Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sneak Peek

We started unloading the kiln on Friday, unveiling a great load of beautiful pots!
I was very excited to see the side of this dish from one of the side stoke holes, it looks like the cobalt blues may turn out well!
The clay body appears pretty dark where there is no slip or glaze. Some of my cobalt experiments may not have fared well without the white ground beneath them. I will see tomorrow.
Ash glazed and slip decorated vase

Small lidded jar with red slip, heavy salt and ash
There will be a lot of cleaning pots in the coming week, with a great show starting next weekend! Be sure to come out to Joseph Sand Pottery to see the beauties next weekend, the 5-6, or the following weekend, the 12-13!

We're working on the kiln shed again today and I am cleaning up the brick I got last year that were salvaged. There's a potential we're going to start working on the kiln in the next few weeks! Very exciting!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A long day

Above was where I spent most of my night last night in front of Joseph Sand's kiln for an 11 pm to 5 am shift. I moved the kiln from 2300 Fahrenheit to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit. It went well.
Pyrometer gauging the temperature in the kiln.
To keep myself awake I played bluegrass music on Sirius XM radio. 
And below is a photo of a very tiny friend who was crawling his way through the dirt as the rain came pouring down last night.

After a few hours of sleep I went to the Triad Pottery Festival where I had a good afternoon trying to stay awake!

It has been a very long day! And now I am going to find my pillow.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Loaded and Fired Up!

We finished loading up the kiln at Joseph's on Wednesday. It's stuffed!

 We got most of the pots we made in the last few months, which was really surprising! It will be a good kiln opening the first and second weekend of May!
Mugs on the shelf
On the front bank of shelves, there were about 25 mugs on each shelf. That mean just on this row of shelves there were about 75 mugs!
Joseph bricking up the door
The kiln got started on Thursday and the wood stoking started on Friday. I'm doing an 11 p.m. to 5 a.m shift tonight. If you're in the area, be sure to come by the Triad Pottery Festival tomorrow to visit with ragged ol' me! Bring coffee!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Loadin' 'er up!

Cone packs ready to go
This blog entry may have very little text as my brain checked out today at around 5:30 and my body is really tired! It's been a long first day of loading the big kiln at Joseph Sand's. We will have quite a load of pottery for the kiln opening! Joseph and I brought down most of the planters over the weekend to the kiln, which gave us a good start today.
We put most of the unglazed planters in the back that may either have a slip or some slip-trailed decoration on them. The back of the kiln fills up quite quickly with those little beasts!

 The first stack of shelves went in nicely (all of them went in nicely, so don't worry!).
 Joseph decided it was a good idea to place a few of the bigger pots in. I wish I had some photos of us hauling the pots down the hill. It was Joseph and I by ourselves on the one on the left and three people on the one on the right.

Joseph with the big pots
 We wrapped up Day 1 with starting one stack in front of the big beasts. 2-3 more days to go!

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Small herd of experiment mugs!
 I overheard someone recently saying that if an experiment of some kind is not going in every one of your kiln firings then you are not moving forward as a potter. It is an interesting perspective, and true in many respects for always challenging oneself and trying new things. This upcoming kiln firing at Joseph's will have a lot of experiments in it for me. Some recently made experiments are these mugs which have a white ground beneath my cobalt blue decorations.

I am hoping that like the previous kiln firing at Joseph's where I first tried this out a little bit, that it will be a shiny white ground with bright blue on top. The blue may blow out a little bit, but I am hoping they will be spectacular and I will certainly take the lessons from my experiments to my kiln when I get it built! 
Small mug with white slip beneath the cobalt blue decoration. Bare clay body surrounds it with salt-glazed surface

Dish rim with white ground under cobalt blue decoration

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Exciting News, Kiln Prep, and Small Stuff

 I recently received a project grant! With support of the North Carolina Arts Council and the partnering arts councils of the Central Piedmont Regional Artists Hub Program I will be building my wood-firing kiln! With the kiln shed coming along well I hope to begin construction on the kiln in May!
Wadding from previous kiln firing with "Heindl" imprinted on them
At Joseph's we have been prepping the big anagama kiln for firing in a few weeks. I was recently cleaning the interior of the kiln and found the pieces of wadding pictured above, left over from the last firing. They were from the bottoms of two of my pots, with my last name imprinted on the wadding!

Small bits of glass stuck into the sides of the mugs. Ash glaze went over these mugs on the outside- should be lovely!

Trying some white slip trailing to go under the ash glaze
It's down to the last week of making pots for the kiln, and this coming week will just be very small things to tuck in around the larger pieces. I have been making mugs for several days last week. Making thin walls on the pots and glazing them raw still makes me a bit nervous, but I am feeling better about it!
Mark your calendars, the kiln opening is May 5-6 and 12-13!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Busy Week

Pottery display at Catawba
It has been a busy week (or so) since returning from Catawba Valley! It was a good show and was nice to see a mix of curators and collectors attending, as well as potters and antiques people. I think my goal for next year will be to have a few big eye-catching pieces to lure people in!
Display at Catawba Valley

Brenda in her booth at Catawba
We just wrapped up a really great work weekend on the farm getting the kiln/machine shed built. It is really amazing to see things coming together and being one step closer to building my kiln!
Almost all of the headers up, rafters sorted
We got our recently purchased blueberry plants in the ground over the weekend as well. Sixteen! They are two years old, so next year we will be able to eat them!

Things at Joseph's are starting to wind down as we started making smaller items to fill the kiln. We'll be loading the big beast in a few weeks and firing the weekend of the 21st. I made a few more low, wide platters last week just for practice and good measure.