The term "saggar" originally meant "to protect" and was first used by the Chinese to keep the wood ash off their pottery when firing in wood fired kilns. Today saggars are used to produce the complete opposite effect because they now isolate the work during the firing and contain the fumes round it so as to pick up any colour. My pieces are placed separately inside lidded clay or metal containers (saggars) in my raku kiln together with all kinds of combustibles similar to those used in barrel firing as well as organic materials such as seaweed, salt soaked hay, dried coffee grounds and foliage collected from my own garden depending on what effect I am trying to achieve. This kind of method usually produces more muted colours than barrel firing.
Each firing, whether it is barrel fired or saggar fired, is totally unpredictable because there are so many variables but that's what makes the process so exciting. I never know what I will find and sometimes the pieces are really good and sometimes they may need to be fired several times to achieve the surface effect I am looking for. None of the work is glazed - the colour comes solely from the flame and fire decorating the surface.