Saturday, May 19, 2012

Finished pieces from the barrel firing

Now that my pieces are cleaned and waxed, I was able to take some single shots.

All four pieces were made with cone 10 half and half stoneware, burnished at the dry stage, treated with terra sigillata, and bisqued to cone 08. After the bisque firing, copper sulfate solution was applied in three coats, followed by three coats of brine solution after a day of drying. For the barrel firing, each piece was wrapped in newspaper with various organic and inorganic elements in close contact, as described under each picture.

All pieces are about 10-11 inches in height. It is a good size for our 50-gal steel barrel, three can form a nice loose layer.

copper wire, salt,
copper carbonate,
red iron oxide

The copper wire used was actually a copper scrubbie that was unfurled and fitted all around the pot like a sock. The mesh imprint is more visible on the other side of the pot. I like this side better for its dark blue colors.

coffee grounds, copper carb.
and iron ox.-soaked corn husks,
copper carbonate, red iron oxide

This is the first time I use coffee grounds. Like anything else I add, I was very generous and it transpired with a lot more grey-bronze areas. The overall colors are quite soft, even pastel, and it reminds me of colored japanese brush painting.

kelp, copper carbonate,
red iron oxide

It is pretty hard to notice that a big piece of kelp was completely wrapped around the piece. Had the piece not been presoaked with salt, the kelp would have left a more noticeable imprint. This particular pot was in the barrel that reached top temperature. As a result, the colors are richer and warmer, with more reds.

eel grass, rutile, red iron oxide,
copper carbonate, salt,
sugar/polenta/wild rice mixture

This final piece is my favorite. For the first time I used rutile, and I have yet to understand its contribution, but more yellows are present. Another interesting addition was the use of long skinny seaweed (eel grass) that was placed in tangles around the piece. It left visible marks of various colors, likely due to the different chemicals in the vicinity.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Spring Barrel Firing

Our little group finally got together for our first 2012 barrel firing. As it turned out, the scant rain Southern California got this winter mostly fell on our scheduled week-ends. So we cashed in all our weather karma points for a gorgeous first week-end of May !
At this point, we all are barrel firing veterans. Within two hours pots were prepped and barrels were loaded, ready for Rose to officiate the Lighting. We fed the fire for two hours, using oak wood in the second hour. It was a mellow afternoon, under the shade of a big tree. By the time embers covered the top of the barrels, we had broken into a light dinner, picnic-style. Rose and Bill covered the top with sawdust in the evening for a slow cooling overnight.
The next day was filled with oohs and aahs. Interestingly one of the barrels did not fire as hot as the other. We could tell from the intact aluminum foil of some of the saggars at the bottom of the barrel. We surmised the embers did not fall all the way down to surround the bottom pots. It can happen if the loading at the top is too constrained.
But overall the firing yielded some beautiful marks on the pots.

The Stacking

The Lighting by Rose

The Feeding

The Feeding - Part 2 !

The Smoldering

The Pieces