Update

So far everything is going more or less well. I really need to start working on my portfolio though, for which I need to take photographs of stuff that hasn’t been fired yet. The test-plate that I painted with overglaze turned out quite well though. It did wrap a little too, unintentionally. I guess I need to use more tripods underneath it so it’ll be more stable and not wrap/ sink in as much. Also I probably shouldn’t fire them as hot as I did, since the overglaze can only just stand 1230 °C. I was wondering if I could fire it together with the bisqueware though I am not sure if that is hot enough. I’ll probably just try to place the plates on the cooler shelves in the lower part of the kiln. That way I can still fire them the way I did. And maybe I’ll also decrease the hold-time a little to give the plates less time to wrap around the tripods. Continue reading

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2nd Glazefire

Nachdem der Ofen (diesmal mit Ferro-Ringen) geladen war habe ich ihn am folgenden Tag befeuert. Als ich morgens ins Atelier kam hatte er schon 450 Grad und es roch äußerst komisch im ganzen Atelier. Von den Glasuren kann das bei dieser Temperatur eigentlich nicht kommen und jegliche Sulfate hätten schon beim Schrühbrand ausbrennen müssen. Nach einigem Überlegen und einem Telefonat mit Carl Jäger schien es mir am wahrscheinlichsten, dass der Kleber in der Aufglasur bei dieser Temperatur verbrannt ist, da sich der Geruch danach auch gelegt hat. Dennoch muss ich unbedingt die Kita anrufen und fragen, ob ich den Abzug endlich abholen kann. Gesund ist das ja sicher nicht mit den ganzen Gasen die sich da bilden. Continue reading

Preparation

So the last week I emptied my second bisque load. Everything went fine. I found out that I can’t lay down the branches to save space because they will crack. But other than that nothing cracked. I mixed a bunch of glazes that still needed testing, especially the silicon carbide reds I was curious about. So I mixed a couple of variations and tried different grain sizes (4800 and 800). Feet were waxed and glazing began. Thanks to my testtiles I already knew more or less what I was going for. It still took a whole day and some reapplication till I could load the kiln. My iron-red-brown glaze and some others were mixed too thickly and would peel off the pots so I needed to redo them completely. But in the end almost everything fit in the kiln.

2nd Bisque

It’s been exactly a month since I did my last bisque fireing. I have been superbusy throwing, slipcasting and slab-building so I can do a second bisque. Today I drove to my aunts place (by bike!) to load the kiln and candle it for a bit, so the pieces are really dry. Since it rained all day there’s a high humidity in the air and I don’t wanna risk it damaging my pots when I bisque it right away. Continue reading

Some disappointment and a few nice surprises

After my excursion from Wednesday to Friday I went to my aunts place right away to unload the kiln. Kinda crazy after riding the train for so long already, I know. But I HAD to know how it had turned out. It was already dark when I got there and the thrill of anticipation couldn’t have been bigger. After all it was my first glaze-fireing and who could’ve known what would happen in this black-box??? Continue reading

Even hotter stuff

So yesterday was the kiln fireing. It is still cooling down. But it already has cooled down to 200 °C and even though my plan was to drive home today in the morning I couldn’t. There was still a mold to be made and one to be filled. So I stayed and read the text I had to read for university in my studio between slipcasting and kiln-checking. I just worry a little about my trip to Münster tomorrow since it will start at four in the morning and it’s almost 7 pm now and I didn’t catch a train back to Mainz yet. But I’ll manage somehow I guess. I’ll come back from Münster on Friday, quickly drop off the stuff at home, then head over to the studio till sunday and do nothing that day except resting. By then I’ll at least have earned that day off I think. The past weeks have been crazy busy here at the studio and at university and I barely managed to get one day off, neither during the week or on the weekend. Although I am pretty excited for my trip to Münster and the following one to the Documenta 14 I am also a little worried about taking breaks. So this is why I really should stick to my plan to take the coming sunday off. No waiting on kilns to cool down or glazes that still need to be mixed, no more new mold making (!) and no quicky on the wheel. Because deep down I know that there’s no such thing as quickies in the studio. It all takes time. Time to do and time to dry. I can’t and I shouldn’t rush it, otherwise things will just go bad as I already found out the hard way.
Anyways. Since I didn’t get much freetime lately that also means I increased the number of slipcast porcelain-branches a lot. And since I plan an installation of them it can’t hurt to start off having a couple more of them. Also the mold now has time to dry out over a few days so I will be able to make another load of branches when I come back.
Also I made new testtiles. I already used up most of the ones I had for all the glazes I mixed while the kiln was cooling down. But since I recently read a cool article about copper reds chemically reduced by adding silicon carbide to the glaze, I needed more testtiles. Silicon carbide usually is used as an abrasive and comes in different grain sizes. John Britt mentions using grit 600 or 800 but other sources say the finer the better. So I ordered 800 mesh and 2000 mesh and will test away with that. I’ll also try to mix some foodsafe glazes from the transparent glaze I bought ready made at Carl Jäger and adding colorants to it. They said it was still food safe afterwards and I won’t need much colorant since I plan on getting the look of a celadon.

Hot Stuff

I did it! I fired my own kiln. Two days ago, on thursday. On my own. Well… I got some help loading it by Skylar. It was great having him over at my studio and being able to ask him all the questions I had. He seems to know everything =D
So we loaded the kiln and set a program. I did a slowish heating cycle of 6 hours to 650 °C and then a faster heating to 1000 °C where it soaked for an hour. I started the kiln in the morning around 9 and it was finished at about 6. The electricity usage went up drastically of course. The kiln almost used 150 kWh…. And although it cooled down all night it still needed another day and another night to come down to 120 °C. I was very patient though and waited till it had 60°C to crack the door open a little bit. The fear of distroying something after all the efford I put into it and the power used was too big. I tried to distract myself by making texture stamps and mixing tons of glazes. In total 14. Only to always wonder if my coppercarbonate was too coarse. Well turns out it actually IS too coarse. But nothing I can do about it now. I glazed stuff for two days and made testtiles with all the glazecombos I wanted to know how they turned out. I also glazed mostly the pieces that were a little too thick or not as centered or had other flaws, so it doesn’t bother me as much if the glaze turns out to be ugly. That said I did not really use a lot of my newly mixed glazes but mostly the four bought ones I know will work fine and at least not run. The kiln was loaded again on sunday and fired today. I am really, really curious how everything will turn out, especially because of the too coarse coppercarbonate. I imagine it will get green spots instead of an even distribution of the green in the glaze.