Oct 2, 2011

Well  have I been busy busy busy busy ?  You bettcha I have….   It feels like I am in luxury today  because I got to do something besides MAKE ART ;o)         I am in bisque mode right now and that means sanding and cleaning up  all the pots, blowing the dust off, loading the bisque kiln…..       speaking of kilns,  for those of you not familiar with twice fired  pottery  this may all sound confusing  to you…..  I have what is commonly called an electric kiln  that I use to bisque my work…   Most people  recognize an electric kiln as they are the most used kiln around.    Clay matures at different temps and a bisque is firing your clay to a temp that is not mature  so that you can then handle the pottery without as much fear of breaking it  and yet it absorbs  moisture like a glaze.   When a clay body is mature it is almost non porous with the exception of Earthenwares and the final results of RAKU Pottery.    The higher temperature clay bodies are almost 99%  non porous.  

   I worked from about 3pm till  830 pm today sanding and loading a bisque load of pots.  I’ll most likely spend all day tomorrow finishing up sanding the remaining pots, blowing them off and getting them out to the kiln shed. Hope I can finish them  but it’s not a for sure thing…    it takes time and care as the pots are sooo breakable at this point.  Not a job for the skittish…  takes lots of skill even though it sounds fairly simple and benign…   

  Once I get this accomplished I willl scrub down my studio from top to bottom and paper the shelves and tables…   get out the glazes  that are stored in 5 gallon buckets and mix them up , resieve them  thru a 80 mesh screen ,pour into  a 60 gallon bucket; I should weigh and measure out  a few extra buckets of  base glaze , 1 overspray and liner glaze too ….  again not easy and heavy  to lift…      this also sounds fairly easy  if you have lots of muscles  for lifting but it also takes precision and care for details  so as not to make a mistake… you can lose a whole load of pots  if you mess up the glaze mixture…   this is also dangerous  as you breathe in  lots of invisible dust particles   so must take care to protect your lungs.

Once all this is done and you have all the pots bisqued,   you get to wax bottoms and any area you need to be free of glaze like lidded containers where the lid meets the pot…..   wax resist or latex resist  areas that you want  xtra clean  like I do with porcelain knobs and cameo’s on my  devil egg’s , relish dish’s etc…  also  the bones on  my dog bowls and the ears, tail, eyes, nose on my weiner dogs ;o)    lotta work like that happens which is why it takes so very very long to glaze my pots… 


  Next step is cleaning up the kiln room and papering it… making cone pads for the 5 peep holes in the kiln….   mixing up kiln wash to put on all the pancakes I make for the pots I fear may drip ….   that means most of them as this is a new glaze for me and I have not yet figured out what  the perfect  amount is …  still too many grinders to  chance not making  a pancake  for under most of my work.         

 Finally  airbrushing  the color on the pots and loading them…  this takes me on average  2  12-14 hr days ….   it’s like a huge puzzle and  is the most important part of the whole process of making work that is ALIVE and KICKIN!!!       Firing the kiln and waiting 2 days for it to cool enough to open up …. 


 Unloading ,  cleaning up the pots,  sanding bottoms smooth ,  wrapping cane handles on teapots after soaking the cane in softened water,   gluing soap pump collars on and honey sticks into the lids, corks for salt and peppers ….   packing and loading for a show  and that my dear people  is another day and another long story of all it takes to do a successful  pottery show…. ..

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