This is the kiln at the art center. Its not huge, but a good size for a small low production group. For the curious, its a Skutt KM 1027, probably 14 years old now. We've got an 'Envirovent' on it that draws air in through the top, then exhausts it out the bottom, through a dryer vent hose and out a hole in the wall. This cuts way down on the fumes exhausted into the kiln room, and eliminates the need to prop open the kiln lid in the first 1000 degrees F. I highly recommend this or something similar if you don't have a dedicated kiln room you can stink up every time you fire. Its empty in the picture!
Here you can see the top of a load of bisque fired pottery. The color you see on some of the pieces is slip and underglaze, and there are several different types of clay being used. This work is from 4 of the other mudslingers.
Here I've removed the uppermost shelf and the big pot so you can see the shelf just below. The bear head was poking out from under the shelf into the space between the two big pots because it was just too tall. You notice I've stacked some pieces, in a bisque firing the clay does expand and contract, but it won't stick unless someone has used glaze. Generally a no-no, because the clay can contain some organic material that burns out early in the firing and causes problems with the glaze. The few pieces we've done that did have some were no issue so far, so... *shrug* Another artist's work here, so we're up to 5 peeps work in this load so far.
Ah, here's some of my stuff, tiles and trays, plus a few pieces from two other artists. So, now we're up to 7 artists in this firing. Again, there are several clays, the dark brown is one clay, the tiles (quick, count!) are 4 different clays. The dark teapot in the previous photo is the same clay as the dark stopper here. The red and blue are underglazes.
Bottom layer! My orchid pots, orchid pots from another artist, plus a mix of other pieces. 5 artists in this level, so we're up to a total of 9 artists in this firing! The blue is underglaze, and there are a couple different clays.
My haul from this load! Now I've got a bunch of glazing to do! Mmmm, not my favorite part of the process, but eh, oh well! :)
Well, signed a rental agreement today, I officially have studio space as of October first! AAAAAAACK! Oh I hope this takes off. I'll have a couple more weeks of work, then I'll either be done painting this house or shut down by rain. So by somewhere around October 20, I'll be... something! So far sales on Etsy have been reasonably good for a new store, and I'll have time to work on pottery, the yard, the dump I'm living in, AND job search.
Tomorrow I'll unload the kiln, gonna grab the camera and get pics of the process to post. :)
One of these days I'll take pics as I load. Maybe I'll remember the camera Saturday when I unload! Anyhoo, have a load in, and yes, still firing with the old elements. Shouldn't be a problem with the bisque load, its just the last bit of the glaze firing giving us fits. I have 3 or 4 (maybe 5? I forget) white clay orchid pots in, plus a dozen flora tiles and the two coiled tiles.
Also rolled out and cut a load of buttons-165 ittybitty flowers that will end up being about 3/4 of an inch when done. 3 variations on a theme, but they still need cleaned so guess what I'll be doing Saturday after I unload the kiln! Thank goodness I can bisque them then stick them in a box for a while until I'm ready to glaze them. Think I'll do a bunch with the earthy orange terra sig, maybe some blue n purple ones, and definitely some more off white ones. The spiral ones I did with weststone terra sig and manganese dioxide are getting a lot of attention right now on Etsy, so I think those will work. Then I want some pale pink, but I'll have to order that I think!
Got a bunch of orchid pots, some plates and some tiles ready to go into the bisque, and the rest of the Mudslingers have a bunch, so its time for a bisque! At least the kiln will handle that with wimpy elements, the firing I unloaded today was slightly under-fired and we got an error again. Ah well, everything came out ok, although my one orchid pot in there was a bit bubbly. I'll refire it when we get new elements and it should be fine. The glaze I used is pretty prone to that, I've seen it happen before.
On another note, we've got a raku firing planned for next month so I need to work on some stuff for that. Maybe I'll do some more strange fruit? They should look good in raku!
Could be worse, it looks like its time to replace the kiln elements again. As Eva pointed out, its been 5 or 6 years since they were last replaced, and even though they are not flopped over like they were last time, they look pretty bedraggled. Pricing them out it'll be about $300 this time around. Ah well, it explains why the kiln has been taking longer and longer to fire, and why the glazes ran the past couple loads! The thermocouple is a year or so old now too, but it's not acting up. Oh well, I'll hit the group up this week then hit the art center up and get the coils soon. We can still fire, but I'll have to remember to throw some cones in and see where we are actually firing to.
On another note, got the whistlingfishpottery.com site redirected here, so now that's no longer trundling off into the cyberspace void. One more thing done. Now I need to get more production done!
Well, mixed load out of the kiln! Got 9 nice orchid pots and a luminary that's permanently fused to a cruddy tile. Oh well, other than that it looks great. The kiln mis-fired again, I'll have to check the coils tomorrow and see if they're all heating. NOT happy about that!
I MIGHT actually have this thing figured out (knock on wood!) Two Etsy sales so far this week, and there's still tomorrow! Half my current orchid pots are gone, so its a good thing the kiln gets unloaded tomorrow!
Also have a dozen coaster tiles ready to go to the art center for the next cycle, although I think I'll be doing another glaze load before they can go in.
The twitter link now works! So, now its on to something else, but not sure yet what. Maybe just more research? Maybe putting back-links in the listings on etsy? I've done a few, not sure they're doing any good but I know I can throw some on all of them, linking back to sections and to the shop. The kiln is running, with *counting on fingers* 9 orchid pots and a luminary plus a bunch of little things. That'll keep me posting new stuff on etsy for a while! :) I should go make some more tiles for coasters, I think those and the coiled tiles will do something once I get them out of the kiln! Might snitch a few of the orchid pots for the display at the art center,
Or whatever you want to call it. Today's installment, Twitter! I still haven't figured out how to tie it all together and such, but eh, I'll get it! They tell me it all counts for search engines and stuff, so I guess I should be happy to mess with the social networking stuff, bleh. Not my best side, that social butterfly! I'd rather be up to my elbows in mud :)
Out of the bisque, these orchid pots to the left are ready for staining. I'll throw some iron oxide stain on them (rust, dontcha know) then put them through the final firing. Above they are stained, not much difference. The two lighter ones are porcelain instead of the red clay and they have peacock glaze on them. They'll be BLUE, believe it or not, once they are fired. The oxide will darken on the red ones and look rustic.
Also got pics of this AND the banner, so the mural is on Etsy now and I finished the banner! I'm happy with it, the coiled tile plaque with 'whistling fish pottery' across it should work nicely. :)
Clay has always fascinated me, its many colors and textures, the shapes you can create using it, even the feel of it squishing in my hand. Even after years of playing in the mud I find myself exploring new ideas and I hope my work shows this.