Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pots from the spring firing

Sorry not to get these pictures up sooner. We unloaded the kiln Wednesday evening. I took pictures out by the kiln right away, but they didn't come out too well. Since then I've been keeping busy laying hardwood flooring. I'm back in pottery mode now though as we gear up for 'Clay in May' this weekend.
The firing came out well. In general it's one of the better firings we've had, as I feel like we're starting to get a good handle on our glazes, and our kiln. There were of course some disappointments, nothing to terrible though, just room for improvement. We also ran quite a few experiments using local sands in our glazes (the sands being ball milled of course), there are some interesting results worth exploring. I'll devote a post to this later.
We'll stick to the present for now:

Unfortunately Christy has had very little time to make pots this year due to her time at school. She did manage to make it out to decorate several pots though!

I'm starting to have more faith in the red/white slip combo, which I really like. We did have some trouble this firing with what I assume is gases trying to escaping from our red clay after the white slip has sealed over resulting in some unfortunate bloating glazes.... This was mostly in the third chamber though. I think we need to fire a little slower in the third chamber next time. Easier said than done though as everyone is ready to call it a day by the time we reach the third chamber, and it's so easy to fire fast (really fast).

Um... I got nothing here.... mug.

One of the few instances where ash on our ash glazes actually complements the pot. We had some trouble in previous firing with ash building up on our ash glazed pots and causing an unpleasant foaminess. We were more careful in our stacking this time around.

uhhh... another mug....

Large jar... The floor of the first chamber was our biggest problem area this firing... funny because several firings ago we were wondering if we should simply give up on the top of the first chamber for unglazed pots as all the pots up there seemed to be a little dull. We've fixed that problem though, and then some. We'll find the middle ground at some point here.... really though this jar was right in front of the firebox, so my story has no relevance to the above picture.

bottle vase, with "happy" ash deposit

I'm slowly learning what our dark glaze needs to look good... having always fired salt in North Carolina, dark iron glazes are a learning experience for me.

soup bowl

wow, I uploaded a disproportionately large number of mug photos...

covered pitcher in which I couldn't decide if I should take a picture accentuating the decoration or the handle... so I got both, or maybe neither....

Well that's a portion of what we got out of the kiln. Hopefully if you are in the area you can make it out this weekend for Clay in May. Live music and S'mores Saturday evening at Windy Ridge Pottery (that's us)!


cookingwithgas said...

being the bottle fan that I am I love the bottle with the downward design- worked well.

Alex Matisse said...

Just out of curiosity Joe,
What are your experiences with dark Iron glazes? Mine are that Iron + ash + salt equals lots of crystal growth unless very aggressively crash cooled... I love that dark bowl. What is going on with it... is it salted? slow cooled? ash glaze?

Joe and Christy said...

good to hear from you... I'll be in your neck of the woods in a week or so, I'll see if I can't find time to make it out to see the new pots... assuming you still have some around. I'm not sure what all you want to hear about from our experiments with irons glazes. We haven't used any salt since we moved to Wisconsin. We did salt in Seagrove though, and certainly salt will bleach the dark blacks toward more amber tones. We don't 'aggressively' cool our kiln, like Mark has taken to doing. Certainly the first/second chamber cool relatively quickly due while firing the second/third chamber. The third chamber though we leave the stoke holes open until things burn down a bit. Maybe ten minutes? The color dies out slightly, but is still a fairly bright yellow (we don't have a pyrometer in anything but the first chamber). If you are having trouble with crystal growth I would consider adding more silica to your recipe. It shouldn't need to be that aggressively cooled. I can't remember exactly what the proportions are for our recipe, but it's red clay (~50%), ash, feldspar, silica, and a couple percent iron. Feel free to drop me line if I can help you out with any glaze questions.

Ron said...

Joe and Christy, I hope you had a great sale. Pots look super.