marie's present Gallery & Studio, 30 minutes inland from Byron Bay, in the conservation area of Nightcap National Park, where saggar firing workshops are held throughout the year.

She is aptly named after the Roman Goddess of fire, the hearth, healing, & women...Caia (or Gaia) Caecilia.

All images ©Anna-Marie Wallace, please email to enquire about using images from this website for public display / press purposes.