final firing

Just pulled my final pieces from the final firing (for now).  This firing turned out great – I glazed these pots after the first firing, so I was able to try to recreate some of the successes from it.  I must say I am e happy with yesterday’s firing and I would be very happy if every firing turns out like this one.  I still have a lot of brushed glazes to play with, but I’ll leave that for the next round of firings.

I really am happy with the bluish-reddish-greenish glaze that I seem to have figured out.  I was able to get a few pieces to turn out like that.  There were still a couple pieces that will end up tossed, but overall everything went pretty well.

Now it’s time to start working on some new pieces.  I’ve burnished some pieces in preparation for my next barrel firing soon.  I think I’ve figured out how to burnish pieces quickly, so I don’t have to spend more than about 15-20 minutes on each piece.  I still need to get a few supplies for the firing but I’m about ready for it.

I also want to start working on the wheel and making specific items, such as crocks, mugs, pitchers, tall vases, plates, and so forth, that I haven’t made to this point.  I’ve spent most of my time making bowls (and bowls, and bowls, and bowls…).  I need to mix it up to keep thing interesting for myself.

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second firing

Just unloaded the second glaze firing – got some really nice pieces in this firing as well.  I’m attaching some more photos below.  Tried some different color combinations to see how they work together.  The lightish, yellow glaze is somewhat prone to fingerprints, so I’m going to have to be a bit more careful with that one.

The brown glaze turns out really nice, because it becomes very glassy and almost has a translucent quality to it – when you look at it there seems to be depth to the glaze.  It also reacts well with the other glazes (including create some amazing blues on a couple pieces).

I still have one more firing to do tomorrow, and then I all out of my bisqueware.  Time to start cracking on more, I guess.  I do enjoy rocking out to some good tunes and working on the wheel.

I’m starting to enjoy glazing after these last couple of firings!

the results:

Well, I’ve pulled the pots from the first glaze fire, and I think they turned out pretty nice.  Some of the colors came out differently than they have before, so I don’t know if that is an issue with my running the kiln or a symptom of the pyrometer getting less accurate.  I’ve attached some pictures below – you can seem them larger by clicking on them.

I’m firing the kiln again today, and probably the final glaze fire on Tuesday.  I redipped a few pieces based on how things turned out on this first fire.

These firings are primarily me playing with some of our dipping glazes, seeing how they turn out and how they react with other glazes.  Some of the combinations hardly did anything and a few turned out amazingly putrid, while some were quite amazing.

The following piece is probably my favorite of the batch.  It turned out with some amazing colors – red, blue green – which is curious, considering the two original glazes were gray and brown.  However, I’m trying a few more like it in the next couple firings to see if it is repeatable.  Stay tuned for more photos from the next firings.

Blaze’s Glazes

Well, I returned a few days ago from a nice, week-long vacation in sunny Arizona.  It was nice to actually get some sunlight, which we haven’t seen much of around the SE Minnesota area.  It really picks you up to see the sun-you don’t realize how much dreary, cloudy November days affect you until you get away from them.

Today was my first chance to get into the studio since then and get back to the swing of things.  Sounds like I should have a lot more time to work on pottery this winter, which will be really nice.  I worked on a few pieces on the wheel just to get some work in since it had been a couple weeks.  Tried a couple large seven pound hunks of clay, which was pretty fun working with and making some pretty big bowls.

I spent most of the afternoon glazing pieces I had lying around from before my trip – I seem to have a hard time sometimes getting into glazing, so I need to build up a large number of pieces so I can focus a full afternoon or day on it.  I just used some glazes we had lying around and played with different combinations.  Hopefully tomorrow I will have a chance to fire some of them!

hot pots

Well, I managed to get the pieces cleaned up and some of them polished.  Of the fourteen pieces we barrel fired, 5 will need to be re-fired because they have a lot of gunk left on them.  The remaining pieces turned out very cool.

I tried a few options for polishing the burnished pieces: wax, acrylic wood polish, and tile sealer.  The wax created a nice gloss and popped the colors a bit, and probably worked the best.  The wood polish worked nicely as well – it didn’t have as much of a gloss as the wax, but made the colors pop a lot more.  The tile sealer worked ok, but I found out it worked better on unburnished pieces to help make the colors richer, especially black.

I can’t wait to try it again.  I need to start making pieces for the next fire.  However, I am going on a trip next week so won’t have much time to work for a couple weeks.  Thanksgiving weekend might be a good target to shoot for.

Check out the photos below – I might add some more close-ups of the colors soon.

the barrel fire

Well, just finished the barrel firing and it was a lot of fun.  We started Saturday afternoon, and it burned out fairly fast but the embers glowed all night long.  We didn’t end up pulling stuff out until Sunday afternoon, and some of the pots were still hot.

Overall, I am quite happy with how things turned out.  About half the pots turned out as I thought they might, and half didn’t turn out at all.  In fact, a couple pieces will need to be fired again as some things didn’t burn but only melted to the pot.  A couple pieces also had some hairline cracks that weren’t there when we put the pots in the barrels.I definitely learned a lot and have many things I’d like to try differently next time I do a barrel fire.

Tomorrow I’m hoping to polish a couple of the pieces and post photos of the final products.  Until then check out the photos below to see how things went!