Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Fleet Is In

The Fleet Is In. Now being displayed for the next month at Viterbo University, first floor, Fine Arts Building.
A collection of whimsical, nautical, toylike teapots. Detailed photos can be viewed from my blog site archives.
Each boat is hand constructed using a low-fire terra cotta clay body and finished with commercial glazes. To increase the toy-like appearance I have also added hand modeled additions made from simple plaster press molds, such as toy soldiers for the "P-Tea-109" and little fighter jets for "Sea Power."
Stop by and see the fleet, if possible, or view some of the boats in my archives.
Happy Holidays.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Favorite Four

2005 was an exciting year in clay for me. Although I was pulled in many dierections by the creative possibilities of clay and my total output of finished pieces was smaller than usual, I am very happy with the end results.
My four favorite pieces are the wood-fired tea bowls above. They are now part of the California Collection (gifts to my mother and brother who live in California).
My first experience with wood firing, thanks to Tony Ferguson, has focused my creative energies into the process of firing and the desire to build my own kilns. I am currently building a propane, fiber lined, Raku Kiln and also preparing to build a small wood-fired brick kiln.
My progress on the kilns will be posted on my blog. Oh! If you're interested in wood-fired pottery, you must check out Tony's WebSite

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Kiln Building

My first Raku kiln. What a dandy. All materials used in the construction of this little kiln were either scrounged or borrowed, with the exception of the propane used to fire the kiln.

I borrowed approximately 50 hard fire brick from the University Ceramics Dept. The weed burner was borrowed from my friend John R. The 20lb. propane tank was scrounged from a gas barbeque grill. And a broken piece of kiln shelf was scrounged for my shelf. The top is a piece of ceramic fiber board that my friend John scrounged from scrap material at his place of work(a furnace/boiler A/C repair company). I cut a round flue hole in the top board and used another scrap as a damper.

I started with two pieces of kiln shelf to level the ground and to act as the floor of the kiln. I then stacked the hard fire brick in a small square on top of the kiln shelves, 7 rows high. I didn't need to but I mixed up a 50/50 batch flint and kaolin, added some water to make a mortar, and applied it to the outside of the kiln. It was actually a good idea but it was a chore to scrape and wire brush the bricks when I returned them to the college.

This is my first attempt at kiln building and I learned a great deal. It only cost 16 bucks for the propane. I like wood firing and I am going to use this kiln as a model for a wood burning kiln that can be used both for raku and stoneware. I'll add on a 36" fire box covered with either kiln shelf or fiber board and eventually use all insulated fire brick rather than hard brick.

Next kiln to be built---a Fiber lined, garbage can, Raku Kiln.