What were your ancestors doing in the years 1127 a.d. thru 1279 a.d. (152 years)?
A sunken chinese merchant ship was found in 1987, the first ancient ship found along the Maritime Silk Road. Among the contents were 60,000 to 80,000 precious cargo, especially ceramics (The Guangdong Maritime Silk Road Museum)!
Each piece made by hand.
Marveling at the number of hours invested to create each piece.
Imagining the life of one day of one chinese potter.
Firstly, while flying by the seat of my pants I am going to build a small hard fire brick pit fire (much smaller than the photo above). I think two of the bigger things I’m slightly giddy about are what oxides I’m going to add to combustibles and whether/how to do Sagar with tin foil with dried banana peels!
Recently the Universe blessed me with the meeting of two very lovely people, “George and Patty” who sold me their lot of hard fire bricks. George is a potter who had created some amazing pieces, two of which I was graced with seeing up close and personal. This adventure was truly a gift on multiple levels. Two trips to load up these bricks with my oldest grandson has brought me priceless treasured memories to cherish the rest of my days.
Do you wanna build a Snowman?
How about some figurines?
Pieces fired in the initial firings are TOTALLY experimental. In other words it’ll be an exercise in LETTING GO. Wanna join me?
Here’s an interesting thought… how much BTU will be consumed in a 1.4 cubic foot container (aka the Pit Fire) per hour? http://www.kylesconverter.com/energy,-work,-and-heat/cubic-yards-of-atmosphere And what is a BTU? LOL (answer: British Thermal Unit) “Most common use of term BTU in everyday language. Energy required to raise the temperature of 1lb of water by 1°F. Approximately 1.05505585262 x 103 Joules (SI).” Okay that was fun to tossle around in my brain before I refocused on the next step… which is to choose an option for an insulating variable.
Ceramic Fiber Board vs Ceramic Fiber Blanket (1″ #8 density with ITC https://amzn.to/2NLNmnA) vs justICT) or just 100 ITC… or just “wing it” LOL!
The passion potters possess pertaining to pit fire pottery is a hot topic! The more I work toward this direction the more excitement builds – tempered with the grounding mantra “it’s an experiment” of course.
Here is a great example of awesome pit fire work, found on Facebook, Guarnera Potter – be sure to check out his other pieces on Facebook!
Excitement builds as bricks lay heavy in my mind. In a good way.
Building a pit-fire kiln has tickled the daydreaming niches of possibilities. Almost every day.
This book is hard to find But I bought it anyway.
And this Blog Inspired me in many ways!
Always thought it would be fashionable to wear one of these – especially with the bold colors, strong patterns, with some hanging chains of some kind of functionality and maybe even a throwing axe? LOL
Yes, the next step towards converting an electric kiln to a Raku kiln is getting a burner kit. A few options exist, including the:
<a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="http://<!– wp:paragraph –> <p>Yes, the next step towards converting an electric kiln to a Raku kiln is getting a burner kit. A few options exist, such as the Raku Burner Kit from Axner.com/Laguna <br><img class="wp-image-1413" style="width: 150px;" src="https://oneidashark.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/raku_burner_kit.jpg" alt="undefined"></p> Raku Burner Kit from Axner.com
Ward Burner B3 Dual Burner System
Next steps for electric kiln to Raku conversion:
Remove the wire elements
Fill in or patch areas where soft (insulating) brick is thin or missing
Drill hole in metal and insulating bricks… maybe at a slight angle so the fire/flames circulate inside the kiln OR keep straight on. Either way it may be important to have an angled soft (insulating) brick to direct the flames to affect more wares
Refit the lid with ceramic fiber and/or other do other repairs.
Add wheels to the kiln stand
Secure the kiln to the kiln stand
Create a wooden ramp from the kiln storage area to the outside
Bonus: Possibly create a lid-sliding feature to act as a quick storage feature when opening the kiln during a fire
*During this time, I’ll start collecting dried organic combustibles, including, but not limited to: newspaper, sawdust, pine needles, and dried leaves. Closer to the firing time I plan to use discarded banana peels too. The great thing about this is to experiment (with care).
We survived the self quarantine. My heart and humility goes out to those who died or knew someone who died of Covid-19. Our lives were turned askew. We went through confusion, fear, depression and ultimately (hopefully) reconnected or connection with God and our higher power and Universe (deep self reflection). We are new survivors!
As states started to reopen in phases I found myself being gifted with kilns, as the universe heard my desire (or I fell in tune with my universal fate/destiny/path) to do some alternative pottery firings! I did purchase some hard refractory bricks.
It’s so heartwarming to me that my heart warms when I think of the whole process of creating wood-fired pottery. In addition, I’ve tasked myself with doing some RAKU pottery, mainly because of the mystery of the results, experience from a recent alternate-firing class at Clayscapes Pottery, but also because a cool friend gave me some horsehair so I could do some Horsehair pottery!
Horsehair Pottery Inspirations
It’s 2020 and life threw me some lemons, so I’ve been making lemonade but my mind daydreams often of making pottery.
The first few months of this year has been focused on PREPARING to do a RAKU session – figuring out how many pieces to make to maximize the my first full raku session (2 kiln firings), then creating, burnishing, bisquing, etc. During this time doing research on the RAKU process and options – what materials to purchase (tongs, gloves, sand, turnstyle, glazes, etc), what glaze options for non-horsehair pieces, getting feathers, etc. During this time also thinking of learning enough to try doing my own RAKU with a DIY kiln or outright purchase of a RAKU kiln. Time will tell.
Wood-fired Pottery Musing
The next phase of my daydreaming is creating pieces for this year’s woodfiring! I love doing mugs and lidded jars for this. 30 pieces is a goal, 40 pieces is a bonus, and 50 pieces would be a hoot!
Nice web posting regarding the wood-fire process, the basics, the job duties, the spirit of, etc: Monroe Clay Works
So while I drink lemonade from life’s lemons I allow myself to giggle inside like a little kid, at the thoughts of doing these 2 kiln firings: RAKU and Woodfire.
Right now I won’t over analyze why I have giggle-ness, I’m just allowing myself to enjoy it.
Have a resource for quick reference always helps, especially as time becomes more valuable, retention becomes less and less, or you need to share what you’ve learned.
Making lids for pottery jars and containers can demand more attention – some break, some aren’t sized well enough, some don’t pair just right, etc. So tips and resources are well appreciated, regardless.