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.

Pottery Update

Last time I payed a visit to my studio I wanted to finish up all the projects I was working on. I had handles to attatch and teasets to assemble. I trimmed foots and lids and threw some of the biggest bowls I have thrown so far (about 3kg/6 pounds, 25 cm/ 9,8” diameter). Beforehand I had only tried throwing lids that kind of sink into the opening and completely rely on the rim of the teapot to stay where they are. Continue reading

Bread with topping that I don’t wanna call Pizza

The other day I had a real craving for baking. I wanted to bake something salty, non-cakey. That imagination was fueled by the thick bush or basil that has been growing in our kitchen all winter long but never was used as a herb because we lacked nice and ripe tomatoes. I imagined a dough that was spread thinly but had a thick rim. And on the thinner part there should be dried tomatoes (also available in winter) and olives and maybe cheese. Very simple. Not too much topping and still winter-friendly. Kind of like focaccia but with a very stretchy and rather firm dough. It should not be Pizza I thought. It should be a bread with a topping. More like the german Dinnete or Flammkuchen. So no tomatosauce and only very few ingredients. But very good ones at that too. And since I didn’t have to work on the market that friday that I wanted to make Pizzabread without it being pizza I went to the market anyways. This time I was a customer though and not selling the products to other people. Fabio and Meike accompanied me and it was one of the most relaxing mornings since a long time. We spent time having coffee, and checking out good cheeses. I bought a 2 year old peccorino and some mountain cheese as well as dried tomatoes and olives and arugula. The dough I had set up in the morning before going to bike the big route. So there was not much time to let the sourdough develope but since I have a pretty strong sourdough the only thing I was really concearned about was the taste, not the rising action. Though the taste doesn’t matter as much, if you top your bread with strong cheese and other yummie stuff I guess. I used a Pizzaflour I had bought from Adler-Mühle recently. It is a mix of semolina and semolinaflour. The dough gets really stretchy in the making and nice and crispy after baking. Continue reading

Going spouty

The past week I spend almost four full days in my studio. Did go there directly after work on tuesday and stayed till late friday. It was amazing! I managed to throw a teapot and learned that spouts are super tricky, especially the thin part on the top. If you throw it too thin it will twist around itself and though that can look pretty cool it usually is just very annoying. I suspect it is a combination of letting the wheel run too slow, moving up too fast, colaring too much in too little time and throwing too wet/ too thin. That said I produced three to four spouts for one teapot because I crashed one, twisted a second and wanted a fourth just in case something happened to the third. Anyways, I had a ton of spouts in the end but only two teapots to put them on. Continue reading

Everyday Ryebread / Lieblingsroggenbrot

So today I had brunch with my close friend and ex roomie Fabio (from Bannetons Brasil) and his girlfriend Meike. We were eating bread that he had baked and some I had done the evening before. I needed to bake bread for quite some days now because we had run out of homemade bread since I had put a lot of time and efford into setting up my own clay studio lately. And since I wasn’t very creative other than in the clay studio I just stuck to my everyday recipe of rye-bread, that I feel already very comfortable with because it turned out to be a reliable recipe. It is also a recipe that you don’t need to take a lot of care of, meaning the starter can ferment a little longer or shorter if necessary. I usually start my sponge in the evening, let it ferment over night, feed it in the morning before going to work and bake when I come home. So there’s not a lot of trouble even if you can’t spend a lot of time checking on your sponge. Well, here it goes: Continue reading