Sunday, June 7, 2009

Just opened the kiln and so far, so good.  This was a first firing for the ware---the bisque firing, to prepare the work to receive glaze and be fired again.

In general, the bisque firing is slower than the glaze firing, and is intended to burn out materials in the clay that could cause problems for the glaze.  There is  a lot of chemistry in pottery making!

I usually work in earthenware--kiln temperatures are set for around 1900 degrees F for both the bisque and glaze firings.  In this case, I'm firing stoneware, and the second firing will be around 2200.  Those few hundred degrees make a huge difference--clay bodies and glazes are formulated to withstand the extra heat.  Some colorants would burn out at these temperatures.  

As a sculptor, it takes me a while to make enough work to fill the kiln, so every firing represents weeks or months of work.  Knock on wood, I've been pretty lucky--not too many unpleasant surprises.  A very experienced potter acquaintance one said, "When you open the kiln, it can be Christmas...or Halloween!"

Take us to your leader, or at least feed us and throw the ball! (what we want to see when we open the kiln)

Friends Suzanne & Tom are coming over this afternoon to glaze some pieces they made a while back.  This couple, along with Jackie and Mike, were the first people, other than myself, to create work in the new studio (more on that in another post).

The four of them made wonderful pieces for their gardens.  So many, and big enough, that I couldn't fit all of the work in one load!  That gave me the opportunity (read motivation!) to make some work to fill a second kiln load.  Those pieces, if they come out well, will go to a show in Greensboro later this month, called "Potters in the Garden."

I'll plan to take some pictures, but have to unload the kiln and clean up the studio so we'll have room to work.  I have a lot of projects in progress, and people who know me can tell you I'm pretty messy.

In the meantime, if you want to see the type of work I create, please check out the websites for Carolina Designer Craftsmen ( and Alamance Artisans Guild ( 

 [One of these days, I'll figure out how to create links that work!]