Sunday, October 30, 2011

In Retrospect...

that enormous sea salt caramel mocha I had earlier this evening while driving from Maine to Boston may have been a mistake.  Even the little bit of caffeine in it is more than I needed just a few hours before heading to bed.  Oh well... it was delicious and will give me a little extra time tonight to visit a bit over a margarita, watch The Good Wife and write this blog post.

I'm heading home tomorrow, but I've had a great time visiting friends and meeting some new friends while joining Lori Watts of Fine Mess Pottery for a firing of her soda kiln.  

Besides the fun of working with some new people, it was a great opportunity to try some different slips and glazes in a very different firing environment than I usually work with.  Here are a few of the pieces I'd glazed for this firing.

Late in the day yesterday, we finished loading the kiln and Lori started the fire early today.  

Unfortunately, I'll have to wait a while until I receive the pots back in the mail before I know how they turned out.  

Anybody know why the last photo doesn't post oriented correctly??  The file is the right way, but when inserted into blogger it gets changed.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pottery Adventure

This weekend I'm having a little pottery adventure. I'm in Augusta Maine to visit fellow potter/blogger Lori Watts of Fine Mess Pottery and joining her for a firing of her soda kiln. 

Now, I know I could find a soda firing to participate in back home, but what could be more fun than meeting someone you've connected with online and satisfy your inner gypsy's need for a little travel. 

Today, I spent doing a little exploration of the area and shopping in a nearby historic village of Hallowell along the Kennebec River.  It was a beautiful, sunny, cool day.

Tomorrow we'll glaze our pieces and they are forecasting a big snow storm here to start later tomorrow night. Bring it on...this Minnesota girl isn't afraid of a snow storm.    

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Roadie Has Been Busy

The last couple weekends my Roadie has been busy cutting wood for winter or spring firings.  We bought several bundles of small slab wood from the local mill.  They burn great and are conveniently delivered to just a couple hundred feet from the kiln.  

It's important to wear your personal protective gear when using a chain saw... especially if your wife has a camera and you know she'll be posting the photos on her blog.

We (a term used loosely as I don't really do any of the cutting) cut the bundles while they are still banded.  Two cuts to make each slab into three pieces that are the perfect length for the kilns firebox.  Once it's all cut, we (I do however actually do this part) stack the wood on pallets so they can be easily moved when needed for firing.

We've got about 9 pallets cut now which should last through three firing.  Now I just need to get some pots done so we can burn all that wood. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

OH MY!!! 200TH POST!

It's my 200th post. 

Yah!! Happy Blog Milestone!!  Let's celebrate by taking the day off and having fun.  Have a nice cold adult beverage on the deck and raise a glass (or bottle)  to the next 100 blog posts.

I appreciate your comments and interest in my sometimes pottery and sometimes "look at the stupid thing I did now" blog.  I hope you keep coming back and sharing with me.

Be well.

Friday, October 7, 2011

What I learned from my last kiln firing

With my kiln being fairly new, I've been changing a little something each firing to try to find a firing process and schedule that works the best for me and my work.  The first firing was... well, it was the first firing.  So kinda set the baseline.  The second firing we did a stronger reduction around 1350* and then again when we bricked up.  That firing had a great deal more reduction color changes in the glazes (not necessarily in a positive way) and more ash than the first firing. 

So now in firing #3, we did a little less reduction than firing #2 and fired for an additional couple hours.  The pieces didn't have as much ash on them as the previous two firings, but also didn't have the same unwanted reduction effects. 

Here are a few things I learned from this firing:

  • Sawdust has the amazing ability to get in all kinds of places it doesn't belong.  When you first realize sawdust has gotten into one of those places, stop everything and remove it.  The fight to get the 50 degrees back the kiln dropped while you're cleaning out your sports bra is well worth it compared to the irritation the "girls" experience if you leave the sawdust.  (I know, too much info!)
  • It doesn't matter if the weather is great (July firing had 100+ degree heat index when we were reaching top temp) - the last few hours are still tiring.
  • I'm still not really getting the result I'd hoped for from the Laura's Turquoise glaze so I think that will be abandon for future firings.  Always need to re-evaluate glaze, what works well, what doesn't and what you don't need to deal with anymore.
  • Unloading is still like Christmas.
  • You can't have enough little kiln fillers like pendants and buttons.
  • It's fun having visitors during the firing, but if I actually had a couple beers with them, I'd not be able to stay awake to fire.  Tough decision.
 I'm sure there is so much more I could add to the list, the key point is I did manage to learn something.  

The next firing is anticipated to be Thanksgiving weekend and I'm thinking of trying a shorter firing like maybe 18 hours.  Start around 6am and close up at 2am the following morning. I can hardly wait!!