Sunday, August 24, 2008

Dry-stacked kiln before firing

I've just reached the end of a making cycle, with the last pots for this week's firing just coming out of the bisque kiln. "Making cycle" sounds pretty organized and scheduled, but for me it's anything but that. I make the pots I need to replace sold inventory, some that I've got orders for, and some that I just feel like making. Then I look at the bisqued pots stacked in the studio and I think, "I must have enough for a firing."
There are cups and saucers in this next load, something I haven't made in more than 10 years. We'll see if anyone on Cape Cod goes for what today is a rather old-fashioned and slightly formal dining room item. The saucers are "big enough to hold a biscuit," the English way Dan Finnegan taught in the Art League School in Alexandria, VA.
There is an order of eight cereal bowls in there, made for a nice woman from Wellsley who bought a pot from me at Falmouth's weekly art market and then came out here to the studio to see if I would make her these bowls.
There are plates in there, as well, and several jars that you can see on the top shelf in the photo of the stacked kiln. And there are teabowls with iron sand from the beachfront cliffs of Truro wedged into the clay. We'll see what the iron sand does to the glaze.
I have two shows coming up in the next couple of months. One - with my friend Lorraine Colson, who makes dazzling crystal-glazed pots - is at the Libertytown art center in Fredericksburg, VA. The other show is next April at the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis. It's a show of pottery from many Cape Cod potters and entries for jurying are due in early September. Many of the pots in this firing could end up in one or the other of those shows ... barring disaster.
You can see from the photo that I dry-stack the kiln before glazing. That is, I load the 17-c.f. kiln with unglazed bisqueware in an attempt to plan the stack, figure out what can fit into this firing and what cannot. Maybe everyone does this, but I first saw it at the studio of Toff Milway, a fine saltglaze potter in Conderton, England, in the Cotswolds ( When the buckets are all out and I'm ready to glaze, I take the load out shelf by shelf and begin glazing.
This firing should happen about mid-week.

No comments: