Sunday, May 3, 2009

2009-05-02 Saturday Barrel/Raku/Saggar Firing

Saturday was a big firing day at Clayworks. We did a barrel firing, a raku firing and a saggar firing --all in one day! It was an ambitious schedule, but we Clayworkers are a hardy bunch.

The barrel didn't want to start and after several attempts, and Minke buying more lighter fluid it finally went. The results of the barrel were a mixed bag as usual.

The saggar firing was interesting. We brought the kiln up very slowly, but the bottom pan for the saggar broke into several pieces. The pieces that were saggar fired came out nicely, despite the fractured vessel. We had to let the kiln cool down to about 300 degrees so we could sweep out the sawdust before firing the next raku load.

The first raku load needed to ramp up slowly again since the kiln was so cool. Amy had some plaques to fire and I remembered reading that flat raku pieces have less chance of cracking if they are fired on edge. I'm pleased to say it worked like a charm and her plaques came through the fire fine.

We brought the kiln up more quickly for the second load since it was already at 500-600 degrees and the pots started getting juicy just about the time the heavens let loose. We covered the vent holes with kiln shelf pieces on bricks to keep the rain out of the kiln, but we couldn't chance taking the pots out with all that cold water falling on them. We turned the kiln down and waited. Luckily the storm took a break for about 10 minutes while we took out the pots. They came out of the extra ordeal without any ill effects. I say "extra ordeal" since raku firing is normally an ordeal for the materials involved.

After all the firing was done I glazed a ^10 craggy crunch pot and cleaned up my shelf supports from the other night and finally left the studio at 7:30 pm. A long day indeed.

Amy, Cindy, and Becky readying the barrel pieces.

Elaine builds one of her great coiled pots.

Pete was there throwing another of his great forms.

Minke brought a feast of wines and
cheeses to keep us all fortified.

Everyone is enjoying the repast.

The rest of the crew.

Becky was determined to get the
barrel burning and making "tunnels" to the pots.

Quite the spread, eh?

Even more food.

The first raku load.

The second load when the sky opened.

Rain on the kiln shelves.

Red lustre with flaming moondrops
and a pour of clear.

Turqouise on neck and burgundy matte on body.

Birds and frogs and pots, oh my!


Max said...

great jop and photos as usual. Wish I could have been there.

Linda Starr said...

Oh that looks like fun, great photos and beautiful raku pots.

jbf said...

Thanks! It was fun, but wore me out. My ankles were killing me on Sunday. Too much time on the concrete.

Thanks! It was fun, but a long day.

Becky said...

John, great post! Thank you SOOOOO much for getting the propane and captaining the raku kiln! Your pieces look fantastic! (My ankles are still complaining!)

Amy said...

great pics... what a camera! thanks for all you did throughout the day.

jbf said...

Thanks! You make it sound like it was a chore, but you know how much I loved doing it. Day 3: Ankles still somewhat sore.

Not a problem, more like a treat.