Sunday, January 29, 2012
Something to smile about
Three of the pieces that were new forms for me and pieces that I wanted to use some of the doll parts with, committed suicide. They just blew themselves apart, every seam, the roofs, the shelves.... in bits and shards all over my kiln shelves. I came in and had a pity party, decided I didn't want to make these damn things any longer. I lost five of the fifteen houses I made this month. That's a lot when three of the five were the best of the bunch for me and I have five galleries waiting on work. I really haven't got a clue what's making this happen, except they seem to know when they are special and they don't want the pressure so they die....... sigh........
Oh well, I made a nice pot of lentil soup with andouille sausage and some cornbread, we had lunch and then I went out to stain the ones that survived the carnage. They are lovely, although few, and then I sat this little girl in her little alter space and all was right with the world..... sigh.......
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That little girl has a beautiful home.Kilns have a way of dealing all of us a bit of humility now and again.It does make the survivors more valuable.
I love making with clay. But then the chemistry rears it's ugly head and I become a very unhappy potter. Sorry about the explosions, makes the successes that much sweeter eh?
Do you do a long preheat the day before?
Now that I have finished melding she is as Linda says- cute as a bugs ear....
She looks as if she is looking for something outside her doorway- what is out there I wonder?
Meredith, it wasn't that kind of blow up. Three pieces just came apart at all the seams. Well scored, well slipped, coils at the seams, made just like every one that didn't fall apart. My only conclusion is that it has something to do with the slabs warping some how, I dry them very slowly, I have been firing the kiln at a 100 degree ramp, very slow firing to see if that helps, nope. I just don't know, there is absolutely no pattern to it, just random, except like I said the ones I really want to have come out well....
when my pots blow up, it's because I was impatient or rushed to get them in the gas kiln and didn't dry them long enough. More or less what Meredith said. Doesn't sound like that's the case with your stuff, Trace. Maybe you're right about warping as they heat up. but I do agree there aren't many things more discouraging that unloading hundreds of shards from a bisque kiln.
Moisture is definitely not the problem, they are bone dry and candled a long time. They are just coming apart at the seams. The shards are from the walls and roofs hitting the kiln shelves,large pieces not the little ones you get with moisture blow ups. Who knows..... I think it's some sort of warping problem.
it does sound like warping problems- being pulled apart at the seams.... I bet you feel the same way when you open the kiln... hard to know which way it will warp- darn clay!
It does sound like warping in the firing. Do you think placement in the kiln could have anything to do with it? Possible hot spots that go up a little faster? These mysterious blow-ups are the worst to diagnose. Wish you better luck in the next firing.
P.S. The building is lovely and evocative.
Thanks! I think I have it figured out, more on the blog later.....
Hey Tracey, Love the new piece there. Sorry to hear about your problem w. the others. Hope you get it figured out.
I use Lana Wilson's magic water formula and have no problem with seams or knobs blowing off any more. Not sure if it will work as well with raku, but may be worth a try. In case you want to try:
1 gallon water 9.5 grams sodium silicate 3 grams soda ash
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