Sunday, March 25, 2012

Interesting Effect is Intriquing Me

I've been using a blue clay from Ohio that a customer brought me many years ago. It melts at stoneware temperature, so I've used it to line the inside of some pots in my wood-fired kiln, and lately, I've used it on the outside of some "green" (unfired) pots, brushing it on the outside and carving designs through the blue clay. It's a high iron clay, much like the traditional Albany slip clay used on pots of the past.

My latest firing had several pieces in it like this, and also a few bowls just glazed inside and out in the Ohio clay. The bowls were fired in the front of the kiln, where it reached the highest temperature: cone 14 or so (2,530 degrees F.) This last firing was in reduction for most of the firing after reaching about 1,800 degrees, and I sealed up the kiln at the end of the firing, stoking with three large pine logs, so it was in reduction during much of the early cooling down process.

The bowls in the front of the kiln were toasty on the outside and very unusual on the inside. I love the texture, kind of like animal skin. I've not seen anything like it, so I'm thinking I'll try again to get the same look. There's probably a name for this technique, so if anybody knows, let me know. Here's a few pictures:

A Close Up

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Newest Work from the Manabigama

It's busy around here.

We've got to pack up for the 15th Annual Catawba Valley Pottery & Antiques Festival  held this weekend in Hickory. I have 40 more foot-soaking bowls to make for the Andez Hotel in New York City, and we want to fire another load of wood-fired pots before the upcoming Celebration of Spring in Seagrove in April.

Still, we managed to fire the Manabigama (our wood-fired kiln) last Sunday. Levi's out of the country, so it was Mary and I who stoked the kiln for about 13 hours this time. Here's a few pots that came out of that firing:

Ohio Clay Slip
Ohio Clay Slip

Steins, glazed and unglazed

South Carolina Clay Slip

Natural Ash

Two glazed with Ohio Clay Slip

Ohio Clay Slip with lots of Natural Ash
Bottle re-fired

Same Bottle

Levi's Work for upcoming show in Southern Pines

My Local Clay

Tall Vase by Levi with White Slip

Tree Jar with South Carolina Clay Slip

Levi's Umbrella Stand, Flashing Slip

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Par for the Course

The robins are bobbing around in the yard. What a beautiful day. Too bad I just lost four paragraphs of text because I forgot to open a new window to do a search for the Catawba Valley Pottery Festival, at which we will be selling new pots at the end of March. Oh well, it's par for the course. I tried to fire my electric kiln twice recently, only to find out that it didn't want to rise in temperature above 800 degrees. Well, today I didn't want to unload this kiln and load the newer kiln, so I opened up the computer panel to take a look. Yep, two wires were burnt off a panel of connections. I needed two new wire connectors, the kind that you slide a wire into and crimp it and then screw the other end onto a panel with a separate screw. I didn't have any, but I had an aha moment and wondered if I could fashion a connector out of a bag of simple electrical sleeves that I always get when I order new elements for the kiln. These simple sleeves are made to slide the element into and crimp, then slide the wire into and crimp. I needed something to slide the wire into on one end and something to screw it onto a panel with on the other end. So - using a vise, hacksaw, vise grips, electric bench grinder, hammer and anvil, and a drill and drill bit - I altered one side of sleeve and it worked. Fired the bisque kiln yesterday. Unloaded it today and finished glazing a few pieces for an order and loaded the newer kiln. I put four sets of cones in this kiln because the last firing was over-fired a bit. In the midst of it all, I attended the North Carolina Potters Conference this weekend in Asheboro. I did manage to make a few large steins and other pots for the next wood firing yesterday. The pictures are taken with Photo Booth on my Macbook Pro, as I lost the little digital card from my camera after taking it out of the camera along with the battery because I left the camera out in the rain recently. I hope tomorrow's a nice day as well. Sorry about the text being all one paragraph. Apparently, I did something wrong by typing in "HTML" instead of "Compose" in Blogger. I've never had that happen before. I better hurry up and publish before something else messes up.

Jug with hips

Large pitcher with runner stamp

Steins (handle pulled from the bottom)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Fifty Pear Jars Completed, now what's next?

Sorry for the lapse of coverage on the goings on at From the Ground Up. I decided recently to purchase a new Macbook Pro (13"), and as always happens with new technology, I've spent a lot of time making the transition.

It's busy around here. I've got 50 little pear jars to clean up today. I'm firing a bisque load of pots, including a few plates that will finish up a special order for awards for the Ellerbe Springs Marathon. Levi threw the bowls for the order before he left for a two-month visit to Peru Tuesday. I'll finish glazing bowls for the marathon today. I've got two sinks to create for a hotel in Switzerland. I'm attending the North Carolina Potters' Conference this weekend in Asheboro. And there's a publicity meeting tonight for the Seagrove Area Potters Association. Oh, yeah, I've got to go get a load of wood from a pallet recycler sometime soon.

Here's a few pictures, followed by a couple of movies of me making one of the jars:
These are some of the jars I've been making - thrown in one
piece. The tops are cut off later.

Here they are with the tops cut off.

And here's one that's finished.

Cooling in the kiln.

A stack of saucers for the jars. For some reason,
I felt very satisfied holding this stack of tiny
plates for the jars after spending several days
getting ready them ready to fire in the kiln.

A couple of tree pots, using my latest stamp. This stamp
actually makes a negative impression on the pot, somewhat
like a fossil. I like the effect. The clay was washed with a
red iron stain before firing to cone 6. Clay: Okeeweemee 6
from STARworks Ceramics.