Thursday, December 18, 2008
Cleaning up after making a mess
Damn, glazing is messy. Or maybe it's just me ...
So I finished glazing this kiln-load of pots this afternoon about 4. This will be an interesting firing. I've got a couple of new glazes that I'm testing and some glaze combinations I haven't used. Could be great. Could be a disaster. We'll find out Saturday morning.
I've fired this kiln for about six years now, learning all along the way. When I came here to Cape Cod from Virginia, I had had a hand in firing several wood-fueled kilns, but had never once fired a gas kiln by myself. Which is more or less the reverse of most potters' experience. So my first few firings were fairly miserable - over-reduced, crud all over the kiln shelves, glazes running everywhere. Really bad.
But with advice from friends like local Falmouth potter Angela Rose, I dialed back the natural gas, settled on a couple of clay bodies, figured out workable glazes and settled down a bit. For the past few years, the Olympic has turned out some pretty good pots. Or as good as the kiln could make them, given the deficiencies of the potter. I'm pretty happy now with many of the pots that come out of each firing. And the work is getting better. Which is the point.
I'll attach a shot of the loaded kiln and I'll dig up a couple of pots from the past few years' firings to give you an idea of what I like to see when we open the door on kiln-opening morning. The three small vases and the faceted vase are all made from clay dug by my friend Trina Kingsbury on her property on Martha's Vineyard. It's rough stuff, but fires just fine to cone 10 and takes well to some of my Shino glazes.