Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sneak Peek

A couple of not so great pictures for y'all. At any rate, we unloaded the kiln today and for the most part we were all happy. There were of course some mishaps, but some beaut's as well. More pics to follow.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

While The Kiln Cools...

We loaded up Orv's kiln and fired it a week ago now. Tomorrow we'll unload. I've uploaded a couple photo's from the decorating, loading and firing. I'm looking forward to opening the chambers tomorrow, but am keeping my expectations in check. I've found that I can't open a kiln hoping for what I think is the best. When I do that I find that I feel somewhat disappointed, but after "hanging out" with the pots days and weeks after the firing, there are things about the pots that I had dismissed at the opening that later become beauty.

These porcelain vases received some stencil-wax-stain decoration that's new. I'm really into this form and love the proportions on some of them. In the past when I've made these there was no foot at all the wall of the vases went all the way to the table surface. These sort of hint at a foot and I'll probably give them a little more the next go round.
Now you don't see 'em

Now you do

I've been messing around with stencils and wax for about two years and whenever I go to decorate a bunch of pots at once I wish that there was a quicker way; it just feels so slow to wax around some of the animal stencils that I use. I used mostly just these circle stencils to make this go a little quicker this time. I found that I could get a nice grassy look at the bottom of this vase sans stencil, which I believe means I ventured into brushwork that I'm usually very hesitate to commit to a piece.

Here's Orv loading the second chamber.

Here's the third chamber almost completely loaded. The majority of my pots went into this part of the kiln.
Some serious spider webs over the ware racks in the kiln shed.
Around noon on the day of the firing. Orv fires his kiln in reduction so there's a lot of black smoke that billows from the stack and from the blow holes pictured below.

Some vids:

I usually have the first shift for firing Orv's kiln which begins around 8pm and goes to about 1 am. It's a nice quiet time. A great time to simply organize your wood for the next stoke, have a seat, listen to the cracking fire and think.
When I start stoking the first chamber pyrometer reads 200 or 300 degrees, by the time 1 am rolls around it's reading somewhere around 1200 degrees. Orv will show up and take over for the deep night shift. The next day Matt Tell and Grayson take over at 6 am and start stoking the first chamber. Steve Procter and myself take over at noon and finish the first chamber and start the second. Then it's up Rosti and Michael to finish the second and start the third. With most of my pots in chamber No. 3 I helped organize wood and stoke until cone 9 was down in the cool part while cone 13 is over in the hot spot. One of my favorite parts of wood firing is just after the kiln has been clammed up and everything's set to let the glowing pots cool that we can sit down together and have a beer and visit in earnest unencoumbered by the focus devoted to the firing.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Inlaid lines

I wanted to share a bit about decorating using a inlay technique. I put lines around the rim and doodles on the feet of bowls and other porcelain pieces using this process. I start by brushing on some wax in a band around the rim maybe two inches wide. I usually do a couple boards of pieces at a time so when I'm done waxing the last piece, the first is dry and ready for the next step. Using a needle tool I scratch through the wax and into the clay. I usually have the piece set on a banding wheel for this so I can turn it at a slow pace. I go for a wavering line, I want a little "action" between the lines (insert crude joke here). Once the lines are scratched I brush off the crumbs and then brush a colored slip into the lines. I use slip left over from throwing mixed to taste with a mason stain. Because the wax has been removed in the lines, the slip wants to hang out in there as the pieces absorbs the slip's moisture. The excess slip stays on top of the wax and is therefore easy to wipe clean, like so:

just some pictures