It's been a strange summer. Too good perhaps, you might think, for me to do any work - just spend my days enjoying the sun in leafy beer gardens. But, between beer garden visits I have been working very hard indeed, though this has been a cycle of making, assessing, breaking, recycling and making again. The crux of this frustrating sequence is the problem I have of how best to use the materials I have collected, and how best to illustrate their qualities. Complicating the matter is the fact that I have a wide range of interesting materials that will not allow themselves to be used in the same way. The rocks need high temperatures to form beautiful glazes, but not all respond well to woodfiring. many of the clays that I have can exhibit lovely qualities but at a range of lower temperatures - temperatures that prohibit glazing.
The test firings I have done in my new small kiln have been interesting and gave me some indications of what to do with these lower temperature clays. The last high firing was also useful - many tests meeting straight with the hammer, but a few stunners and some ideas for forms. My aim is to produce a cohesive body of work that spans firing temperatures and firing types and best illustrates the idea that forms the basis what I am doing. No mean feat I can assure you - hence the seemingly endless making and breaking. Finally, though, I appear to have a workshop almost full enough of pieces to fill my larger wood kiln. Some time has gone by since the first of these was made and, despite repeated looking, they are still in one piece.
So, the plan is for a stoneware wood firing with these new forms, followed by stringent assessment and (hopefully) a series of other firings at lower temperatures and in the gas kiln. I will blog again with some images when I am feeling more confident and less superstitious.