Monday, February 13, 2012

Natural ash on Decorated Pots


Ash buildup works nicely here

Several pieces from my latest wood firing are pots that have been decorated by carving designs through a dark slip on a light clay body. It's sometimes difficult to know how to place them in the kiln.

Do I want to take a chance of having the design obliterated with ash buildup? Do I place the pieces so that most of the design work is hidden from ash?

When I decided to build a wood fired kiln, I decided I wanted a kiln that would help create a lot of ash buildup and flashing. I want people to see the pot and know it's been wood fired. When carving on a piece for the wood fired kiln, I sometimes carve on just one side of the piece, and place it in the kiln with the decoration to the back, or to the side, so that ash build up doesn't obliterate the design.

But sometimes, ash buildup around the design happens in such a way as to enhance the design. I have been carving a lot of trees on pots lately, and a few have lovely additions of ash around the limbs of the tree that look like leaves on the tree. I placed a few pieces this firing so that the design faced forward. And some of the pieces I carved had a design around the whole pot, so that I couldn't hide the design from the ash.

Here's a few pictures of pots with design work from the latest firing, showing first the "front" of the pot, then the "back" of the pot. We did stir the embers and the firebox a lot during the firing to create more ash buildup, as well as use a technique of raising and lowering the temperature between 2,300 degrees F. to 2,100 for a couple of hours. And we threw in a few handfuls of ash and sawdust toward the end of the firing.

More pictures from the firing can be found on my Facebook page, here.


 Ohio clay slip

 South Carolina clay slip

 Ohio clay slip

 Ohio clay slip

 South Carolina clay slip

 Ohio clay slip

 South Carolina clay slip








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