More Funny Ware

October 5th, 2006

These are proud happy guys driving their hard earned Mercedes. Funerary ware, reduction fired to cone 6 in a gas kiln. One is about 3 inches tall, the other 3 and 1/2. Perfect memento to remind yourself of your achievements in this world as you journey into the next one…


La Condition Humane

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.


Pit Fired Hot Dogs

September 22nd, 2006

This is a clip about lunch for the Pottery School pit fire at the beach. We forgot to bring BBQ equipment but hey you can do a lot with Raku tongs, Raku gloves, a shovel, a length of heavy gauge copper wire, and a healthy dose of ingenuity… Kudos to Mike, Liz, Aimee, et al. for being so inventive.

Pottery School Pit Fire at the Beach

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.
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Dancing with Fire

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

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.

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More Mechanical Rats

August 19th, 2006

Or whatever they are…

Greenware. Still drying on my shelves…

Mutant Teapots Masquerading as Mechanical Rats

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

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.

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Rediscovering My Past via Google

August 11th, 2006

A while ago I did a Google search on my name, ‘Hilary Chan’, and turned up a couple unexpected items besides the usual suspects: one was this picture from the website of the Near Eastern Languages Department at the University of Washington. Yeah, it’s true, I did study Uzbek at the U.W., starting Fall of 2000 for one academic year, and then continued on with their intensive summer program in both 2001 and 2002.


Graduate Teaching Assistant David Hunsicker and class member Hilary Chan play roles in modern Uzbek play staged by members of the Summer 2001 Intermediate Uzbek course

Good picture, despite the unauthentic blue jeans that both Dave and I were wearing. More interesting, though, is this other item I found, culled by Google from Nick Gall’s Furl archive:

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