An important and often unappreciated part of pottery making is firing. Although shaping and painting are the most common tasks people associate with pottery, firing the finished pots is a task left to specialists.
The humidity, wind strength and direction, and the air and firing temperature are few of the many variables that must be carefully monitored for a successful firing. In traditional Pueblo pottery-making, all of the firing variables are monitored by careful planning and through extensive experience without the use of modern thermal couples and kilns. Under the watchful eye of an experienced potter, the same clay that produces beautiful Blackware pottery can be overfired to produce a metallic luster known as a gunmetal finish.