The day unfolded in a regimented manner. First things first, we had to prepare our pieces. Under a large old pepper tree, we installed our chemical station, with large plastic tubes and grilles for pouring solution on top of our bisqued pieces. Our choices today: copper sulfate (4 tsp/gal) and ferrous sulfate (3 tsp/gal). Solutions were poured 3 times, letting the bisque absorb the liquid in between. Some pieces got both solutions poured on. Then they were let to dry in the sun for an hour. Some pieces also got an extra layer of commercial ferric chloride solution brushed on (Radioshack etchant solution), leaving the piece yellow.
|Rose and Myra treating their wares|
|Nancy pouring Ferrous Sulfate|
|Rose and Myra applying Ferric Chloride|
Once the pieces were relatively dried (an hour in the sun), the fun really started. A teaspoon of copper carb here, a teaspoon of iron oxide there, some dried seaweed, oxide-soaked corn husks or cloth strips, a sprinkle of sugar/polenta/wild rice mix, salt, copper wire, whatever was in the boxes in Rose's studio. Get a few potters together in a room and creativity takes over. The energy was high, the anticipation ever higher. "What would happen if I...?" "Let's try it !" "We need more seaweed !"
Nancy's pieces, mostly thin slabs, were quite fragile. Bill kindly built nice little cocoons of chicken wire to protect them from the weight of burning logs. It is a great trick that has served us well, including lids and other small parts that would be too hard to find in the ashes.
|Time for packing|
|Nancy in a creative moment|
|Bill on caging duty|
|Myra and Jim getting into it|
Well, the stage was set, with piles of wood of different sizes, starting with kindling and ending with big oak logs. I'll cover firing and results in my next posts !
|Almost there !|
|The stage is set|