Our Facility

Higher Fire is located in a wonderful, renovated warehouse in downtown San Jose's SoFA district.

The Hi-Fi Gallery is at the front of the building with big picture windows allowing passersby to window-shop and see what we're up to in studio. The main teaching studio, members' studio, and kiln & glazing rooms are situated in the middle of the building.

There's a convenient side entry for members and students on William Street. Offices and storage are located at the rear of the building, and occasionally we spill out into our side yard for raku, pit, and other alternative firings.

The Main Studio

The main studio is home to the following:

  • Wheel-throwing classroom
  • Multi-purpose classroom
  • Members' Studio
  • Private Studios
  • Glaze Studio
  • Restrooms/Lockers
  • Library/Lounge

You will find a selection of cone 10 clays, pottery wheels, work tables, glazing area, kilns, shelving for greenware and bisqueware, member shelves and private studios, and two ADA-compliant restrooms. Lockers are available for rent, providing a convenient place to stow your tools and clay.

Higher Fire also has a small lounge area where members can take a break and relax, or eat a meal before class. The lounge area is complete with microwave and refrigerator. We encourage students to browse our library of ceramics-related books and back issues of popular periodicals like Ceramics Monthly, Pottery Making Illustrated, and Clay Times.

Clay and Glaze

Dan's secret rutile glazeAt Higher Fire, our goal is to provide a gorgeous selection of food-safe, lead-free, durable stoneware clays and glazes. We feature popular, locally-made stoneware and porcelain clays from Clay Planet and Laguna, such as T-2, Soldate 60, Bravo Buff, Cinnamon, 612, Orion Stout, Grogzilla, B-Mix, Glacia, Pier Porcelain, Sculpture/Raku, and more.

In our glaze room, you'll find many tried and true favorites like Peachy Black Temmoku, Oxblood Red, Satin Celadon, Berry Rust, Sapphire Blue, Leach White, Reitz Green and Dan's Secret Rutile. We also have a selection of shinos and ash-type glazes.

For a complete list of glazes, underglazes, oxides, and slips, visit the glaze studio! Browse samples on our glaze board, or ask your instructor about what's new…we're always on the lookout for new studio glazes and test new recipes regularly.

Please note that Higher Fire's clay prices include firing costs (bisque & glaze) as well as the time and materials needed to maintain studio glazes. ANY CLAY purchased outside our studio must be inspected by the owner before being used at Higher Fire. Clay of unknown origin may NOT be used anywhere in the studio, as it puts everyone's work, as well as our kilns and shelves, at great risk for expensive damage and loss. Clay purchased outside our studio that is approved for use will be subject to firing fees which include use of glazes.

Kilns

Higher Fire KilnAt Higher Fire we take great pride in the way we fire our kilns. Firing is one of the most important aspects of the pottery-making process, and we're always striving to get the results our students and members hope for in their work.

Electric Kilns: Bisque Firing (Cone 06)

We have 2 electric kilns that we use for bisque firing and extended dry-out for sculptural items. Generally, we favor using our larger gas kiln for regular bisque firings once per week because of the gas kiln's efficiency. However, work requiring extra long dry-out time or other special firing requirements can be handled by our computer-programmable electric kilns.

Gas Kiln: Cone 10 Reduction & Bisque Firing

At Higher Fire, we love the look and feel of cone 10 reduction glazes! We are fortunate to have the most energy efficient, even-firing pottery kiln on the market – a Bailey 40 cubic foot 2-car downdraft shuttle. With two cars, we can load the kiln while the current firing is finishing. Our goal is to cycle member and student work through as quickly as possible, so you can take your pottery home and enjoy it!



Studio Equipment

Classroom/member equipment located in the main studio includes:

  • 6 – Brent CXC electric wheels
  • 6 – Bailey 1hp electric wheels
  • 6 – Shimpo Whisper & RK electric wheels
  • 2 - slab rollers
  • 2 - extruders with solid & hollow-form dies
  • 1 - large wedging table
  • Ware boards, plastic wrapping, water buckets, and clean-up sponges galore! SMILE

In our warehouse, we have a Peter Pugger de-airing clay mixer. Higher Fire can create custom clay blends for a nominal fee. We also offer reclaimed studio clay for sale as a lower cost alternative to purchasing new clay. Use of the Peter Pugger is restricted to staff and designated members.


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