results!

Well, yesterday I picked through the ashes of the two barrels to see how things turned out.  I must say I was pleasantly surprised.  I didn’t add a lot of ‘colorants’ to the fire to help add color to the pots; however, the pieces have some nice color on them anyways.

I wasn’t too impressed when I first pulled the pieces out of the barrel, but I forgot that once you clean them off and polish them to a shine, they look fantastic!

I need to remember to stock up on supplies so I can do a barrel firing whenever the weather cooperates.  It was a bit windy on Sunday, but only a couple pieces have any cracks in them.  Last fall, I had most of my pieces crack from the thermal shock caused by the wind, but it didn’t seem to be an issue this time.

Now it is time to get to work making some more pieces and burnishing them for the next firing.  I’m hoping I can do 2 or three more this summer and try out a few different things.

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barrel firing

Well, today my wife had to go to a baby shower, so I had a free afternoon to do as I please.  I went to my parent’s house and helped my dad burn a couple of his smaller prairie plantings and we started a barrel firing at the same time. It was a great, fire-filled day.  I tried a couple different things this time around for the barrel firing.  Most of the pieces are new, burnished pieces that I had made over the winter.  A couple of the pieces were ones we had previously fired last fall in a barrel and needed to be fired again due to large amounts of miracle grow melted to the side of the pots.

The weather was nearly perfect – it was a bit windier than I would have liked, but I think I shouldn’t have any problems with cracking this time since it is warmer than the last firing I did.  I tried a couple different types of clay to see which burnished the best and ended up with the best coloring after the firing.  I am pretty exciting to see how they come out.  I’ll probably empty the barrels tomorrow afternoon.

I am hoping to do a few barrel firings over the summer – I think I need to drill a few holes into the sides of one of the barrel to see if it helps burn faster and get better results.  I wanted to try one more firing without holes to see how they turn out.  I also need to stock up on supplies for firing – I found out I was short on a few ingredients for the firing.

My computer is still down and out, but I am hoping to get some photos up soon on the results of the firing.  I need to fire the kiln on Tuesday for student’s glazed work and that should give me some time to upload some photos.  Hopefully everything turns out great!

update

Well, my computer is still on the fritz – talk to the computer guy yesterday and it sounds like the hard drive is a total loss.  So I’m going to have to put a new hard drive in the computer and reinstall everything.  Not having my computer has made it very hard to upload photos to the site to show what I’ve been working on.  I’m also trying to put a few more pieces on my Etsy shop but that takes even more time.

So, the status is that I’m currently working in the studio and will probably fire some burnished pieces tomorrow.  I am planning on doing a barrel firing on Sunday while my dad and I burn some prairies. So I am hoping to get some photos up this weekend, but I’m not making any promises.  Let’s hope thing get fixed soon!

song of the week

This week’s song is a fun little song that probably wouldn’t be very well known for the people in my generation if not for a certain tv show on cable.  My wife and I have started very casually looking at houses to see what we would/should/could look for if or when we move.  I thought this song could be appropriate: Malvina Reynolds – Little Boxes.

song of the week

I like to amuse others by trying to play the mandolin.  Well, this past week my wife bought me a fabulous music book for the mandolin with a lot of great classic rock tunes in it.  I must say, few things make me as happy as playing Led Zeppelin songs on a typically bluegrass instrument.  Anyways, one of the songs that caught my eye and I’m going to have to work on first is a song by a little known band called something like the Tumbling Rocks or something like that.

Paint It, Black

working time again

With spring fully upon us, it gets hard to spend some time in the studio.  I really have to force myself to work in the studio.  However, I just have to convince myself that I am having fun and the time really flies.  I primarily threw some opened bags of clay yesterday trying to clean up a lot of the scraps laying around.

I am starting to think about when the next session of classes could be.  It looks like the next available time would be at the beginning of summer, which tends to work well since everybody wants to be outside in the spring.  There are a couple workshops I’d like to have sometime this summer as well that would be a lot of fun.

Next week things start getting busier around here, including starting my new job in a week or two.  So I really need to take advantage of the time I have now to work in the studio before time becomes a hot commodity.

glaze firing

Well, the odd week is continuing.  I’ve just unloaded the second of two glaze firings I’ve fired this weekend and have finally gone through the results.  Spring is still rushing forward and very little of the 12-16″ of snow that was on the ground only two weeks ago is left – only the large piles by the road.  My little flower garden behind our building is showing signs of life, with some of my crocus starting to bloom (the first blossom opened yesterday, which is by far the earliest flower of the season I have ever had in my little garden).

I also took my computer in to be fixed this morning and bought some groceries, and while in the store I found a Iowa State University candy bar.  Having spent five years at ISU and never known such a thing existed, I was quite surprised to find one in Minnesota (yeah, I know, we’re like 30 miles from Iowa, but Iowa is like an entirely different country).  So, naturally, I had to buy one.  It was delicious.

I thought I had enough pieces to fill three kilns, but it turns out I could fit everything in only two.  Which is good, it means less work for me.  I still have a couple students that need to glaze their pieces this week so I can fire them.  In general I was pretty happy with how everything turned out.  Some of the pieces I brushed turned out way too thin and one glaze got too thick and kind of gooped on the pots.  I made a few sets of pieces which turned out nicely.

I think I’m settling on some nice glazes and shouldn’t need to do much testing for a while. That being said, I am thinking about switching our student glazes from some Spectrum glazes to something else – yet to be determined.  With everything glazed it is time for me to switch to throwing again – I need to get as much in before my job starts at the beginning of April (which I am very excited for).