Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I've been off sick in bed for several days with the flu and haven't been able to do much at all. It's been quite an out of body experience with even walking being in slow motion and my co-ordination is shot. It's been a real drag when its so hot and sunny outside with so much to do and so little time.  After four days I was feeling well enough to get out of the house and go for a walk around the block.

A view from the top of Bennet's Rd looking down on the estuary.
Autumn sky
Coastal erosion and king tides at this time of year

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Winter Studio

It's been a busy month and the weather is unusually warm for this time of year, but now it is time to move down to the winter studio before the cold weather closes in. I have been working on fixing up an old shack that I have been using as a studio for a number of years. It is actually an old pioneer cottage that was built in the 1860's. It's seen better days but that just adds to the character and most importantly, it has an open fire.

Autumn colours of wilding cherry trees at the gate.

The potter's cottage and salt kilns

The old kitchen, transformed into a throwing area. Test pots thrown off the hump, drying, and ready to be dipped in glaze and raw fired.

The old bedroom window. I have been using plastic to keep out the elements and have been picking up cheap windows where I can. So far I have replaced four windows. It's so nice to have a view through glass and it's much warmer than plastic!

The old parlour (or sitting room),which I've furnished from the local refuse recycling shop at Green Island. A good place to relax and warm up by the fire.

These are the salt glaze slips that appear on pages 232-233 of Phil Roger's excellent book, 'Salt Glazing' (2002). Applied to raw test pots before going into the kiln.

Cutting shelves to size, and using some of the off-cuts as props. I also cut up old fire bricks for larger props. These are all then shelf-washed to protect them from the salt and hopefully make them last a little longer.

Here I am checking to see if the stack will fit in the kiln. I had about a centimetre to spare!

Steam created when throwing salt into the kiln. I started salting when Cone 9 went over and threw in 14 pounds of salt over the duration of one hour, which melted Cone 10 (1300 deg C) in the top and bottom of the kiln, so it must have reached Cone 11 (1320)  or 12 (1340-50 deg C, given that there's about 20 degrees between cones), but it made for some beautiful high-fired results.

The next morning I got home from work to open up the kiln and see the results, which were very much to my satisfaction.

In this firing, I used sump oil as a fuel and burned it cleanly in an oxidising atmosphere, attempting to achieve copper greens and other various glazes, which I succeeded in doing. Out of about 20 glazes, I got five or six nice ones, which I can make bigger amounts of glaze and scale up the pieces.