Sunday, 5 June 2016

Latest kyusu firing ("Break It Yourself")

I opened the kiln this morning to perhaps the best firing ever. No glaze flops. Stacks of nice pots. After they reached room temperature, I started to examine them more closely and pry off the lids on the ones that were a bit stuck (I ALWAYS remember to use aluminum oxide on the lids nowadays, but even so some lids will fuse). There were three stubborn ones:

The lovely pink one got a chip in the lid after the third gentle tap with a wooden spoon. It flew off from the opposite side of where I was tapping. Bummer! But a chip is a chip, and it sold later in the day at half price as a second on Etsy.

The second mishap happened in much the same way, but after more than a dozen gentle and contained taps with the spoon. That was my personal  favourite.  I like how the double glaze gives an antique-like varnish. And I think I got the proportions right, on this thin translucent pot. What a pity to trash it like that!

 My third mishap of the day, this time the victim was a white speckled dirty porcelain pot. It had a large spot where iron had bled through and run down the side next to the spout, which made me love it more. I suspect the lid fused due to an iron speckle. It is still stuck.

The trouble arises largely from the fact that these new pots have inset lids, which increases the risk of them getting stuck. The lids are made to fit tightly so part of the reason is the tension when the pots expand and shrink during the firing process, and part of the reason is the risk of glaze getting stuck in the gallery where the lid sits.

The solution is simple:  a thicker layer of aluminum oxide, or possibly wadding (though that's not a technique I currently use).  I have made a mental note of that - learned a lesson.

Makes me want to listen to one of my favourite albums

My other pots fared better. The unglazed ones are technically pleasing, but of course have less visual interest. I do like the grey ones, I call them "Mr and Mrs".

The brown grog pot fired well too, at the maximum for its temperature range.
I had the lowest expectation to this flat pot below, and in the end that is probably the one that fired best. It is a double glazed porcelain kyusu. the two glazes, a translucent blue below and a opague white on top give the pot a look very suitable for porcelain. It is challenging to throw this flat shape, basically I have to throw it thickly and then trim it thin. I thought I had the proportions wrong seeing how high the spout rises over the rim of the lid. but surprisingly it pours very well and does not spill from under the lid.

It has a regular handle cousin as well.

and finally a few more from this load:

I prefer the trumpet style handles to these "clenched fist" handles.

I will fire one more load in June and after that most of these pots will slowly be listed on Etsy.

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