despite the weather not letting up, I glazed and fired a kiln-full of porcelain this week. I decanted glazes into buckets and brought them into the studio, rather than glazing outside, which I usually do to avoid the mess.
the landscape is very beautiful but bleak; north-easterly winds from Siberia are blowing the lying snow into drifts and by tomorrow we may find conditions a lot more difficult outside.
the morning’s blue skies were soon replaced by lowering grey cloud, with the threat of more snow. walking across this huge field I had to cover one side of my face with my gloved hand to protect it from the biting wind.
hedges and trees make beautiful patterns between the snowy fields. there were no hares jumping about today. yesterday we saw two hares out here, standing up and looking at us. one decided to take shelter in the wood, but was immediately out again, with a fox behind. the sight of us stopped both of them for a think – the fox melted back into the wood as we walked towards them, and the hare took off across the field. Tilda couldn’t see too much from her viewpoint, but she knew what interesting things were going on, so I kept her on the lead down the green lane.
today she wore two coats and the wind kept her ears at attention as she was all eyes and nose for more critters – but all was quiet. wild creatures must have been lying up in shelter out of the wind.
the snow reveals the wood to be a narrow belt of trees on boggy land around a tiny stream – now diverted into the ditch along the edge, leaving pools and wet patches in amongst the trees. halfway along it re-enters through a culvert and joins a bigger stream which meanders through the wood and eventually joins the Stiffkey in its upper reaches.
Clip street is sheltered at this end by the little wood and we avoided the worst of the wind by walking through the big meadow. later on the snow drifted across the upper parts of Clip street; in some places the hedges were flattened by the storm before Christmas and in others there are big gaps, allowing the wind to blow the snow across, especially at the top end, where it is really exposed. our lane is closed in places too where the fields have no hedges.
with the cold weather the temperature in the kiln was down to 60C in the morning, but I was careful not to give the pots too much thermal shock, and left them like this before the walk.
all was fine, no over-firing, nothing stuck to a shelf, no accidents.
I was surprised at how white the barium glaze is on the porcelain this time, not a shade of the green it usually picks up from the copper in the other glaze. I think it may be because I started reducing a bit late; I must start earlier next time and really over reduce in the early 1000’s C. this seems a critical point in the firing, not a time to go back to bed ….. also this copper black glaze could do with a thicker application – which would allow more free copper in the atmosphere.
sadly the snow is sitting on the glass part of the studio roof so I can’t take photos indoors as I usually do.
the little camera works well in this light, but it is not worth trying to use it for documenting pots. here are few snaps.
these little boxes, lidded jars, whatever one would call them, have come out well.
there has been good reduction of the copper in these, as they were pretty tight under a shelf. the bottles were in a more open part of the pack and they have stayed green. probably the pots close under shelves will have had a cooler firing as well.
the bowls were all pretty tight under shelves the full size of the pack, and the copper has reduced on the inside, not on the outside. unfortunately there are some bits of debris in the bottom of this one – I am not sure if I can get them out, they are stuck in the glaze.
the white barium glazed porcelain is fine without the greenish cast; indentations tend towards yellow ochre but the general impression is pure powder white, very dry and stony and delicate.
I have a few more bowls to glaze, but I am not sure that I have enough unglazed pieces to fill the kiln, except I might make a part saggar firing again, and put the remaining bowls on top. the weather is so cold that one feels reluctant to spend much time in the pot studio, even with the wood burner going.
adendum; photos done at last, they are here