Sunday, January 13, 2008

Foiled Experiment

Curses! Foiled Again.

I know it has been a while since I posted but bad weather delayed my last firing several times and then I just didn't update my blog.

Remember the tin foil saggar experiment with the cups? Well, here they are. I suppose it wasn't a complete failure, as I believe that I learned a lot from the firing.

First of all I didn't use heavy duty foil and probably not enough of it. When I shut off the gas and removed the lid from my raku kiln there wasn't much of a sign of the tin foil, just some ash residue around the base of the cups. I think this was because I fired the kiln too hot. I had another piece in the kiln, glazed with a Raku Clear Crackle glaze, and I fired the kiln till that piece was done. That piece is in the forground. I'll explain about that in a bit.

Anyway, with the cups, I think I fired too hot and did not use heavy duty tin foil. One artist I read about on the internet said she used a pyrometer and took her kiln to a certain temperature. I'm going to have to check back into that and perhaps modify my garbage can raku kiln with a port for the pyrometer. But, I see potential for the use of ferric chloride and cobalt sprays.

I wasn't too happy with either cup when I pulled them from the kiln and just tossed them into a snow bank. As they were sizzling I decided to toss a splash of ferric chloride on that cup just to see what would happen. I think some neat overlapping designs of verying intensity can be achieved this way. The cup that was sprayed with cobalt is a beautiful blue. I'm going to have to try both sprays again with pots that have been burnished.

Oh that broken piece in the forground, I accidently dropped it on my way to the car. Dang slippery ice! It was either the pot or me. Anyway. I was building several tall slab built vases and wanted to create contrasting paterns of glazed and unglazed surfaces. I loved the results, before I dropped the piece, but I had a bad problem with the vases cracking on the seams where I joined the pieces together. This was the only piece that made it through both the bisque fire and the raku firing, then I dropped it and broke it. I want to continue with these vases but am going to take a break (OOPS! Bad pun) from them for a while.

I have more research to do with the tin foil saggars, have a bunch of pots to burnish for my next barrel firing, and have a lot of exciting new projects to try. One of the projects is a wall sculpture based on a Mondrian painting. I also want to try making some terra sigillata to enhance my barrel fired pots, and I also have several other "secret" projects in my sketch books. Too much to do. We'll see what I can get done and in what order. Uffda!