Saturday, April 11, 2009

Woodfire -- kiln opening

We opened the kiln yesterday. The variety of work that came out was really spectacular.

During the firing we knew that we weren't getting as hot in the back as we had hoped, but the front was plenty hot. We used a combination of hardwood (maple and alder) and fir. The fir was slightly wet. The wet wood gave us a really interesting reptile-skin effect on many of the pieces, especially in the front. We got a lot of color and iridescence--almost too much on some pieces. People commented that they got some of their best work ever out of the front of the kiln.

The back was another story. In some areas of the back, the temperature was so low that glazes didn't mature and ash did not completely melt onto some pieces. So some will need to be re-fired. But others in the back came out really well.

As we were unloading, my pieces looked really great. I got some great flashing (flame patterns), lots of color, no major problems. But when I unpacked this morning, I was surprised. Usually pieces grow on you after a while. Jay says they look better the farther they get from the kiln. But when I unpacked my boxes I started feeling like there was an awful lot of apricot-colored stuff. I ended up liking the darker pieces (Santiam and Cannon Beach clay) better than the lighter clays (Umpqua and Deschutes) that I thought would be better for the kiln. Some I still like a lot, but others I'm less sure about.

The photos here are two of my favorites--and a good example of the difference between lighter and darker clay, and the front vs the back of the kiln (the darker teapot is Santiam at the front of the kiln, while the more peachy teapot is Deschutes White from farther back).

Jay is planning to fire again in August and I hope to be invited back. I'll probably re-fire a few pieces then. Might put a couple in the MHCC Nanagama this June too and see how they change. Remind me to write more about that--we're going to harvest wood next weekend. I'm so happy to have done the firing at Jay's before that trip--I'll know much more about what we're doing!

Stay tuned, I'll update the gallery soon with some newer pieces, and I'm working on opening at Etsy shop!

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