Monday, May 28, 2012

A beautiful day...

for sitting under the oak tree and doing some sgraffito.  Gabriel kept me company this morning while I did some deco work on a couple of pieces of pottery I made this weekend.  I'm about half way through another 50 pounds of clay... leading to my next firing.  I'm anxious to get another load in the kiln...  it's addictive.  It's been a very nice weekend... the weather has felt like mid-July.  I've got today off, too, so.... yahoo!  Peace. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A quick look at a few pieces from the May 4th glaze firing...

Hefty earthenware moonshine & cider jug.  Hand built using slab and coiling and underglazed with light gray and walnut brown.  This jug was bisque fired to cone 04, then clear glazed inside and out and fired one more time.  Measures 8 inches high, and will hold a generous quart of your favorite beverage!  "I'll hush up my mug, if you'll fill up my jug with that good ol' mountain dew."
White earthenware bowl and bottles.  These were also hand built using slabs and coiling, and finished with several washes of silky smooth, sky blue terra sigillata.  After bisque firing, the bottles were clear glazed on the inside and fired once again, to make them waterproof.  The taller of the two bottles measures about six and a half inches high.  These pieces have really grown on me in the past couple of weeks... the unglazed surfaces have such a wonderful look and feel to them.  They remind me of a lazy summer afternoon.
I'm working on how to describe my pottery, so these might sound a little stiff until I get the hang of it.  Hopefully here in the next few weeks I will have an Etsy site set up and ready to sell my wares!  I've been reading all of their tutorials and seller bios, and there is a lot involved, if you want to do it right, but it doesn't sound too difficult... it just looks like it will take some time.

Spouted decanters.  These unique little teapots, hand built of earthenware, were made without any real direction at first; they just sort of happened. But after they were done, I could see them being used for serving soy sauce, or coffee creamer, olive oil, or even warm maple syrup.  They are clear glazed inside and out and are food safe, microwave safe and dishwasher safe (although it would be best to hand wash these, so they will have a good, long life)

Lidded earthenware jar.  I thought this one turned out pretty good.  It measures about 5" in diameter, and was hand made using clay slabs.  It was finished in a walnut brown underglaze and decorated with trailing vines.  The design was produced by scratching through the underglaze with a pointed tool; a technique known as sgraffito, which exposes the white clay body underneath.  After the initial bisque firing, the exterior was clear glazed, and fired once more.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Finding my way...

ever so slowly.  And that's OK. 
I had a little set-back this evening.  I loaded the kiln for a glaze firing, got it going... and about an hour or so in I decided to take a peek in the bottom peephole, just to see if the coils were warming up properly.  Well... it appeared that they were not.  The top set of elements were glowing a beautiful reddish orange, and there was a nice glow rising in the kiln, but then I realized that the bottom elements were not cranking it out like the top ones.  Bummer.  Both sets of elements were on high  by that time, but they were clearly not performing at the same rate.  After some internal debate, I opted to shut it down for the night, and check it in the morning.  That didn't last long.  I went back out after the elements had darkened, and fired up the bottom pair of elements only, and son-of-a-gun if I didn't see a faint glow building in the kiln, through the peephole.  So I cranked it back up (it was still very hot, so I wasn't too concerned about thermal shock at that point).  We'll see how it goes.  Looks like I will be up for a while longer.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will work, and I'll have some nice, glazed pots by the end of the weekend.  I guess I'll know for sure tomorrow afternoon. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Boy Howdy!

I got home from work today and went straight out to the garage to see if the kiln gods were smiling on me last night.  They were!  I didn't lose a single piece, and they all turned out great.  It felt like Christmas morning ;)  I was surprised that the kiln was still warm enough that I needed gloves to pull out the pots... even after cooling for almost 16 hours. 
As for the pictures I added below?... they are stunning, aren't they.  I especially like how the pasty white flash brings out the rich colors of the fired clay and underglazes. (ha)  I'll try to take some better pictures once everything has gone through the glaze firing.    
At around 11:15 last night I went out to check on the progress of the firing (for about the 20th time) and I noticed that the kiln sitter was edging very close to release, so I stuck around to see if I could watch the trigger fall.  It finally did at 11:28pm.  I turned all the knobs to the off position, flipped off the main power switch on the breaker panel and unplugged it from the wall... and said goodnight. 

The next step (for most of the pieces) will be clear glazing and another firing.   That will be the last hurdle.  Again... I can't wait.  I don't want to jinx it, but I think they are going to look really nice.  Once those are done and I feel like I have something to offer, I will probably look into opening an Etsy site.  But for now... let's just take it one step at a time.