Archive for the ‘General Pottery’ Category

La Condition Humane

Thursday, October 5th, 2006

Okay, I’m too busy to post something more useful or meaningful for the moment, so here are just a handful of funny figurines grouped together under a fancy title (in French, no less) for your amusement. :-) They were all made by pinching, stand between 2 to 4 inches tall; some were saggar fired, others are just plain bisque ware.


Pottery School Pit Fire at the Beach

Friday, September 22nd, 2006

This is a video clip of a group from The Pottery School in Pioneer Square doing a pit fire at the beach in late July.

The firing was pretty similar to the Vashon Island firing except most pieces had no terra sig on them. They were all bisqued to cone 06. Here is what I have written down in my notebook about the pit layout:

  • pine sawdust: ~3 inches
  • horse dung: ~ 1/4 to 1/2 inches
  • copper carb: ~ 1/2 coverage of pit bed
  • baking soda: sprinkled around (but not on top of) some pots (not a lot)

The pots were mostly in a single layer (only 2 small pots were on top of other pots.) Copper carb was used more sparingly than the Vashon firing, and there was none on top of the pots. Besides the usual salted raffia, Chore-Boy copper netting, and steelwool strands that I brought, the participants also used copper wire of different sizes, inclulding some heavy gauge ones, as a fuming material.

Dancing with Fire

Friday, August 25th, 2006

Finally, thanks to Jenny and Pär who took over the cameraman’s job, you can now see me spraying soda into the soda kiln, too. Enjoy.

BTW it looks kind of dangerous, but really is not. No need to worry for me.. :-)

Photos of Me Working the Soda Kiln

Sunday, August 20th, 2006

Okay, this is supposed to be a pottery blog, but since some of my long lost friends have found me here, and they wanted to know what I look like now — so here are a few reasonably current photos. In keeping with the pottery theme, though, these are all from a soda firing at Pottery Northwest two months ago — so you’ll also get to see the kiln and the process of how my soda-fired pieces were fired.


figure 1: what kind of phone is that??!

A typical firing cycle is 12 – 13 hours long. We usually start at 8 am, and the whole thing will hopefully be done by 9 pm. We are not busy all the time, though. In fact, most of the time is waiting time — so we get to goof around, like pretending to be talking on a home made phone (figure 1). The phone was the invention of fellow firing crew member Jenny Nelson, who managed to keep herself busy and creative while waiting for the kiln temperature to rise during the early part of the firing.


More Mechanical Rats

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

Or whatever they are…

Greenware. Still drying on my shelves…

Mutant Teapots Masquerading as Mechanical Rats

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

Yeah, I know, the title doesn’t make much sense; neither does the photo — or these two whatever-you-call-’em (animals? things?) in the photo. But who says everything has to make sense?


Or maybe they are rats pretending to be teapots?

Greenware, work-in-progress. Photo taken a week ago, the pieces now have been bisqued, and will probably go into the soda kiln next week. Who knows, they may turn out nice. Maybe even nice enough to be submitted to a teapot show… But will other teapots object? And why would they?

Other Experiments at Vashon Firing

Friday, August 11th, 2006

Besides toying with Chore Boy copper netting and steel wool, I also performed some other experiments in the Vashon Island pit firing last month. Here is a brief summary of these other experiments:


figure 1: unburnished and no terra sig

One experiment involves a piece which was completely unburnished, with no terra sig applied, and with a strongly textured surface from the thickly painted engobe. As you can see, the result (figure 1 above) has a very different quality from those other highly burnished pieces. Nevertheless, it is quite charming in its own way — there’s something simple and bold, and almost more honest about it… (perhaps because it’s less self-consciously trying to be beautiful?)

Packing materials: the usual cast of Chore-Boy, steel wool strands, salted raffia and salted burlap. The visible black and white net-like pattern apparently came from the Chore-Boy netting.


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?