A week of rest should be enough. I really meant to go back to the studio and make stuff. Mostly glaze testers (small bowls and cups) but also a few bowls and carafes.

But then it started snowing.

My studio is 6km from home as the bike flies.

Vancouver is not equipped to deal with snow. Why clear the streets when tomorrow’s rains will wash the snow away (not before turning it into magnificent puddles of black slush that looks like a piece of road until you step into it, ankle deep).

So I take the lazier option, and postpone throwing till tomorrow. It doesn’t help that I got a text from Ann that we need a better heater in the studio and that she will finish her 18 inch particle bowl and go home.

So for some ‘pottery porn’…

I fired the gas kiln on Friday, almost by myself (supervised by qualified firers but uninterrupted).

I did get a pretty nice (as in, I like it!) crackled celadon sake bottle:




With one iron spot, but oh, embrace the accidental, wabi sabi and all that.

I’ll put it on my Etsy store as soon as I can get two matching cups fired.

This was a sake bottle I’d meant to give to the electrician who was supposed to hook up the electric kiln and never showed up.  

Other than that I was more pleased with other people’s results than with mine. The reason is that I had mainly tall pots. That means you put them on a tall shelf that gets less reduction. It also means that I chickened out and didn’t glaze them thick enough so the celadon got washed out mostly (The sake bottle was shorter than the others so I was less afraid of glazing it thickly and I was sure that the glaze would run. It didn’t).

Danny in particular got amazing copper reds, an astounding blue celadon (my own, from the batch that’s sitting on my personal shelf, just thick enough!) and consistent carbon trapping in his Shino

And to the facebookless:



I did get two pretty nice taller bottles. One fatter, fading to white on the neck:


The other taller, darker neck and lighter body:Image

And a carafe. I like the way this one turned out, although I may refire it with some more glaze to get a deeper blue:Image

It holds a litre, is not too heavy and the indents along the sides actually do help to grip it. I think I’ll make more of those. The shape is hard to get though, it should flow and be curvaceous but not fat, and all in all should be tall and narrow but not straight sided.

The surprise in this kiln was a bowl I had glazed to be fired in oxidation. It got forgotten at the Shadbolt and never made it to my studio where it has every chance to be fired in oxidation. Instead I fired it in reduction, “because it was there”. I meant this as a test of sorts, I don’t particularly like the shape.

The results amazed me. The rim is the usual turquoise that got partly reduced for an almost peach blossom quality:


Something to explore: a little less copper perhaps would create more blue/purple mottle.

The outside rim was the surprise. I had quite forgotten what I’d done with it, three months ago:


And then I remembered. I had a glaze that was deep green in France. It was higher in alumina than the other one and I was sure that reduction would make it a muddy liver colour so I never tried to see what it would do. It turned out that the source of alumina matters a lot. I compared my notes this morning and the French base had alumina from clay, whereas the base I used here had alumina from the Feldspar. So while they were the same in terms of alumina and silica content, the new base was far more alkaline. This explains two mysteries:

1. Why the bowl worked in reduction,

2. Why I kept getting a deep blue and not a green every time I tried to use that glaze in oxidation.

Which, of course, opens up many new avenues for glaze testing.

I’d better get to the studio and work

As soon as the snow stops.




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