Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Pipes and Kiln Blobs

Kiln blob with pipe heads
One of the best things that followed me home from Kentucky recently was an amazing piece from a kiln. I say followed me home, but I was in fact, graciously given this piece and I am incredibly excited to share it with you.
Close up of the pipe heads

Not just any ol' blob from a kiln though! This particular blob has a huge mass of smoking pipe heads all lumped together! The image above is really great because you can see how the pipes were made in a two part mold. The thin little line that runs down the center was the space between the two molds when the pipes were put together. There are about four different pipe designs, which is pretty neat to think of four molds being used in one shop.

I suspect that these were being fired in a salt-glaze kiln before they met their demise in the bottom of the kiln. The provenance behind the piece is that it is from Ohio. If anyone has ever seen any of these types of pipe heads, I would love to know more about where they may be from and what time period they may date to.
Bottom of the kiln blob
 Why do I suspect this little beast came from a salt-glaze kiln?
 The center blob above- light gray, with a sanded surface and a light greenish coating - is a piece of kiln furniture used in a salt-glaze kiln.
 The center piece in the photo above is also a piece of kiln furniture from a salt-glaze kiln.
I think the pipe heads met their demise when the saggar that the pipes were fired in may have collapsed. In the photo above the piece at the bottom right is a large section of what may have been the saggar. This is another reason I think this was a salt firing kiln, because everything turned into a massive stuck blob because of the salt that fused everything together.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Rookwood Pottery Kiln Lunch

My birthday was last week and after spending a few days in Kentucky doing research I had the pleasure of having lunch at The Rookwood restaurant in Cincinnati, Ohio. The restaurant is housed in the former Rookwood Pottery factory

View from my table toward the outside of the kiln
Where was my table? INSIDE OF A KILN! The meal was fantastic and reasonably priced. The flavors were great, and they had a very tasty Goetta, a Cincinnati German tradition.
Table inside of the kiln

Kiln furniture!
Having tables in the kilns gives a whole new meaning to kiln furniture! The updraft bottle kilns have fantastic acoustics.
Here are a few more photos from the restaurant:
Rookwood vessel with a mold

Chandelier in the kiln

Monday, January 7, 2013

Local Clay

My view from the wood trailer
 Some girls can be swooned with chocolate. Show me a bank of clay and I'm in heaven. While cutting firewood over the past few days I've had the opportunity to scavenge some local clay. There are two colors in the area around our farm.
The burnt orange clay
Many places have a rich red clay, but that is not to be found on our farm, or in the area much for that matter. The first layer of clay is a burnt orange color, I'm thinking it is going to be an earthenware, but may make for a great glaze. It is pretty short to play with (meaning it's not a real friendly clay to throw on the wheel), but also very smooth once you get the quartz pebbles out. I'm putting a bit aside to try as a slip.
The gray-white clay
The second color of clay is a bright whitish gray. It is below the layer of orange clay and sometimes has streaks of the orange running through it. I threw a blob of it on the wheel this afternoon, and aside from the raking on my hands from the quartz in it, it threw really well and was rather plastic (flexible, able to pull up well on the wheel). There is a TON of quartz EVERYWHERE around our farm, and I'm not talking about the rocks of quartz. The term "sandy loam" definitely applies to our farm, but the sand is a quartz sand. The entire surface after a rain has a fine dusting of quartz everywhere. I'm really hoping there might be a chance this white clay is a stoneware. Prior to buying the farm we almost did not get a site approved for a septic tank because of the clay on the property. Luckily, a septic site was found, but we have a lot of this white and orange clay on our farm. I doubt I would make a lot of pots from the clay, but it's an exciting prospect!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Happy New Year

The dogs anticipating their Christmas treats
 I apologize for the long delay in my posting. I took a bit of a break from the pottery studio for a few weeks after the craziness of the holiday settled down. A few highlights from the break included some snow in Ohio:
Guinness the chocolate lab waiting for a snowball

Guinness thoroughly enjoyed the snow!
A venture into the world of felting:
Meet Bill, the felted Belted Galloway!

And playing with my first smartphone. I figured I officially retired my boombox (remember those?!) the other day, so the technological exchange seemed appropriate. ha!
Playing with the Instagram app
 Then it was back to work. I've been lining up my kiln firings for the coming months, and have some great pottery shows to get on the calendar! I've also been cleaning the studio and doing lots of rearranging. Today I got back to more manual labor and built a drying bed for my clay slip and unloaded about 2/3 of a sixty gallon barrel I use for storing it. Here are some photos of this venture:
Coated mesh on the base of a frame

Cotton sheet in the bottom of the frame

Clay slurry poured into the frame

Kind of looks like a Wendy's frosty!
Stay tuned to some fun pottery pieces and kiln bits I also picked up over the break! Looking forward to the new year!