Monday, November 14, 2011

Now focus...but, hey, whats that...?

Sometimes I have trouble keeping my eye on the prize. With at least four different clay bodies, all maturing at different temperatures and glazes from 1000c to 1350+,  things soon get a little overwhelming...So today I decided to try and keep it simple with a solo raku firing.

After work in the morning, I stirred up some glazes from earlier in the year and applied them to some raw pots I made over the last couple of weeks and spent a sunny afternoon doing what I enjoy most - glazing, stacking, firing, and unpacking, all in the same day.

But before I start rambling, here are some photos of the day's happenings:

Raku stack ready to go with cone 06 in position.

The all important items and essential firing charts.

The fickle Dunedin weather goes something like this-Monday hot and sunny about 32 deg.C with a coastline like the Mediterranean  (minus the people). Good for surfing. By Friday, snow to sea level - an  unexpected surprise in the late spring, even though they said it was coming.

After a short jog along the beach while the pots were cooling off in the reduction bin, and a quick scrub, I was pretty happy with the outcome.
Man, I could raku all year with these kinda results...But what's that, is that about 150 salt glaze tests ready to fire, oh well here we go again!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tools of the trade and stuff

Another good day spent pottering about. Some people talk of their approach to potting,whether it be London, Paris, Tokyo or New York, local markets and galleries, or making things for oneself and a few others.  The equipment and tools we use and the wheel spinning around remain constant. For me, I enjoy the lifestyle it brings and as a enthusiastic hobbyist I love all the chemistry of mixing glazes, building and firing kilns, the sometimes dramatic or subtle results. It's great just to have the chance to make something beautiful. I'm glad I don't have to do it for a living, I have a part time job for that, but it's great to have a hobby that could possibly become a means to an end or a supplementary income if I can get it to that level and that comes down to productivity and how much you push yourself, head per capita etc.etc.

So i guess I would consider myself a part time pottery enthusiast but with a passion for clay and fire and fulfillment.Something I'm sure every potter can relate to at one time or another. On to some pics with captions

Down here I work with white clay for now,so I've washed some tools after using buff and red clays and these are some of the tools I make and use often.

Soft and loose bottle forms to be raku fired for eggshell like glaze effects, or salt glazed for a more stony texture.

The weather shot

Since bricks are getting scarce I will be dismantling a kiln once more for other projects. In this frame one can see the arch is of straight brick with castable key wedge in the center .This saves cutting bricks and can be used anywhere. Below that is the flue exit and some chimney bricks sticking out. Under the flu exit is the floor bricks and under that is where the flame enters from the firebox, runs under the floor into the kiln.

Looking in from the front seeing where the flame combusts  under the floor. .In this photo I removed 5 firebricks from the  floor and at the rear is the flue exit.

In this kiln the floor bricks are still in place showing where the flame will enter and exit, and a salt port. Needs a bottom shelf so the heat will need to go under it to escape and a bagwall

I will use the bricks from the other kiln for a chimney along with a length of flue and more bricks for the door (wicket). It has a small fire box to prime the throat for the burner, 0 to 500 or 1000 deg C on wood depending on the size of the firebox, 400 to 1350+ on oil slash diesel.  I have never had the patience to fire on wood alone as after 1000 deg it gets hard work. This kiln is designed for oils and would need a big firebox as close to the kin as possible (or even under it) to run on wood alone for stoneware temperatures.

random size lumps of white clay, by tomorrow they'll be pots.

Supermarket plastic bags and polythene buckets store clay well.

Burner, fuel line,tap,hose,tape, bag of salt...check.

old vacuum blowers, check.

Props, shelves, shelf wash, fire clay, wadding, check


Disused long-drop - self explanatory.


A guy showing his 4 year old daughter to surf. The sea's been pumping lately and she caught a couple of mini tsunamis like a pro. Impressive.
Now glazing, firing charts, throwing... stuff for another time. Getting late, Gotta sleep.