Sunday, June 21, 2009

Nanagama unloaded!

We unloaded the Nanagama at MHCC today. The firing went really well, and we all had high hopes, but were somewhat unsure how successful our reduction cooling was. Turns out it was absolutely perfect! Every piece that came out of the kiln today was stunning! We got amazing color. Most of us used groggy, iron-rich clay bodies so our pieces came out really rich, with great flashing.

The firing was interesting from the start. We tumble-stacked most of the kiln. We only put two shelves in the back, at 22" or so. Above and below that, pieces were stacked on top of each other. In the front we had a few more layers of shelves, but still some tumble-stacking. Then we put a narrow stack of shelves in the firebox, with a few pieces on either side, so our firebox was about half-size. Didn't seem to cause any trouble stoking, other than requiring a little extra care when tossing wood in. The kiln was tightly packed, but we lifted the lowest shelf almost 5 inches and only placed a few items under it, so we had plenty of airflow to the back of the kiln.

The firing went smoothly--candled overnight, ramped up about 100 degrees each hour until we hit 2100 in the back. Then we held between 2000 and 2100 for about 8 hours. About 48 hours after lighting the fire, we gave it one big push, to hit cone 10 and melt the ash in the front. Then we partly sealed the kiln and gave the back three big stokes. We sealed it the rest of the way, and slowly reduce-cooled over about 8 hours, feeding it just a few sticks every 10-15 minutes until it reached about 1600.

We must have hit just the right cycle of reduction and oxidation, because our pieces, as I said at the beginning, came out beautifully. I think it may have been the best firing yet, in terms of consistency of results.

If you'd like to see for yourself, stop by the Studio next Friday evening (July 3). It's First Friday in the Central Eastside business district and I'll be in the studio from 6-9pm. Maybe if you're lucky there will be beer...

Also, check out my contact page for my studio calendar. It shows when I'll be there in case you want to stop by some other time. Please let me know ahead of time so I know to expect you.