the last firings this year

two firings to finish all the work I made this summer, and so that I have new pieces for the Bircham gallery and the CPA – as a professional member it is my turn to have a small space in the gallery, in Bloomsbury, opposite the British Museum, at the end of November.


in between I have to go to Spain, to wind up my house there, fill the car with things I want to keep … store my apples ….


so, firing number one. I am getting down to needing to mix more glaze and it’s a little thinner in the bucket than it used to be


plus I am interested in what is under the glaze and the slip, the runs of black oxide, so thinner glaze works for me ….


this firing has hardly any blue, the glaze is just not on thick enough


except where I added extra; each spoon had another spoonful of glaze.

manganese detail

but without the thickness of glaze there were some lovely pearly surfaces


and pots I’m really pleased with.


this has a surface like marble, it’s st thomas white clay. despite the layer of slip the clay body makes a huge difference.


smooth clays seem less absorbent and the glaze runs more


all the little pots except one have a graininess under the glaze which I suppose is the crackle slip …


and I’m puzzled by the complete lack of reduction of the clay body in the front of the kiln. I did have to clean out the front burner, so it is at max efficiency.


.. for the next firing I redipped all the pots; I had glazed everything at once, and thought I would have more blue – ie thicker glaze in the last firing if I put another coat on. on one the doubled layer was too thick and it came off so I had to cover up the gap with brushed on glaze.


I have a lot of decisions to make about very small tweaks when firing, tiny turns of the pressure tap, tiny movements in and out of the bricks that partially block the flue to get the reduction right. another decision is when to turn off the gas and close the chimney and ports and clam up. I felt the last firing was a little underdone, so this firing combined thicker glaze with an extra half hour at top temp. perhaps a bit risky …. in the past I have turned down the pressure for this time, and sometimes it seems nothing has happened that’s different. so this time I tried turning down just a little … hardly at all … and the pyro went up from 1257C to 1261C. anyway when I opened up 3 days later I could see that cone eleven had gone right over …


and the glaze had run quite a lot


mostly rather beautifully, and I certainly got lots of blues (the glaze is a chun which needs to be thick and full of bubbles to get the blues, as they are entirely optical)


on this one the over-runs were a bit excessive, these tusks will have to be ground down


this I love the best


and this one. the glaze has crawled somewhat …. I had left it glazed for a month or so, then put another layer of glaze on, I would guess that this is what has caused it.


autumn continues …


objects of beauty, ephemeral as always


hoping these liquid amber and maple prints on silk are not too ephemeral


I will be back in Bale late in November and back to making with clay soon after that I hope ..

meanwhile you can find the full firings on my dropbox pages 17thOct

and 25thOct

it’s been a busy year, four and a bit exhibitions to make for, pack and deliver, plus attending three workshops, dyeing things for the knit business, running the knit business!, learning about dyeing on the hoof, particularly the indigo vat, and scooting up to Scotland to visit the offspring whenever possible … some of the galleries who stock my pots have been a bit neglected, I am sorry. I hope to do better next year.



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