Yes! I'm barrel firing again. I think it has been a year since I last lit a barrel. I've been lighting-up my gas raku kiln almost everyday for the past week and I've had some pretty awesome results. You can see a few of the tea bowls on my flickr site. I'll post a few more next week.
Anyway, back to the barrel firing. I'm participating in Wisconsin's Regional Art Program Exhibit, which starts in a week. I need to drop off three of my peices to the Regional Art Center tomorrow morning. I have picked two of my raku bowls but really wanted to include a piece of my barrel fired pottery. I've been anxiously waiting for a day to light it up but the weather has not been too cooperative the past two weeks. If it wasn't raining it was too too windy . Yesterday was a bit windy but the deed had to be done.
I started right after work. At 2:45pm I filled the bottom of the barrel with about 4 or 5 inches of sawdust, placed the pots in the bottom, sprinkled my magic dust around the pots, and loaded the barrel full with an assortment of really nice wood from the wood shop. There were lots of scrap pieces of oak, cherry, maple, birch, you name it. The best part about the wood, outside of the fact that it was free, was that it was clean and free of dirt.
Usually I fill the barrel full of wood and then build a pyramid with more wood that sticks up about 24 inches above the rim of the barrel. Because it was a bit windy I didn't stack a pyramid and loaded the wood about 6 inches from the top of the barrel. The Fire was lit with my raku torch at 2:15pm. At 6:15pm there was very little flame and the barrel was half full of glowing coals. The coals will burn through the night and die out. Friday afternoon after work I'll see what the burn has produced.
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