Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Pots from the October wood firing

As promised, here's a selection of my pieces pulled from the Manor Stokes kiln on 8th October. Overall it was an excellent firing with good levels of reduction throughout the kiln, even at the top which is often fairly oxidized. I was delighted with most of the pots, especially those placed near the firebox which were beautifully coloured by the ash and flame.

Vase, shino glaze

Vase, matte ash glazes

Vase, shino glaze

Iga style vase, 8 ins tall
With the Iga style vase above, I tried adding extra wood ash by mixing it with plain flour and water and applying the paste to the bisqued surface. The plain flour is used only to make the ash stick to the pot..the idea being that it burns out completely in the firing. Due to the very heavy reduction in the mouth of the firebox, the flour hasn't completely burned out, and the ash didn't get quite hot enough to fully melt, hence the very crusty surface which is rather crumbly in places. Although I like the look of this vase, it will probably need re-firing at some point.


Guinomi, carbon-trap shino

Vase, black slip decoration

Tea bowl, celadon glaze

Lidded container

Celadon vase

Lidded container
Vase with shino glaze pours

Small textured vase

Carved vase
Close-up of texture, carved vase

Underside of carved vase
Carved vase, 12 ins tall
Incidentally, I managed to bisque the very tall bottle vase in my electric kiln yesterday! The height of the kiln was extended with lightweight bricks and brought in pyramid style, round the top of the vase.

A few layers of kiln fibre for the roof and it was ready to fire. It took a little longer than a normal bisque but worked fine, I may even try this method for a glaze firing.. I think it could even work for a stoneware firing to cone 7...cone 10 might be pushing it, and no doubt there would be some problems with uneven temperature.

Thanks for reading :)

Mystery of poor photos solved!

I found out the reason for my photos looking awful in Blogger. It's down to the new Google+ auto-enhance feature, which is supposed to improve your photos but actually makes them look much, much worse.

The full explanation can be found here:

Simple fix can be found in the Google+ settings where you can switch off the auto-enhance option and revert photos which have already been "enhanced" can also set an option to say you want your photos uploaded at full size. Glad I found this now, as I was seriously considering stopping using Blogger altogether.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

A wood fired tea caddy

The wood firing at Manor Stokes was a success, and we achieved a good level of reduction throughout the kiln. I will show more pictures of the results soon, but for now, here is my finished tea caddy (the textured one I fired first in a small gas kiln) :

I sprinkled some extra wood ash on top, and just as in the gas kiln, it didn't melt fully! Actually, the kiln was a little cooler at the bottom than normal, and I'm not sure why..possibly because we were reducing the whole kiln so heavily. But it has evened up the colour on the lid and created an interesting, crusty surface, so overall I'm very happy with it. 

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Back to sculpture

Making the large figurative vase the other day gave me some inspiration and ideas for sculpture. It is quite some time since I made any sculptural work .. one or two didn't work out but these are the keepers for now:

Length 8in

Height, 8 ins

Height, 6 ins
"King for a day". Bisqued clay, 6 ins tall.

I'm not sure how these rough textures will look fired..the problem is always how to achieve the right colour without adding glazes which may adversely affect the texture. Last week I "discovered" a new way to apply ash to bisqued clay; by mixing raw, sieved ash about 55/45 with plain flour and water to make a kind of gluey paste. This can be poured inside forms or brushed on the outside and once dry, the flour-ash mixture forms quite a hard, durable surface:

Pot with wood ash- flour coating

The other day I fired this mixture to cone 10 on a couple of test pieces in the electric kiln and it worked reasonably well, although the colours were quite pale and muted, being an oxidation firing. This weekend I am firing the wood kiln with the Manor Stokes team and will also test it on a few pots. I'm excited to see how they will turn out.

Very disappointed with the way Blogger has uploaded these B&W jpeg images..they are completely different to the originals; over-exposed and the background has a kind of interference effect going on! They look much, much better in flickr. It's as though the exposure adjustments I made in Photoshop have been stripped out of the images. This has never happened before, and I wonder if Blogger is now compressing images to save on storage space..hmmmm.

Thanks for reading.