Friday, September 17, 2010

In the kiln

After a summer of pumping out work for my galleries, I've finally had the chance to sit down and come up with some new designs for the fall!  Here's a sneak peek before the kiln firing that I did yesterday.  It is a pretty remarkable process to have the glazes transform from a thin powdery layer to a smooth hard glossy layer of glaze in 2300 degrees.
I love glazing. For me, it's where the magic happens.  I glaze each piece with a method that took me a few years to develop, where I cut out each 'stencil' that masks out parts of my pot while I glaze other parts.  After waxing around the stencils I can then glaze the in-between spaces with a different glaze.  I've worked really hard on making this process simple enough that I can re-create my designs. At the same time, this process is labour intensive and takes me 4-6 different glazes with the right combination of colours and design, with about 9 different steps (with drying time in between) to get each piece in the kiln. 
I've lost sleep over the last few nights trying to come up with good glaze combos for my new designs.  Glazing a mug is not like painting a picture- you don't see the colours until they've gone through a kiln firing, and you can't really glaze over something that didn't quite turn out. You can try to re-fire, but for the most part, it is what it is when you pull it out of the kiln.  There are any number of things that could go wrong here: bad application, hot spots in the kiln, or just a bad combo of colours. Sometimes I marvel at the patience and persistence that goes along with being a potter.  The amount of bad pots a person has to make before the glimmer of a good pot keeps a person going.  It really is a labour of love. 

1 comment:

Eva / Sycamore Street Press said...

I'm so behind on my blog reading, and I missed out on so much... drive-ins, summer shows, cross stitch pendants, folksy curtains, your boys back in school, you trying out new designs... All great things! Hope you have a wonderful start to the fall.