Monday, January 14, 2008

Empty Bowls Project Update

A quick update from the Viroqua Empty Bowls Project held last October (Oct. '07 blog archive). I just recently found out that originally they were hoping to get about 200 bowls donated from local area potters. Well, they took in about 300 bowls and raised 8,000 dollars in three hours. The proceeds went to the purchaser's choice, either the local Food Pantry, International Hunger-Relief Organizations, or the Empty Bowls Project. Now we have a goal to beat for the 2nd Annual Viroqua Empty Bowls Project.

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!