Welcome to my blog. I will attempt to make it much more than just a pitiful list of the relentlessly mundane minutiae of my daily existence but if you feel that I have failed try to imagine all the stuff that I haven't posted.

Friday, 21 September 2012

The excitement mounts

I'm now well into probably my favourite time within a working practice that is, fortunately for me, packed full of very enjoyable processes. The biscuit firings are done, the rocks are finally crushed and ball milled to dust, the wood is (finally) dry in not so neat stacks and I am busy planning the pack for the next firing. The glaze book is open and I'm blending and mixing.
The image is of my trusty steel mortar and pestle. I use this to get the rocks down to grit size so that they can be ball milled. The last rock was a rhyolite from Langdale in the Lake District, which is a fine particled intermediate volcanic rock created from compacted volcanic ash. Despite calcining it is very hard + my shoulders are still feeling it. Even the ball mill struggled. The planning of the pack is very important. Some rocks need plenty of heat and action from the wood to achieve their best while others need protection and a slightly lower temperature. I can also adjust the recipes according to where the piece is placed in the kiln.
The kiln is all cleaned out and ready - ash saved and the floor carefully chiseled to remove setters and glaze runs. This image shows the view from the back chamber into the catenary arch firebox, showing the front grate, packing space and sidestoke grate. Two more days of glazing and then the packing starts. It's a time of real excitement, loaded with possibilities and anticipation.

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