Monday, December 22, 2008

Have Wheel, Will Throw

My friend, George told me I could put some of my pots in his brand, new Minnesota Flat Top kiln, a Nils Lou design. So I said, "Ok."

This is the very first time George would be firing his new kiln. What an honor.

I had lots of bisque ware in my old studio. Eighteen years old. There are people who weren't born when I threw some of these pots and some of those people, after they got borned and stayed alive for eighteen years, voted in the latest presidential election. I found a bowl that I helped the daughter of my then girlfriend make. I didn't realize this until I turned it over, and there it was: "Kymber 7/24/91."

I took each bisqued piece and washed it thoroughly to cleanse it of all those years of dust and mice poop. We let the pots dry before applying wax resist to the feet and then glazing them. My wheel sits in my kitchen. I threw 14 mugs and then knocked out another dozen bowls to make sure I'd have enough to contribute toward the 14 cubic foot load. Turns out there so many pots, that George could have loaded the entire space with just my ware, with pots left over. After we tore down the door, George was wishing he'd let me fill it.

Funny how reduction works. What you have to do is starve the firing atmosphere of oxygen so that carbon (in this case from propane, but it could be natural gas, wood, etc.) does its little chemical reaction trick in the glazes to make them all nice and pretty. Well, not having fired the kiln before, it was all guess work. Add to that the fact that George had previously only been firing in smaller updraft kilns and this baby was all down draft. Yeah. So his glazes didn't get enough reduction and they sort of sucked, while mine didn't get enough reduction and turned out just fine. Reason for that is this: George wanted to use different glazes from the ones I chose. Luck of the draft. Uh, draw. Whatev.

It's good to be back.

Now I'm on my way to give Kymber her pot.

Merry Christmas, Peeps. I love you.