Monday, May 12, 2008

big pots

This post is really a summary of one section of the course in which we made large vessels using a "coil and throw" technique. David Stuempfle makes a lot of these and to a enormous scale, essentially making them as big as his kiln can handle.

I found the biggest difference between making these large pieces and throwing tableware was the pace. It's much slower; it took me two to three days to complete just one. In that time it's hard not to get attached to the pot itself. When you spend that much time and work on it the pot becomes an almost personification of your energy and devotion to the process. All that is natural, but dangerous as I found out when I had just finished a rather tall storage jar and accidentally hit the foot control and sent the thing spinning at top speed which then sent it crashing to the floor.
As much as it pained me to lost that piece, I wanted that much more to make another. So I busted up the broken pot, threw it all in David's pugmill and used that clay to make another better one.

The following is a montage of sorts illustrating the making, transporting, kiln loading/firing/unloading.

Here's David at work on a HUGE pot - about 40 inches wide.

Once dried, the pots were loaded on a van and brought to Michael and Naomi's kiln.

The loading took about two days.

Michael and David ready to "clam up the wicket" and burn this kiln!

Early in the firing, when stoking was kept to those bottom air holes. Later we would stoke through main fire box hole in the middle of the door, as well as side stoke ports.

After three and a half days of burning and a day and a half of cooling the unloading began.

Viola! The aforementioned "better one."