the garden and the pottery workshop under february snow after the firing; an opportunity to photograph birds from the kitchen window

a dunnock fossicking about under the peanut feeder for crumbs

a great tit

and a marsh tit; there is a pair of these nearby and they love peanuts.

the coal tit is very similar but close-up you can see he has a wide black beard rather than the marsh tit’s little goatee.

and his black cap splits in half at the back of his head.

I left the kiln two days to cool after last August’s disaster when I opened too early and one big piece cracked. everything looks fine. cone 10 went right over; cone 11 just starting to go … perfect.

you can see the soot from the reduction; some people think I am over-reducing to get this smoke and black on the bricks, but it is during the early stages of reduction, between 1050 and 1150 C. then I cut down the strength of the reduction and I get these great oranges, greens and blues from my dolomite/tin oxide glaze.

the top centre piece has porcelain on the lower half, producing the grey blue, and the base clay is the “school” stoneware, a light buff – the blue glaze is almost black on this. next to it is my mixed basically st thomas body, with porcelain over it, and the copper version of the dolomite/tin glaze, with greens and oranges.

looking in, the top shelf at the back has worked really well.

close-ups of those smaller pieces.

no breakages – I put the black clay on sand now, a tip from Sarah Purvey, so that it can’t stick to the shelf and crack as it cools.

this porcelain piece on the left has the black version of the dolomite/tin glaze; interestingly the other two pieces I glazed with this have come out a dull matt freckled green .. maybe more – or less – reduction ….. will have to think about that.

the two black clay pieces. actually I mixed it half and half with a buff stoneware; glazed with the barium carbonate glaze it stays almost the same colour as it is after the bisque firing … you can see that the unglazed bit at the bottom of the left hand one is black though. a thinner coat of glaze will give a blacker result – next time … I have a few more of these waiting to be glazed.

the bottom of the back of the kiln looks great too – top and bottom has some good examples of the blue version of the dolomite/tin glaze.

the porcelain glaze which I expected to be black has gone matt khaki – that’s fine though,

close-up of those blues – quite intense.

and one pot photographed to look its best – then the camera’s batteries went in the cold. it’s only just above freezing.

postscript – the rest of the pots can be seen here