Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Barrel Firing

About 2 years ago I had pots in a group pit firing and got some good results. No place to dig a pit at my place, so I decided to try barrel firing. A recent video on Ceramic Arts Daily by Sumi also got me "in the mood" to give it a try. Here are some pots I made using a few different types of clay I had on hand, with terra sig on them, bisqued to ^019.

The terra sig. recipe I used is from Clayart.

500g OM4 Ball Clay
1000g EPK
14 cups water
2 tsp Trisodium Phosphate

Let it settle for a few days, siphon off water on top and about the top third of terra sig. This is white terra sig. You can make different colors by adding stains and oxides. I may get to that if my firing pleases me.

As for the stuff to color the pots, I followed Sumi's advice. I'm using alot of table salt, dried coffee grounds, horse stall bedding brined and dried corn husks- lots of those from eating great corn this year! I did have alot of luck with newspaper saggars in the pit firing, and since I haven't saved absolutely tons of stuff, I will use these items in my newspaper saggars. Also, I have used Miracle Grow and copper oxide in the past, so I'm throwing that in, too.
Figuring out how to dry the coffee grounds and husks without bugs galore was tricky, but a baby pool and stroller cover came in handy. Now I know why I never got rid of this stuff! A few days in the sun and we're good to go.

I loaded the kiln yesterday, but it was kind of rainy, so I will fire today. There are holes in the bottom of my barrel and some bricks and a grate- I decided to leave the very bottom empty for air flow...no big reason. I layered paper, wood shavings, horse stall bedding, salt, miracle grow and saggared pots- 2 layers, about 9 pots in all. Wish me luck.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

I needed pots... fast. Brisk sales at Log Cabin Gallery left me, let's say, "inventory challenged."
Fortunately, mother nature cooperated and I had pots sunnin' with the peonies.

They are now fired and you can find these and more for sale at the Log Cabin Gallery in Peninsula, Ohio. Berry bowls, serving bowls, platters and bunches of mugs-two firings I was particularly pleased with. Gotta love it when a plan comes together!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

A pot of a different color

This happened to me several years ago, in my old kiln. I messed up a cooling cycle and got my Waterfall Brown to turn red. After talking with one of the authors of "Mastering Cone 6 Glazes," I found that just refiring this glaze to bisque temp turned it red.

Not so in my new kiln. Until my most recent firing. In an attempt to save a slow cooling cycle, I turned it back up from 1227 F to 1800 and cooled normally. Red!

Actually, a kind of brick, orange red. Not so impressive. So, I stuck 'em back in the kiln and refired to ^6 to see what would happen. They darkened up and became a much nicer color, with all kinds of surface variation that I kind of like. After flipping out a little that I now have 4 place settings of tableware that don't match anything, I decided that maybe this is worth pursuing. Besides, I've been trying to get my iron red glazes to work out in this kiln with no success until now. Happy accident.