women woodfirers


Sabine Nemet is a very busy woman. she makes lovely domestic pots, soda wood-fired in a kiln she built herself. but as well as that, she has a ten-year old daughter, Elsa, with her partner Nic Collins, she grows vegetables, she teaches, and she cooks and runs the family home – (of course Nic helps too). she makes gorgeous sour-dough bread, and she caters for the groups that the couple host for their workshops, several times a year, producing delicious meals.


trained in Germany, Sabine’s work ethic must come from her early years in East Germany, where life was serious and tough, material things were scarce, but women and men had absolutely equal education and job opportunities.


I think this is the first piece I bought from her, a long platter


with lots of nice crystalline green and soda spots hazing the imprinted marks. I very much like these repeated marks, which she impresses and fills with different glazes. this platter is great for serving anything you need to lay out flat, for instance, wafer thin slices of jamon serrano.


a big jar that I keep flour in.


I have four of these little porcelain bowls.


this bottle is lighter than you would think. potters in Germany are taught to throw in a very disciplined way, able to produce the same shape from the same weight of clay over and over.

although throwing the pots doesn’t need especial strength, just skill, patience and a good eye, plus the main thing, a real knowledge of what makes a good pot, strength is needed for the rest of a potter’s work – handling 25 kilo bags of materials, loading shelves into the kiln, lifting, cutting and carrying a lot of wood, building and rebuilding kilns. Sabine seems to be a strong person inside and out. she used to kick-box!


another woman woodfirer whose work I collect and use is Susanne Lukacs-Ringel.


she works on her own in Germany, firing an anagama, and a salt kiln. mostly she sells in markets, on the continent and here; you can usually find her at Art in Clay at Hatfield, and at Rufford for Earth and Fire. she works incredibly hard, and her pieces are beautiful, mostly tableware and sculptural handbuilt vessels. she does a lot in porcelain – these are more delicate than Sabine’s – and in stoneware. I use her plates all the time, and her porcelain cups I take a bit more care with. they make lovely presents too. buying wares from both these potters can be addictive, so some of my purchases go to friends and family.


another continental woman woodfirer I admire is Linda de Nil. I have this porcelain bowl and some beakers, but most of her work is more robust than this, and she throws gritty rough clays into large pieces.


the only English woman wood-firer I know is Pat Southwood in Norfolk; she fires a small fast fire wood kiln, and makes Japanese influenced pieces, using local materials as much as possible. there’s Patricia Shone, and Hannah McAndrew, who fires earthenware with wood, in Scotland and Micki Schloessingk who makes salt-glazed wood-fired pots in the Gower Peninsula.

it’s a tough life, being a potter, and to wood-fire is financially and physically even harder. you have to do it for the love of the thing. it has its rewards – the pots are richer and more complex – but most potters – here and in Europe – find it easier and simpler to use gas, or oil, or even electricity. to find women incorporating it into already busy lives is very special.



  1. gorgeous work. Have from time to time toyed with the notion of building a wood fired kiln here on the farm but so far there simply haven’t been enough hours in the day. Or perhaps the problem is I wasn’t raised in the GDR!

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