Sunday, October 28, 2012

Firing disaster

Just to wrap up the adventures of the pseudo-Minoan pot:
 We arrived when the kiln was partially unloaded. They had heard a noise when the top of the kiln was up to temperature. My pot had been on top and it fell into the corner that had been kept clear for the flames to come up.
 Very few pots survived unscathed - the bottom pots didn't get fired hot enough.
 Mine fell onto a cup of my teacher's:
There are also cracks around the base where my early coils weren't smushed together well enough - I got better by the end.

I should add that the pots were "tumble stacked" since they wouldn't have fit with the traditional shelves system. They were separated by "wadding", the tan blobs in the top picture. My teacher has a theory that things fell in part because the wadding was freezing as we were applying it during the loading and it wasn't sticking properly. She then tried to glue them on until the glue froze up. The rest were applied with spit, which would have thawed well before the final collapse - but there was an early collapse in which the upper set of cones fell when the kiln was at about 200F - they took things apart to fix that, but one of the teacher's pots was broken. Ah, who knows.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Large pot project

Here are a couple pictures of my large ceramic pot, pseudo-Minoan:

On Wednesday we loaded all but one of the large pots made by our class. On Thursday, the firing was begun with wood fires:

 View of the upper cones through a peep-hole:
 While I was visiting over my lunch hour, they switched to burning cooking oil. It's a fussy process, trying to control the oil stream by hand:
 You want to have a slow steady stream from each pipe there:
 Unloading this afternoon!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Time to Go Winter

This was a headline in today's paper. It refers to an energy expo in town, but for us it meant changing the tires on the Mazda (need new summer tires next year) and changing the T-shirts in some drawers for long-sleeve tops.

Rob is at work today because there was a power outage. He went in early to get things shut down before 6 AM and now it's going to take a few more hours to get everything turned back on. I could have gone in this time to work on pottery, but there's a knitting meeting around the corner in an hour and Rob is going to get there very late.

It rained a lot recently and some of it came out in our hillside:
 You can get the scale from the meter-high tansies. They're so healthy because the compost pile used to be next to them.

We've also had a lot of wind recently and Rob's efforts to keep the wood covered don't always last long. He covered them again because it's snowing now!

Friday, October 12, 2012


I took this picture recently at sunrise:
I was home sick, so this was shortly after Rob had gone in to work. Note the slight light-pillar action and the snow on Ester Dome.

As for my big pot, I didn't get a picture of it as greenware, but it should hopefully be bisqueware by Tuesday when I see it next. The big firing is going to be on Thursday the 25th. The current project is teapots - I'm making a dragon one and yesterday I discovered that making a dragon neck spout with hand-building is a challenge.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

New loot

Years and years ago I took pottery classes at UCSD through the Craft Center, not for grades or credit or anything. I am now taking a ceramics class through the art department. For a grade! I got my first wave of pots back:

Three of them will go to a benefit for feeding the homeless. They are an exploration of pinch pots, coiled pots, and pots made with slabs. The two jellyfish plates are experiments for the second project, which is a modified reproduction of this Minoan pot from Phaistos (Crete):

Pictures to come... but it will be fired using used vegetable oil in an outdoor kiln, heated to cone 10 (the pots above are cone 6, done in an electric kiln).

We just got assignment number 3, making a wacky teapot. It's going to be a challenge. One teacher at UCSD was always into wacky teapots and I avoided her classes like the plague.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Birthday snow

On Saturday I went by the dye garden and discovered that most things were pretty dead of frost, but a few things were still doing well. One was a bunch of pansies:
These guys were volunteers from flowers we didn't pick last year that went to seed. We didn't pick many this year either, so I hope to do better at collecting them next year. This was 0.4 oz of flowers, dyeing 0.7 oz of silk:

You usually want at least as much flowers as fiber by weight.

Anyway, that white powder on the railing is snow. It didn't last long, but it's a sign of things to come.