Right off the wheel.
I need some more pots to barrel fire. These are about 8 to 10 inches tall.
With these pots I start with about a 4-pound ball of clay and wedge the clay to make the clay consistent throughout and to remove any air pockets, or bubbles. Wedging is just like kneading dough for breads, pizza, pasta etc.
Once the clay is wedged I center the ball of clay on the wheel and proceed to throw, pull and create my pot.
The final step before I remove the pot from the wheel is to smooth the entire surface with a thin metal rib. Ribbing or smoothing the pot makes it much easier to burnish the "leather hard" clay. Burnishing is the most time consuming part of the process and is what will ultimately give the barrel fired pot its polished, marble-like, appearance when pulled from the ashes.
After all the pots are burnished they will be bique fired in an electric kiln and then they will be ready for the barrel firing. If all goes well, and weather permitting, I hope to load and light the barrel in two weeks.