Saturday, December 12, 2009

It's Christmas!

Kinda sorta.
That's what opening the kiln door is like after a glaze firing: like opening presents on Christmas morning. Or like a box of chocolates.
You don't know what you are going to get.
I was up at the crack of dawn:

Instead of just turning over and going back to sleep, I took my flashlight out to the ceramic studio/fabrication shop/woodshop/garage to check the kiln:

The kiln and the ware inside need time to cool down so I just cracked the lid a bit to let some air in.
Opening the kiln door is big thing. Protocol says that the person who fired the kiln gets to open the door and unload.
This is somewhat important for you get to see how the kiln fired; a large kiln will often have "cold" spots where it did not quite hit temperature. This happens mostly in a large kiln like the one in the column on the right.
At the university, opening the kiln door was a problem for the new students would be overly anxious about seeing their work. The kiln doors had locks on them to discourage the practice of someone opening the door before it was cool enough.
Anyways, I was quite anxious to see how my stuff turned out.
The glazes I used were more than a few years old. I had done a test tile to check them and they looked okay.
This firing however, was not a test and this was not done for practice.

I'd call this batch one bullseye and a couple of flyers.
I like how the jaune mug came out. It's going to the French teacher. It was the last one I did and I remembered about this thing I had to apply lettering:

The blue mugs are going to the English and Health teachers. I put some words on them also, but they are a bit harder to see:

If you look good you can see the word "essay" and "adv." on there. The lettering was brushed on with painstaking precision. Okay, not really, but it was the best I could do until I found that lettering thingy. The other mug has some body part names:

The red pieces, actually "strawberry," were okay, though I was not ecstatic. I sort of missed on the lady bug look. The same tool used for the lettering malfunctioned kinda sorta.
The glazes came out good for glazes that have been sitting around for like three years. If they dry out since they are water based, you just add, well, water.
A couple of them were too thin though. I applied extra coats but apparently it was not enough.
Okay, round one is done. Learned a bit more about these glazes and about firing the kiln(see below).
I'm putting off my usual bike ride today for I have to stop by the ceramic store and pick up a few more glaze colors. I forgot that I had thrown away my white glaze for it looked kinda hinky.
Oh, and I have to finish working on these:

Put some handles on 'em, fire 'em, glaze 'em, fire 'em again and it's like Christmas!


dogimo said...

That's cool as all to be able to make those. Do you fling the bad ones at the brick wall outside!?? Or does the idea of breaking them abhor you (or you it)?

limom said...

I have a quality control hammer around here somewhere. I'll be keeping most of this new stuff just so I know what the fired glazes look like. I like to keep some of the failures around just to remind myself that I am still able to create some stupendously crappy objects.