Archive for July, 2006

Steel Wool as Fuming Material

Monday, July 31st, 2006

One of the experiments I performed at the Vashon Island pit fire last month involved the use of steel wool as a fuming material. I was curious about steel wool because I had thought it was the cause for the beautiful colors on a very nice piece from my first pit firing back in 2002.


figure 1: beautiful effects of steel wool fuming

Well, I am still not sure — now that the experiment has been performed — if steel wool was behind the colors on that earlier piece, but as you can see in figure 1 above, the fuming of steel wool can certainly generate some truly wonderful color patterns on a receptive (i.e. terra sig coated and highly burnished) surface.


Something Different — a Soda Fired Piece

Monday, July 17th, 2006

It turns out I don’t just make pit fired pottery. Here is a recent soda-fired piece — hmm… maybe you’d want to see this as two separate pieces, but they actually were two halves of the same piece originally…


The piece stands about 8 inches tall, was thrown on the wheel in two separate sections (neck and body), joined and deformed while both still wet, and sliced into two halves at the early leather hard stage. Black liner glaze on the inside, high alumina orange flashing slip on the outside. It was soda fired (~ cone 6) in the new soda kiln at Pottery Northwest where I was — and still am — taking a class in soda firing.

Oh yeah, here is a video of the soda spraying process. Don’t be alarmed — it’s not as dangerous as it looks…

“Chore Boy” Effects Reproduced!

Sunday, July 9th, 2006

I wrote a while back that, for my first pit firing, I got some very nice fuming effects from a disemboweled Chore Boy type copper scrubber; but I was unable to reproduce the same effects ever since. Well, at the most recent firing I finally managed to get similar colors (and then some) with the same setup — and so here is the report…


figure 1: did the red come from Chore Boy only?

I had seven pieces in this firing, two of which were intended as Chore Boy experiments. The first is a small pinched pot (figure 1 above) with two layers of packing materials, both very tightly wrapped around the pot:

  • Chore Boy-type copper netting (one single layer)
  • salted raffia (thin layer)

The feathery, wiggly lines in the deep red area apparently came from the copper netting that had started to disintegrate in that area. What’s unclear, however, is whether the larger, solid, and brighter red area to the right also came from the same. Or maybe it came from the admittedly plentiful copper carb in the pit instead?