Saturday, August 6, 2011

Pots from the Castle Hill salt kiln






I braved the ridiculous mid-day traffic on the Outer Cape Thursday to get to Castle Hill Center for the Arts in Truro and pick up newly-fired salt pots. Brian Taylor and his crew had the kiln nearly unloaded by the time I cleared the Eastham-Wellfleet jam-up and got to the idyllic countryside where Castle Hill lies.
This was only the second or third firing of this Donovan Palmquist-designed gas-fueled salt kiln. It's a lovely little construction of brick, maybe 15 cubic feet of stacking space. Brian said they used only 6.5 pounds of salt in the firing, which seemed like a fairly small amount. I used to fire with Bill VanGilder and Dan Finnegan at Bill's place in Maryland and we used considerably more than that in a bigger kiln, though I think at times we probably over-salted. (There was always a debate about that ... ) In any case, these pots were fairly subtle in their surfaces. I'll re-fire a number of them in my own reduction kiln this coming week, along with some re-fires from the Harvard soda firing, and we'll see if that makes a difference. I was pleased with the new liner glazes, a blue celadon and a so-called carbon trap Shino, both from the Harvard glaze book, and I'll try them out this week in my own kiln.
I hope Brian continues to fire the salt kiln and that other Cape potters take advantage of the chance to put pots in. I think the firings can only get better. There's always a learning curve with salt - packing the kiln, how much salt, reduction, all of that makes a difference. As a rule, things only get better and better.
I've put the pig sculpture at the top of the images here, mostly because in the last post all you could see were the ham hocks, and particularly the pork-centric folks in North Carolina were interested to see how cone 10 barbecue comes out here in the saltwater North. I apologize that I don't have the pig-maker's name. She didn't want her own photo taken and I neglected my reporter's duty to at least get her name. Perhaps if Brian reads this post he will e-mail me and I can give the sculptor her due credit.


9 comments:

Linda Starr said...

love, love, love the little piglet.

Tracey Broome said...

Love, love, love the little piglet too! Also the cups and vases. Salt is such a nice finish for pottery isn't it!

Dennis Allen said...

OINK!

Anna said...

Yea. That pig steals the show. BUT love all the blue too. (Don't care Dan. I just do.)

Hollis Engley said...

I should perhaps clarify one thing. I had about 20 pots in the firing. All the others belonged to various students and other pot-makers at Castle Hill. None of the blue pots was mine.

Ron said...

Thanks for sharing the pics. Great to see those salted pots and pig! I'll be posting some images from my salt glaze workshop soon. Cheers!

ang walford said...

that is one cool sculpture..love the overlaps of clay :P were you happy with your pieces? or just testing to see what a refire will give you...cheers mate!!

Hollis Engley said...

Yes, I agree that the piglet is cute. I like the overlapping-slab style of building it, though I'm not particularly an animal-builder. No, Ang, I wasn't all that happy with the pots. Some have some appeal, but most are already wadded and in the kiln to refire tomorrow. I suspect more salt might have been needed, but it's hard to say, and it's not my kiln. Brian Taylor, who did the firing, is working his way toward understanding the kiln, which is always always always necessary with a salt kiln. I'm happy to be part of the learning process and hope to get pots into the next firing.

Joaki said...

Hermosas piezas, Enhorabuena.