Sunday, August 17, 2014

June Woodfiring - Unloading

Wow - it's been a while huh?  Realized I hadn't posted the results from my woodfire in late June so I'm getting all caught up. :-)

When we closed up the kiln at the end of the firing, I knew we wouldn't be unloading for quite a while since our grandkids were coming to visit and we wanted to wait to do the unloading while they were here.  


Once my helpers were here, we were able to get this kiln unloaded and see all the fun things inside.


Here are a few of my favorites




 










This firing had lots of great ash action especially those things closest to the fire box.  This mug turned out super gorgeous, but was unfortunately very stuck to the shelf.  It's currently on my seconds table due to the amount of grinding needed to free it. 


All in all, it was a wonderful firing and I was so fortunate to be able to unload when I had such great help available. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

June Woodfiring

A few years ago, we were younger and more naive woodfiring.  We fired the kiln over the weekend that followed the 4th of July.  It ended up being a very hot, humid weekend with no breeze made so much worse by the fact that we were standing in close proximity to the kiln as it reached it's peak temp the same time the day reached it's peak temp.  After that firing we vowed to never fire in July again.  

Now a few years down the road, we are older and wiser in our woodfiring practices.  We've adjusted our firing schedule so we encounter the top temp of the kiln through the night to take advantage of the cooler air temps.  A large barn fan has become a wonderful breeze in the kiln shed on days when nature isn't providing one.  And by keeping our firings to primarily spring and fall of the year we avoid the super cold of Minnesota winters and the hot, humid days of Minnesota summers.  

So what was I thinking when I scheduled a firing for the last weekend in June??? Isn't that pretty much the same as July???  Anyway...


 For the most part the firing went well.  There were some unusual happenings but overall, I feel really good about the anticipated results.  


We experienced torrential rains, then sunshine and humidity, and back to the rains again through the entire firing.  We lost power for approximately 3 hours during the night and had to use a collection of solar lights from the garden as the only light (other than the firebox of course) in the kiln shed.  The following morning was beautiful.  And we finished just before another storm blew in to start the days downpour/sunshine rotation all over again.  


Can't wait to unload and see how everything looks.



Friday, June 6, 2014

Done

Even with a short power outage just when I was ready to start a bisque firing, I managed to get a couple rhubarb leaf platters complete for the upcoming Rhubarb Festival in Lanesboro Minnesota.  



Normally, it takes me several weeks to see the end results of projects I've started, but this time it worked out really well that I had nearly a kiln load of stuff already complete and could just sneak these platters into that load and get them done in just one week.  

The festival is tomorrow and hopefully, these platters will find new homes then.  But I'll definitely be making more.  In addition to the green they are glazed in, I painted a stripe of raspberry glaze into the vein indentations to give them a little different color.  Was hoping for a little of the red color to show, but it's more a darker blue/green.  Still worked out nicely.

Have a great weekend all.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Under Pressure

Next week, I'm participating in Rhubarb Festival in Lanesboro Minnesota mostly to promote the upcoming Lanesboro Area Art Trail.  One of the requriements of being a vendor at Rhubarb Festival is that your product be in some way related to rhubarb.  Hmmm... 

I have a green glaze that is similar in color to rhubarb, my bowls work excellent to hold cut up rhubarb and my tall vases work great as a display for rhubarb stems & leaves.  But that didn't seem like enough of a tie to rhubarb to me, so today I'm working on some serving plates that are definitely rhubarb themed.  



Now to get them made, dried, fired and glazed by next weekend.  It's definitely possible.     

Have a great weekend all.

Monday, April 28, 2014

It's a Wrap

Ahhhh... sitting with my feet up just basking in the feeling of having a big event behind me.

Yesterday was the last day of our annual Bluff Country Studio Art Tour.  While the event is just one weekend, we've managed to make it into a multi-week event here at the studio.  You know how it gets - it starts out a simple thing and then you gradually keep making it more and more and before you know it... it's taking up several weeks of your life.  But I love it!!  It's the kick off to our summer sale season so worth starting out big, right?

The weekend before the tour, we fired to wood kiln so it could be opened during the tour with a kiln opening and pizza party.  It's always fun to be able to share the pleasure of opening a kiln and the surprise and wonder discovering what is found inside.  




So, on Saturday evening, with the help of a great group of friends, we unloaded the kiln fired the previous weekend and it was fabulous to see the results.  The firing was longer than usual and the results were wonderful.  The occasional peek inside while it was cooling did not do this load justice.  


 
Here are some photos of a few of my favorites.













Ok - no more time for basking.  It's time to get back to work again.  Be well.  Have a great week.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Morning After...Woodfiring

It's the morning after a woodfiring.  I've gotten a good nights sleep, my morning caffeine, the second coating of lotion on my heat dried skin, assessed the injuries incurred during firing and gotten a second round of Ibuprofen into my system.  Just an hour away from being right as rain.  :-)

video

Having now completed our 11th firing I feel like we've arrived at a process that works well for us.  Instead of doing everything in one four day weekend, we've spread the tasks out a bit.  One weekend I glaze everything I think will fit in the kiln and then some.  The following Friday is spent wadding the pots and loading the kiln.  Then after a good nights sleep, Saturday morning the kiln is lit and we  fire into mid-day Sunday.  The weekend after that we unload.  



It's a lot of work but so worth it.  Today, I'll be loading a glaze load in the electric kiln to get one more load done for the the Bluff Country Studio Art Tour next weekend.  I'm a potter, it's what we do - always have one more load to get done before something. 

Have a great week. 

ps - 
Peeking in the wood kiln will begin on Wednesday and it will be unloaded on Saturday evening during our kiln opening party.

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Fun Challenge

Yesterday Glynnis Lessing posted this video on her Facebook encouraging followers to try out the technique on their own. 



Harlan House RCA - Canadian potter at the throwing wheel. from Harlan House on Vimeo.

At the end of my time throwing today, I had about 5 pounds of clay left, so I figured I'd give it a try.  It's not as big as the one made in the video but it seemed to work pretty well for me.   Since I didn't have a throwing stick or dowel, I ended up using the handle of my long handled sponge. This was a great challenge and I hope to try this technique again in the next couple weeks. 


Give it a try.