Thursday, November 11, 2010

Upcoming Seagrove Show Looms as We Prepare for another Firing

Loosely packed in the back of kiln

Levi and I are packing the kiln for our eighth firing in the wood kiln. We hope to fire twice for the upcoming Celebration of Seagrove Potters.

I am in charge of this next firing and Levi is in charge of the next firing. For this next firing, I've decided to return to the very first method I used in firing, following the kiln designers' recommendations for firing this particular kiln. While this kiln might be fired for an extended firing, it's designed to fire quickly. We've been attempting to slow down the temperature climb in some of our previous firings, especially when the pyrometric cones, used to measure temperature gain, begin to melt.

We've also been packing the kiln tighter and tighter with pots and shelves. I'm packing this kiln looser, especially at the back, where we've not had sufficient temperature gain in recent firings. I've also put some glazes in the back of the kiln that will melt at lower temperatures than the front of the kiln - an ash/local clay/stone dust glaze and an Alberta Black.

Levi and I threw some tall thin bottle shapes to place on each side of the shelves to fill in space there. I've got quite a bit of my local red clay in this kiln, as well as a bit of Okeweemee Cone 10, a dark local clay mix from STARworks Ceramics. The majority of the pots are STARworks White, cone 10, which flashes nicely.

I'm feeling a bit frustrated lately, not knowing what kind of pots I'm making, not knowing which ideas to follow - where this new kiln is taking me. I wish I was a little further on in my discoveries. There are just so many options right now, and I've not yet decided on which ones to focus my attention.

This frustration is exacerbated by anxieties surrounding the upcoming show in Seagrove. The Celebration of Seagrove Potters, and Seagrove Pottery Festival before that, have always been an important show for me, not just from a business perspective, but from a persona perspective, if you will. It's a unique show because it's a unique area, Seagrove.

Maybe I take things too seriously, but I always get uptight at this time of the year, preparing for the show, where many of the other potters in Seagrove - many of whom I respect and admire - see my work, and where I stand in front of my pots and try to enroll people in the idea of buying another piece of handmade pottery made by Michael Mahan (and his son Levi).

Some new work by Michael

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