Monday, May 24, 2010

A Tale of Two Firings

The last two weeks have been very hectic. A cold and windy show in Bethel (see last post) and two firings.I had a lot of pots collected that had been electric fired with the Jade Green glaze that had not gotten as hot as they should have and needed reglazing and a hotter firing.I am happy to say that my first large batch of home mixed glaze turned out as expected. I was also surprised that with the old electric kiln that just has a collection of on/off switches and no computer in sight did such a nice job. With a slow cooling cycle, I even managed to refire some wide flat baking dishes without cracking them. So all in all, the electric firing couldn't have gone better.

The wood firing was a different story. The wood didn't get to the site until the day before the firing so some of us were loading the kiln while others we valiantly trying to build a road through the mud and up the hillside so they could back the truck up to the kiln site. Everything was damp and muddy from a couple of days of rain that continued into the afternoon so it was difficult all around. The truck never made it all the way up the hill but it never went over the side either. All this slowed things way down.The kiln wasn't loaded until 10pm and was not closed up so I could not do my crack of dawn light up. By the time we got all the last minute bricking and asst. chores done it was more like 10:30 and even then it was all so damp that it took a long time to get the temp climbing.The crew that hoped to finish by midnight Saturday finally called it quits at 6:30 Sunday morning.They were totally spent and running out of wood but they had done all they could.

When we opened this weedend, most of the pots in the first chamber were OK. The Soda Chamber where I had all my pots did not even get close to temperature and sprayer issues prevented getting enough soda in to do any good.Some pots with glaze on them were alright but slipped pots were dry and uninteresting.I'll try to refire some in a gas kiln and see if they can be saved. Live, learn and move on.

My next show is June 12 back in Waynesville. They have moved the shows to Saturdays this year and are trying to get approval to move to a more central location.I really would love to see them succeed so I agreed to try it again in June. Fellow Clay Alliance member Trina Feldhake has also agreed to try it in June.I spoke with the organizers and told them that I would try to get a group together. Any Clay Alliance members who would like to try it can just email me and bypass the entry process. I will vouch for your quality and you can pay your $15 entry when you arrive at the show. If we can get enough people to share, I might even spring for a pizza or two for lunch. Hope to hear from some of you.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Anything for a Buck

As promised, here is a picture of an artists booth at the Bethel Arts and Music Festival yesterday. A mounted deer head and a chair. Now, I have nothing against taxidermy. If you insist on having decapitated wildlife in your living room, it's really the only way to go but I had never seen it at an art fair before. The street was open for traffic so it was easy for him to pass out cards to cars stopped at the traffic light. The taxidermist seemed to have a good time, the deer, not so much.

The day was very cold and blustery.Temps were in the 40's and gusts of 35 to 45 mph made a very rough day on the street and a light turnout. My tent was securely weighted but the wind kept twisting it so much that I was afraid it would be damaged. Luckily my brother stopped by and we recruited a couple of other guys to move it to an open area and strike it about noon. I sold some mugs and enough jars and woodfired pieces to make it a low average day in the country but the weather was so brutal that I was wearing everything I could find in the truck except the floor mats. After a "be back" actually came back and bought a large woodfired jar about 3pm I said enough is enough and my hypothermic fingers started packing up to go home. Oh yeah, One more high spot was Dominos Pizza was behind my booth.I ran in and ordered a a sandwich which they were kind enough to bring out to the booth. Turned out to be a recession special.You know, they couldn't make both ends meat. Oh well, sauce cheese and bread had to be good for me. At least it was warm.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Dennis gets Lucky

Yesterday was Clay Alliance's annual Spring Pottery Fair.The day started out as potential washout with thunderstorms as I was driving to the show site and a forecast for tons of rain all day.We had a great crew of volunteers and they were a big help getting everyone set up in the rain.Then we got lucky, the rain defied the weatherman and turned to a drizzle then just cloudy/breezy by afternoon.The crowd was a little subdued but by the end of the day I was $100 ahead of last year so rain or shine it was a success. A big plus was Shimpo had a booth and let the 60 potters draw for 30 door prizes.Good odds.I came away with a new padded adjustable throwing stool! As wet as it was, I didn't get show pictures but some will be posted at
Here are some aftermath shots of a wet load in the truck and how to dry out a tent if you have a barn.