Thursday, 1 December 2016

Latest results from the electric kiln

Well, all too soon we're back to freezing temperatures here in the UK, which I have to say does make life in the workshop somewhat less enjoyable. I always know winter has properly arrived when my fingers go completely numb after washing my throwing tools in a bucket of water.

On the plus side, I was happy with most of the pieces that came out of last week's electric firing. The dolomite and wood ash glaze on the textured, globular vase crawled alot but I think in an attractive way, to reveal the first layer of glaze. The crawling wasn't a big surprise as two layers of different glazes were applied without bisquing on the first layer ..  and it already had a layer of textured slip and a layer of grey slip underneath those!

This time the kiln was fired to cone 8 with a half hour soak, slightly lower than normal, aiming to get more and deeper pinholing on some of the dolomite pieces. It worked to some extent on the vases, although on the globular one, the high level of metal oxides in the first layer of glaze made the final coating of dolomite glaze flux and become quite glassy in places. This variation in texture and opacity actually appeals to me, so I plan to do more of this kind of thing in future.

I don't normally make plates, partly because they take up such alot of space in the kiln, unless you're able to stack them of course. With this one, I placed the seven-inch bowl (shown below) on top of it with clam shells in between. There were also shells supporting the plate so they've left their outlines fused into the glaze on both sides. I especially like the different ways the shells have interacted with the painted slip decoration on the top side, creating something which vaguely resembles a face. I usually buy frozen clams from the fishmongers in large bags, which is probably not the cheapest way to source shells for pottery, but it does mean I get to treat myself to spaghetti ala vongole from time to time!

Plate (front)

Plate (back)

Bottle vase, height approx 6.5 inches

Vase, diameter approx. 6.5 inches

Coffee cup

Bowl, diameter approx 7 inches

Bowl (underside)

Bowl closeup

Textured vase, dolomite and wood ash glaze, height 4 inches

Coffee mug

Carved sake cup

I'll be making some of these pieces available on my website over the coming days.

Thanks for reading!


Never give up, the best is yet to come.


  1. I have been watching your progress over low these many years, Mark, and I am amazed at what you are doing, good for you love the depth in the places and all your other work

    1. Thank you .. I just try to keep moving forward, little by little.