Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sagger barrel firing

This was my first sagger firing vase, two out of six came out without breaking. The colors on this are amazing considering there is no glaze used. The colors come from the chemicals placed in the saggar barrel. The black squiggles are from horsehair burns.

More horsehair squiggles show on this pot. It was not wrapped in aluminum foil like the red pot, so the mark of smoke is more apparent.

There is a story to this firing:
On March 1st. some other potters and I went to friend Judith's home and studio to do a sagger/barrel firing. Now, I've done plenty of pit firings, but not this. Saggers are similar to pit firings, low-temperature bisqued pots are used, most of the time terra sigilatta is applied to the bisqued pots, and finally they burn wood as in a campfire so they don't get very hot. Some of the differences, however are the other materials added to the sagger which render them non-functional, but with great and unusual surface color.

This is the vase shown in the first photo before firing.
It has been painted with ferric chloride, sprinkled with sea salt, and had a few horse hairs placed on it. It will be loosely wrapped with the aluminum foil it is sitting on and placed in the barrel.

Pots are carefully placed in the "high-tech kiln". One of the guild members is adding dried banana peels to the mix. The blue substance is Miracle Gro. The amphorae are mine.

Here it is burning. It was a cold, wet day as can be judged by the snow still on the ground.

At this point the coals were glowing, I leaned in to place horsehair on the pots. Horsehair immediately burns leaving interesting carbon squiggles on the pots. These marks are permanent.

Alas, this kind of firing is hard on the pots, here are two that broke. I had great hopes for the amphora.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Some pottery for March

I've been working on pottery that I will have at AnTir's Kingdom Arts and Sciences event, March 7-8th, 2009. I'm going to have a merchant's table there and hope to also have some of the pottery of my friends Gwen the Potter and blown glass pieces by Aelfgu.

The following pottery pieces are some of my most recent work out of the kiln.

I particularly like this jug. The soft colors are unusual and came out very successfully. The herringbone carved design is French in origin.

This pitcher-type is a very different style from the green and yellow baluster jug above. My spouted pouring vessels like this can also be used on direct heat.

I tried a few different things with this saucepan. It's thrown out of earthenware clay rather than stone ware and it's fired to a lower temperature more like period pottery. Unlike period pottery it has a food safe glaze that I formulated, and then again like period pottery for color I sprinkled some copper filings on the wet glaze to get that green speckle you see.
This pot is also intended for cooking in coals.

A simple cooking pot. Well, it should have been simple, but I couldn't resist carving some surface design on the pot. This will help the user hold onto it when it gets wet too.