although my last pot blog said that I would be reconfiguring the kiln, in fact the new parts arrived so late that I am leaving it until December, when I get back from Spain. having measured up my large pots I realised that I could squeeze them into the kiln if I changed the big and over-thick shelf that forms the floor. with 2 thinner shelves instead I had an extra half-inch of headroom. the first up was the biggest, so here it is being prepared for firing … the first coat is the oxide, in this case a mix of manganese and the less biddable black iron.

1firstbigpotoxided

I painted the mix into the incised meander lines, and then sponged /brushed it down to take off the excess.

1slipbath

I have had to mix up a lot more slip and glaze and find large containers into which I can insert the big pots – allowance has to be made for overflow as well. this is the crackle slip.

1firstbigpotfirstcoatofslip

the pot went in nice and deep without sending the slip over the edge, and I could just lift it out, not without some effort. wish I could find another of those big plastic containers – the one I got for the glaze is not big enough.

1firstbigpotglazedallwet

also I did not have enough glaze – not enough materials in stock – and my attempted clever trick to raise the level of the glaze – putting bricks in -was miscalculated – there wasn’t enough room for the pot in there, and I ended up knocking the coat of slip off the sides, and in places off the front. still, it was glazed, though terribly wet, and my neighbour helped me get it into the kiln. really this one was too big a pot for me to deal with.

1firstbigpotunpacked

it fired well, and looking at it front on, it looks quite magnificent – but –

1firstbigpotglazedamage

sadly although on this side the wreckage is acceptable and looks like part of the general crawling and crackling

1firstbigpotglazedamageworst

on this side it does not look so good. some people probably would not mind, but I couldn’t have it in a gallery, I think.

1firstfiringunpack

the firing went very well and I had some nice pieces out of it.

1bowl

this bowl with the complex scoringĀ  is paler than the previous ones

1cracker

I was particularly pleased with this smaller flagon

1firstbigpot

and really I am pleased with this; it was an awful struggle to glaze, and I have more ideas about how to do that. firstly I mixed up a lot more of the glaze!

1no1beingoxided

here is the next one, which has vertical scoring/combing all down its body.

1no1beingglazed

I got it slipped and glazed okay, by pouring the glaze on the bottom half, as I turned it on a banding wheel over a metal dustbin lid turned upside down. then I found I could more or less handle it, and having packed the rest of the pots,

1restof the pack 2ndfiring

I foolishly took the big one out on my own, got it to the kiln, but couldn’t get it into the kiln safely; it fell into the kiln, luckily missed all but the bowl – minor damage to that – but broke its spout. you can imagine how I felt!

1no1broken

I couldn’t believe I had just done that! anyway I got myself together again, and started again on another, very slightly smaller one, delaying the firing by a day.

1no2oxided

oxide painted on (only black iron this time)

1no2beingglazed

combination of dipping and pouring, but the other way around this time. the coats of slip were thinner, the weather was more drying, and I had it near the storage heater. also I used the heater to dry out the bowl which I had to re-slip and glaze. I am hoping for more blue glaze dribbles and some of the oxide showing through the slip.

1no2packed

I enlisted help to get the big pot into the kiln this time – not taking any more risks with this one – except that it is now being fired on the day of St Jude’s storm. luckily the sheds are quite sheltered and the firing is at present proceeding normally

1ashtree