Last Raku for This Month

Today was the last of the raku firings before we head on over to the TNNA show. Some of the pieces that are driving my new designs came out really well. Twenty three loads in the kiln in seven days…I’m feeling it too.

I looked in the kiln and noticed a little ray of sunlight illuminating a particular piece…so I decided to “follow it” through the rest of it’s firing process.

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The glaze on the piece has not melted yet. In real time I could see little shiney places where parts of the glaze matrix was starting to melt.

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A few minutes later…and 100 degrees hotter…the glaze looks to be melted. I do however know that the glaze needs another 50 degrees and some time to smooth out.

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To become this. Same piece as in the first two photos.

No Wind Today…Game On!

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After the windy day delay from yesterday, the kiln loads were by and large just wonderful. Two glazes on yarnbowls turned out a bit funky (okay, let’s be honest, they sucked)…but mostly, the loads looked like these two photos.

The post firing cans were unusually smokey today…thick grey with black core types of smoke…the good stuff :-) .¬†Once upon a time this would mean I would spend part of the day choking and squinting. When I started to use the mask it was a bit awkwards and it felt heavy. But now, after dozens of firings, putting it on and using it almost feels natural (almost). Makes the smoke a non-issue…much safer in that regard. Also, I just plain feel better at the end of the day…hmmmm…seems that inhaling all that smoky crud was taking it’s toll.

Second picture…no idea where the blue came from…same glaze as above…same load in the kiln. Two different reduction canisters.

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Glazing and Cleaning for Tomorrow

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Glazed and sort of ready to go. I will add silver nitrate and then it will be ready. SN is a little on the messy side so I wait until everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) is ready for application and then apply it to the everythings all at the same time. You need gloves and safety glasses and long sleeves (or potentially you will have black freckles for a few weeks). With the weather in the low 90s who wants to put up with that multiple times…so I wait a bit. It will be shiny black with silver decorations by the way.

The second one will be finished in a saggar. The white should give the piece a stone-like look…think veining in jaspers. I’ll highlight some of the petroglyph decorations…pictures of the finished piece to follow…maybe. I won’t bother if it turns out to be a crummy idea :-)

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SPONGING! (again)

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Lambs! I normally get very bored sponging a few dozen of these little critters. Can you begin to imagine how I might feel sponging 400 of them? It’s so bad I’m counting the strokes of the sponge to see how efficient I can be.

BUT WAIT…THERE’S MORE!…seriously, it’s not just the 400 lambs…the 150 triangular shawl pins don’t help with the boredom…nor the 350 plain buttons.

My fingers are cold and prune-like AND…

the CD player has decided to jamb up.

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Odin is in the house!

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Well it had to happen someday. It will probably happen again (with twists and turns I’m sure).

Our Grandson, Odin, found some interesting little pieces and got into them…they must have felt good as he walked on them…into the lawn some of them…onto the patio some of them…half of the messed up ones we’ll never find. Lucky for me (and TNNA folks :-) ) his Mommy was not that far behind.

It would seem that he needs to start understanding where the things come from. He probably can’t “get it” yet…maybe if I have him sponge a few hundred and see how painfully boring that work can be…Boy was I pissed off. Grampie’s bad.

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VKL Pasadena Was A Great Time

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Vogue Knitting LIVE in Pasadena was the first time (in over 40 years) that we set up in a corner booth. We liked it. Enrique (RADecals.net) did a great job on the display stands…logos in all the right places.

Vogue asked us if we would lend them 20 yarns bowls for the “try it” area. It’s a very cool idea…providing a space for folks to come up and actually knit a bit with yarns that are available at the show. Of course some of those folks absolutely needed to buy yarns bowls (break my heart).

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We met some of the nicest people at this show…vendors and shoppers. Folks were so very appreciative of the marketplace, but when I spoke with them about the classes I found that they really got a lot out of those too. Good to see friends from other shows again…and take down was such a mellow affair…now that’s something I could enjoy at every show :-) .

Fresh From The Kiln

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Every so often when I get a piece finished, I just need to sit and hold it for a while. This is one of those pieces. The depth of the surface is just unbelievable. I know what I did to get all this to happen, but still it’s a wonderful surprise.

There is no glaze on these two pieces…the clay is polished when damp and additional layers of colored clay are added and polished also. The pieces are bisqued and then fired in a saggar technique with three chemicals that provide gases (and why I wear a full face respirator) for more color and horsehair just because it’s cool.

Not only does the combination of techniques create some pretty cool eye candy…these pieces feel great! They are smooth like a satin and not as “mechanical” as with a glaze. One can almost translate the glow into the feel.

Very labor intensive…but still we’re showing them at TNNA in Columbus to fiber shop buyers across the nation. Very labor intensive is generally translated to also mean…very limited availability.

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TNNA!

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This next week I will have completed every item that could be making the trek to Columbus. I will make no new anythings until June. Impressed? Well for a creative person that reality is actually somewhat depressing. Luckily there are a number of kiln days in between now and the 15th of May (about the last days to fire anything to get it detailed out in time) and each of those days is preceded by some of the most creative days of my cycle. I just need to think about those creative days and forget that I will not be making new things. I also could use the room for new things…so firing bits actually allows me to have room to make more. Now that I’ve talked about all the work…I’m tired and need a nap.

Not The Best of Starts

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This is what greeted me when I opened my little kiln this morning. There was a pot in there…really…just one…but it was in one piece. Move on Jim…move on.

Of course I could always have the day my wife, Brenda, is having and have the takeoff from Phoenix aborted…and then on the way back to the terminal…oh, we’re so sorry but you have no gate. She’s on standby and then a confirmed. Should be in Des Moines late late this evening.

A big saggar kiln load was torched off today…should be a good one. Pictures will follow :-)