Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Glaze and Load

Slowly getting ready to fire the kiln in between house projects and yard work. Some quick shots to show the process. Cone packs tell you how much heat you have in the ware.

My friend Rob Harvey gave me a supply of wood ash from his wood stove. It has to be sieved through a series of screens to remove the large junks and make sure it is well mixed. The resulting ash is combined with a clay to make a glaze.

The shelves have all been cleaned and coated with a "wash" that helps prevent any glazes that drip from becoming a permanent part of the shelves.

For the bigger pots, the glaze is sprayed on.

Here are a few of the smaller pots waiting to be loaded.

More to come soon.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Life on the Ridge

To do some more catch up, here is some of what I have been doing. The house renovation is coming along and I should be done in, oh, say maybe another 20 years! It does seem to go slow, but I am making progress. With the exception of a few retouches of paint, the downstairs bathroom is complete. It entailed building a removable wall to cover the mechanical equipment, installing a new shower, tiling the floor, installing a suspended ceiling and designing and building a custom vanity and medicine cabinet. Here is a picture of the vanity and cabinet.

Underway also is the redo of one of the guest bedroom. This required opening up the drywall, sealing the cinder-block foundation wall and then reinstalling the drywall. Have I mentioned that I hate drywall? I am also putting a sliding door on the closet, putting in new flooring and installing a suspended ceiling. Below is a picture of the ceiling in progress. On this one, I have a deadline. We have guests coming next month!

Here is a picture of the ceiling sitting on the floor which is resting on the dresser. Seems like there should be a country western song in there somewhere.

In the studio, glazing is the focus. The ware on the cart is about half done. I should be able to knock it out pretty quick...if I could just decide what I want to do.

The stuff in the bucket is wood ash. It is ready to process into a glaze. It always amazes me that burnt wood can make a glaze.

And what glaze(s) should go on these?

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Okay, this is the post where I say I haven’t been posting for a while, give a bunch of lame excuses and promise to do better. So…haven’t posted…poo-poo occurs and I will more than likely be as random in my postings as before. There now that is done.

I have fired the kiln twice and I am still figuring it out. Once was a glaze firing and once was a bisque firing. Both went OK, but being an engineer I am always going to “improve” things. Thus far I have reduced the height of the bag wall and moved the set up by using a half brick under the first shelves instead of a quarter. I have also discovered that I can overpower the kiln with the burners at pressures above about 4 psi. You can’t open the damper far enough to keep it out of reduction at above 5 psi. The burners are just pushing too much gas in. So I am going to try a different firing schedule this next time. Here are some pictures from the glaze firing.

So we are caught up. I will be firing the kiln again soon and will post some on how it goes. No, really. I mean it, I will. OK, I will try hard to…

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


A neighbor decided, seeing as I wasn’t using my kiln, he would move in. It has finally gotten warm enough to get outside and I un-bricked the door of the kiln after having run test firings before Christmas and the cold spell. When I got the door down, I found all sorts of leaves and grass.

When I took out the last pair of shelves, I found a very upset rat. (and I do mean rat, not mouse) He was quite ticked off that I was disturbing the excellent nest he had finished building in the last two weeks.

He got evicted without any notice at all. Hopefully the weather will stay warm enough so I can finish off throwing pots, glaze and load the kiln for its first “real” firing.

Got to watch them neighbors here in Tennessee. Just before Christmas, we had a mountain lion (and I do mean eastern cougar, not Bobcat) walk across the edge of our yard. Maybe I could introduce them...