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.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Beauty and loss

It's been a tense few days. Despite the glaze peeling off some pieces during the firing (again!) it really was an excellent firing, with some truly stunning pieces. Some loud and brash and some quiet.
The glazes are on quite thickly and I am using all unprocessed, self collected materials so it shouldn't be too much of a surprise to get a selection of faults, but it is heart breaking to hear and see beautiful pots crack apart. There were no pots this time that failed in the firing and met the hammer on the way out but a few have since bitten the dust as they acclimatise to the outside world.
Hopefully the rest will continue to survive.

Now more relaxed I can enjoy the positives, but I have to think about the negatives to plan the next firing. I've never had dunting before and also a weird fault where the glaze seems to craze not only down to the clay but within itself, so that ash crystals on the surface feel rough and lift off in a little shard of glaze. Very sad that this has happened on an otherwise gorgeous piece.
Some new glazes include plenty from the Malverns. This is a dark semi matt glaze based on the Precambrian diorite and Triassic sandstone there.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Stoked, soaked, clammed and toasted

March and the beginning of April seem to have vanished in a puff of busyness in preparation for me trip to the On The Edge Of The Shelf woodfire conference in Australia. The last major event on my 'to do' list was another firing in preparation for my return.
The kiln was lit early Tuesday morning - nice gentle rise to 1000C by 3pm, then reducing to cone 8's down by about 8pm. Overnight it is held at this temperature - all pots are becoming shiny and sticky and receptive to the ash in the flames. Cones 9 and 10 slowly drop and the challenge is to resist the kilns desire to rise in temperature. It didn't thank us for this and 8am next morning sees it full of embers and sluggish. A change of settings and the embers are burnt away and time is spent getting some decent heat in the firebox, signaled by a lovely crackle from the wood as it is stoked. A combination of front and sidestoking and cone 12's are going over throughout. I raked the embers away from the front floor level pots then soaked for an hour or two till at 3pm the kiln was slowly bricked up, clammed up to seal the gaps and left to cool slowly.
Thanks to Andy for his great help in firing, cooking bacon and toasting the firing!