Monday, July 25, 2011

Kiln vs. Pottery

Courtesy, Washington and Lee University University Anthropology.
I  have been in Virginia for a few days researching the archaeological kiln collections at Washington and Lee University. These are from the Rockbridge Baths kiln site, operating around the mid-nineteenth century.
I thought I would share a quick photo of a great piece I found last Friday. This is of a handle fragment with a large chunk of kiln attached to it. Essentially what happened was that a brick which had been deteriorating and melting over time fell on top of the piece of pottery. Hence, kiln vs. pottery. In this case, the kiln won! A lot of the sherds show other drips from the kiln bricks. It is funny to think as a contemporary potter how today we get worried about losing one or two pieces of pottery in a kiln firing, but do not usually have to consider the atmosphere or condition of the kiln bricks, the risk of kiln furniture not functioning, the lack of shelves being used, and stacking pots one on top of another. I think what we would consider a glaze flaw or kiln fail today would have passed as a first rate piece of pottery then! I will share more photos when I get home later this week.
Handle fragment. Courtesy, Washington and Lee University University Anthropology.

Courtesy, Washington and Lee University University Anthropology.

Backside of the handle, showing the melted kiln brick and other materials covering the fragment. Courtesy, Washington and Lee University University Anthropology.

Courtesy, Washington and Lee University University Anthropology.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pitcher Party

After a recent sale, I noticed that I was running low on pitchers. So, last week, between hosting family and friends, I had a little pitcher party and made a few, with the hopes of making more in the next couple of weeks.
I made sure to make some twisted-handle pitchers, as I am completely out of them!
Twist handle
When I pull my handles, I tend to put the pots upside-down on the edge of table. This allows for the handles to keep from slumping, and it allows me to clean up the bottoms and put my stamps on.

Upside-down pitchers


Row of hanging handles
I have also been thinking about a taller pitcher with a lid in order for it to be put in the refrigerator, or placed on a table without allowing anything to fall into the mouth of the pitcher. I also put a wide base on these in order for them to sit in the refrigerator, with wire racks or with glass shelves.
New, larger pitcher

Pitcher with lid

I put a strap handle on the front in order for the weight of it to be balanced when pouring.

Strap handle at the front of the pitcher
I had fun decorating these as well, and put the Liberty Stoneware stamp on the front. I cannot wait to see these in a salt kiln!
Cobalt decoration

Cobalt decoration

Stamp and strap handle

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Stemless Wine Cups

I recently made a set of stemless wine cups and took them to the Off the Vine shop in Liberty in order to test them out. I received some good feedback about the design, and they seemed to have been well received!
I also made a few videos! This video shows what was referred to as the "clink-factor" of the cups:

And this video is me entertaining myself with the "wobble factor" of the cups. I think this is actually an important design factor because it bounces back. Someone actually made a curious recommendation to name the cups "woblets." I am thinking about that!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Kiln Footage

I wanted to share a video I made a few weeks ago while at the Pottersville kiln site excavation in Edgefield, South Carolina. I made a few other shorter videos, and will try to get those up soon.
This video is an overview of the kiln as it was just before I left. I tried to put in as much explanation as I could. The footage shows me walking the length of the kiln.

The excavation of the kiln in South Carolina was recently completed, and a really great video made by Story Line Media highlights the process of the dig and the findings.