Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Barrel Fired Bottle

Here is a photo of one of the bottles from my last barrel firing. This bottle was burnished with a metal spoon while it was in its leather-hard state. Burnishing with a spoon takes a long time to do. Too long. I'm going to have to try terra sigalata. I've heard this will buff up to a nice high sheen real easy and real fast. Once again, no glazes on this bottle. the colors come from a mix of miracle grow and copper carbonate, which I sprinkle throughout the bottom of the barrel prior to firing. I think the next barrel firing I do I'm going to have to try firing a piece or two in a saggar.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Successful Barrel Firing

Last Saturday I had a very successful barrel firing, or at least one that I was very happy about. This is one of the hand constructed vases that I fired. All the pots had the exact same colors, the red, the pink, black and white, but had different flame pattern markings. Two of the vases I fired did break which isn't that uncommon. I do pile about two hundred pounds of wood on top of the pots.
I really like these hand constructed vases. I've got to get some more clay and start cranking these forms out. I plan on raku-firing a couple that I didn't put in the barrel last Saturday. I have one barrel fired vase that didn't have the markings I was happy with so I plan on refiring it in the raku kiln. I am going to glaze it with a clear crackle glaze. I'm interested to see if the red will stay on the pot. I'm sure the blacks will burn out but I just want to see what happens.
I also learned some new tricks with this last firing and will reveal them after my next firing.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Barrel Firing July '09

I think yesterday's barrel firing went well. It just felt good. Cool Photo huh? My friend Allen Kantowski took the picture. You can see one of my vases in the center of this photo. I fired four vases and one large bottle form. They're all under the wood and buried in the hot coals.

Anyway, I did a few things different this firing. As usual I filled the bottom of the barrel with about six inches of sawdust. I like black interiors rather than light colored so I packed the vases and the bottle with sawdust. Once that was done I placed the pots in the bottom of the barrel. I layed the bottle on it side, placed two of the vases in an upright position and leaned the other two at an angle against the inside of the barrel wall.

Then I sprinkled quite a bit of copper carbonate around the pots and then a bunch of generic Miracle-Grow type fertilizer. I used a variety of wood for this firing. I used a lot of scrap wood from the wood shop. There was some oak, there was some cedar, pine etc... Some of the pieces were 2 by 2, some were 2 by 4inches, and some were like board shelves, all in lenghts of about 1 to 1-1/2 feet long. I loosely placed this wood around the pots and then stacked up a little pyramid. Then I loosely filled the rest of the barrel with some pretty big honking slab-cut logs with the heavy bark still on them. I filled the barrel to the top and then lit it on fire using my propane raku burner. It didn't take long to get it started with the burner but I only lit the tops of the top pieces.

It was a pretty quick firing. The photo above was taken about 2 hours into the firing. Another thing I did differently on this firing is at the point where the photo was taken I sprinkled more copper carbonate and fertilizer around the pots and then sawdust on top of that to add some flame. At this point you could see the multi-colored flames swirling around the pots.

I'll find out the results of the firing later today when I drive out to the studio.