Always a tiring day, especially when mixing up two additional five gallon buckets of glaze before glazing and loading the kiln. Not so bad you think? Maybe, but the kiln is up a flight of stairs and out in the garage, making many, many trips up and down the stairs carrying a large plastic container of heavy pots. Yep, tiring.
I try to do things that make the little stuff easier. Take ‘The White Board’. This small magnetic whiteboard is placed just inside my studio door so it’s the last thing I see before I walk out the door. When mixing up glazes, if I notice I’m getting low on a chemical, it gets added to the whiteboard. That way, the next time I go to mix up the glaze, I don’t find myself short. I take a quick snapshot of the board with my phone before I make my trip to my clay supplier and that’s my shopping list for the day.
I wish I had a fancy Talisman Sieve but I don’t. I think sieves are a rip off in general and I won’t buy into the rip off by purchasing more than I need. I use the basic hand sieve but come on, $32 for a cheap plastic bowl and a piece of metal screen? This is my own version – kind of a redneck talisman sieve. A regular hand sieve and ‘manually operated’ cheap toilet bowl brush :) Here you see it in action with my lovely crocus red glaze. Hey, it works.
One of the things on my ‘to do someday’ list is to make my own sieves. You can do so quite reasonably. This link below is to a video by a hobby potter and woodworker named ‘Tom’ and he’ll show you how to do it.
Here’s a few shots of my kiln being loaded. I take a snapshot of each section so I can remember what pots were loaded where. That way, if a glaze comes out kind of funky on one side and not the other (that HAS happened), I will know what it was fired near that may have altered the glaze. The large flower pots on the bottom are unglazed, which is why I am able to put another pot inside them. I’ve really never been taught to load a kiln and pretty much everything I do is from reading what others do. So, if you have any tips or advice, please let me know!
The decorated jars that you see here are experiments somewhat. I’m trying to come up with a vitreous engobe that has a satin finish. I used a paper stencil on these pots after they were thrown, brushed the engobe on, then bisque fired. Then, placing wax resist over the engobe areas, they were dipped into glaze. This will work better when I’m able to order the Mobile Wax from Highwater Clay. Standard brand wax resist is in my opinion good for waxing the bottom of pots only and even then it sometimes leaves a lot to be desired. Once you use Mobile Wax, you’ll never go back to Standard.
I have a lot of test ’tiles’ in here that are actually extruded hollow posts that are stamped to show any glaze breaking. I’m eventually going to make a chart up with my studio glazes to see the different color combinations possible at a glance. The long basket with the ribbon handle is actually a vase, the ‘spring’ supporting the stems of each flower that is placed in it. Good for upcoming tulips and daffodils!
And finally, the top shelves are actually two half kiln shelves, staggered. I’m not sure staggering is necessary in an electric kiln as I’ve read differing opinions on this. Gas yes, but electric, the jury seems to be out. There is a teeny tiny bowl at the top of the right hand shelf that is big enough to hold 2 quarters. This is from hand dug clay I carted back from Aruba in my suitcase. I tested a small cone first and much to my surprise, it held up under 2200° kiln temperatures, having a somewhat iron glazed look in the end. Will be interesting to see what the mini bowl does.
Stay tuned for the results!