Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gift Ideas!

Holiday gift package
 Have a foodie who is hard to shop for on your holiday list? We have the solution! Emmaus Farm and Liberty Stoneware have teamed up to bring you a very special holiday package! The package includes one handled mixing bowl, one bag (1.5 pounds) of NuEast Hard Red Winter Wheat flour from the farm, and a handmade cherry wood mixing spoon made by the farmer (who is conveniently a woodworker)! The bowl is the perfect size for mixing a batch of pancakes or muffins and the freshly ground flour is delicious!
We have wrapped the packages up in red and green cellophane, so you don't even have to mess with wrapping! Each package is $48 (cash), a great deal and unique gift for the holiday! Your purchase of a gift package will help us construct a barn this winter for our workshops!
 We also have hollow, round porcelain ornaments still available as well as some gorgeous flat ornaments from the recent kiln firing.
Flat decorated ornaments

Flat decorated ornaments
Contact me ( or come visit us at the Greensboro Farmer's Curb Market on Yanceyville from 6:00 am -12:00 pm this Saturday, December 22nd!
Ornaments on display
Happy holidays from Emmaus Farm and Liberty Stoneware!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Fourth Firing Lessons

First peek into the kiln
I may have gotten a little carried away by packing my kiln with so many pots. My efforts to try and sort out some issues I was having did not include the assessment that packing my kiln the way I did would make it reduce much harder than I thought it was. The reduction of the kiln, when the oxygen is cut off, causes the iron in the clay body to be drawn to the surface, making the pottery look darker. The porcelain ornaments remained white because porcelain has no iron in it. How do I usually know it is reducing? Usually I have gotten back pressure in my front firebox, which I did not have as much of this time, and that falsely made me think I was doing okay. Sometimes I will also see little black wisps of smoke coming out of crevices at the top of the kiln when it is reducing really hard. I also did not see as much of that this time, but because the shelf was so densely packed in front of the flue, I think it was naturally reducing away the whole time!
Dark and shiny pots
On the plus side, I had little to no dry ash in this firing, and the cool corner was closer to the rest of the kiln than it has been in the last firings. I ended up starting to salt around cone 8, continuing through cone 10, and soaked the kiln for an hour after the final salting. All of my glazes fluxed smoothly and the salt coverage was pretty profound in a few places. We reached cone 11 in most places and the total firing time was even a little shorter than the last one! Here's to looking forward to firing number five!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Fourth Firing Packed Up!

 For me, loading a kiln is like designing an exhibition. I see the pieces I have and the space I need to fit it into, and then have to figure out the spacial relationship and configuration just so in order for everything to work well. My mind works a lot in pictures, so when I was standing in the midst of all of the pots I needed to get into the kiln yesterday, I pictured the interior of the kiln and then said, "oh, crap!"
Rest assured, everything except for a few small pieces did not make it in. Lots of bigger pieces in this load. For this firing I put the larger shelf in the back with the half shelf in the front. Only by necessity did I put in another couple of shelves in the front in order to get the rest of the pots in. I'm hoping that with everything several inches from the walls and doors, and with the shelves being fairly far apart from one another, that there will still be good air flow. I am also hoping that with the larger stack in the back, that it might soak up some of the heat that comes from the front fire box and seems to escape out the chimney. 
Kiln furniture AKA flattened blobs of clay
 I'm playing with some more kiln furniture in this firing, so I will try to post something this week on my adventures in making and using kiln furniture. I'm off to bed soon for a long day tomorrow!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Missing Potter

 I apologize for being so lax in my blog posting. I thought I would share some photos of what I have been up to. Where have I been?
Lidded pickling crocks, a cooler, and compost crocks!
Mixing bowls for our farm/pottery holiday package
and here
Flat ornaments
and here
Lidded pickling crocks
I haven't traveled far from my pottery wheel, but I have been away from the computer! It is great having my own kiln. The only downside is that I have not had much inventory and have been working like a mad woman to fire as many kilns as possible for the holidays. Fourth firing is this weekend!
I did get a chance to see the local Liberty Christmas parade after the Farmer's Market this past weekend, and even got my tree decorated!

Fresh pots (cross our fingers) at the Farmer's Market on the 15th!