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.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Schrodinger's cat

All possibilities are present within an unopened kiln: every success, disaster, mistake, fault or beauty: a superposition of states. At last, once well cool, the kiln door was unbricked, the wave functions collapse and I can see what reality has decided. Is the cat alive or dead?
Now, a day later, when most crazing and possible dunting has occurred, I can see that the cat is alive. Not merely alive - it's running round the workshop doing tricks! Impending disaster precluded, it looks as if it was one of my very best firings.
this view is through the stoke hole into the first stack. As you can see cone 12 as well as safety 15 is still standing, indicating a cooler front than usual.
There is some heavy crystallisation on the surfaces here, which is mostly welcome.
The sidestoke area was, as usual, the hottest, and I got some really stunning pieces from the parts of the stack facing this area. In gas kiln tests the glazes that I have developed are often rather stiff, fat and uninteresting. I'm hoping that the ash and volatiles from the firing are really going to effect them, creating variation in colour and texture, and really pull some beauty out of them. This piece has a white silica rich glaze from Edinburgh rocks. I love it when it breaks to watery electric blues like this.
Many of the pieces I made for this firing were carved, exposing the structure of the clays I am using. This bowl shows the variation of colour I managed to get throughout the kiln, and the quality of the coarse clay.
The photos are just quick snaps outside the workshop as I begin the grinding process. I will post properly done ones soon.
As usual, there were some disappointing results, especially so with pieces that took hours and hours to make, but there is a broad range of spectacular colour and textures. I seem to have managed to reduce the tendency of glazes to peel off pots during the early stages of the firing, but other faults are rearing their ugly heads. It is particularly hard woodfiring heavily glazed pots in an ash rich firing, on found clays  (it's stressful on both the potter and the pots), but the occassional flashes of brilliance make it impossible to give up. The new fault is in small areas on pots, where ash runs form sugary matt surfaces on cooling, but appaer to contract slightly less than the glaze layer/clay below them, and start to look a little like crazy paving, with rough edges. It often seems to happen on the vesry best pieces so is a serious problem. Any advice welcomed!

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