Tag Archives: Jonathan Cross

The great wood fire of ’13

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013, I helped unload another kiln.  I was more able to help ‘feed’ it during the firing, which was a good sign I think.  Kilns are awesome.  They are scary too, since they are basically alive.  There is of course things you can do to control how they operate, but in the end, they do what they want (like a Charizard leveled up too high), and you have to be pretty cool with that.

A view of the four holes in front (dampers, I think).

Here is a close up of one of the dampers.

This is a different kiln, but it’s pretty cool.  That green fluff is fire, it looks like some Wizard of Oz nonsense.  It isn’t actually nonsense, it’s all chemicals and magic, but some of it (most of it probably) is out of my reach.

I hadn’t thought of this before, but the flame that shoots out of the chimney like that is the same flame from the logs we put in the mouth some fifteen or twenty feet away, that’s pretty neat.  Or, I think it is anyway.

Here’s some more smoky and shaky and blurry because cameras are way shoddier than eyeballs.

Here’s the side of the kiln, all ready for unbricking.

The unbricking begins!  Anticipation!

We see some pieces!  No major damage inside, so far so good.

Our teacher Jonathan Cross edjumicating us about the bag wall and some such.  I understand more now than I did when I started, but I still mostly just smile and nod.

Here’s what I put in:
Give or take a few that didn’t fit into the kiln.  But hey, better too much work than not enough.  Also, if the kiln gets too full, the flames can’t adequately run through the inside, so it’s better to have plenty of open spaces inside.  It’s pretty much awesome feng shui.

And here’s what I got:

a102_1198  a102_1229 a102_1228 a102_1227 a102_1226 a102_1225 a102_1224 a102_1223 a102_1222 a102_1221 a102_1220 a102_1219 a102_1218 a102_1217 a102_1216 a102_1215 a102_1214 a102_1213 a102_1212 a102_1211 a102_1210 a102_1209 a102_1208 a102_1206 a102_1205  a102_1203 a102_1201 a102_1200

And here’s a lovely bunch of coconuts:


New Soda

Well, newish.  We unloaded the kiln on Wednesday the sixteenth, and I took pictures of my pieces that Friday, the eighteenth and finally cropped them that following day.  Now I guess I’ll write about it.

I must admit that I was pretty underwhelmed when I first unloaded the kiln.  It’s probably my fault, because I got so gosh-darned excited about it in the first place, and you know how it is when things get hyped up.  To my credit though, the lighting was off and I was a bit preoccupied with helping to do the work.  I still need to get better about helping, but at least I didn’t actively ruin anything, which is basically helping.  I needed to make more work, which would actually affect whatever else was in the kiln, due to increased thermal mass and magic of some sort.  Hopefully white.

I’ve been told that I should be slightly less humble about my vessels, and I guess there is some merit to that, but my teacher Jonathan Cross has made my work so much better, and I thank him much for that.  His work is very different from mine, and so is his aesthetic eye, but I choose to believe that some of his knowledge is rubbing off on me.

Anyway, on with the pictures!  I thought that brownish color would be a good surface for pictures, but it obviously was not ideal in many cases.  I was a lot more focused on the quality of pictures this time around, which is probably because I got some interesting surfaces.  Clearly, my downfall once again is a lack of sufficient notes.  I swear I was trying, but I guess my system of laziness failed again.  One day.

I sprayed some slip on this one.

Then I stuck a banana in it.  Kind of interesting flashing.

 I like this one a lot.  I don’t remember what I did to it to get it that orange, I’m assuming some slip.  The grooves were scraped into it while it was wet, and there was some goop from the kiln, I think it’s pretty much pure soda.

There it is again.  Cool, huh?

This one has a sizeable hole in the bottom of it, which is a pity because the glaze turned out nice.  Here it is from the back.

The glaze is Reitz Green with some Acero over it, which is a common theme this time around.  Either Reitz Green or Woo blue, but I think this is the Blue actually.  Maybe not.

a102_1063 a102_1065
Pretty cool.  The marks are from my fingers dipping the bowl like Thetis dipped Achilles, and like Achilles, this pot has some bare spots.  I drizzled the Acero on afterwards.  I like the idea of using as few tools as possible, and I like the idea that my marks are clearly left behind.

a102_1067 a102_1066  a102_1069
This one is Wooless, I know that for sure.  The inside is the Reitz Green, and I textured the sides when It was leather-hard.

Same deal here, the bare clay is very orange, and you can see why an orangish background wasn’t the best idea.

I stuck a banana in there, and you can see the goobers left behind.  Also you can clearly see my beautiful hand.

a102_1073 a102_1074
Same process with this guy.  There was some bloat for some reason, which is just what it sounds like.  That’s the good thing about ceramics, a lot of the fancy terms for stuff are exactly what they sound like they’d be.  Bloat is when something gets into the clay, and then can’t escape when the firing happens, but instead forces the clay to expand with it.  Firing is crazy stuff, I swear.

I like the outside of this one more…

And the inside of this one.  Too bad I can’t pick and choose.

These are clays I kind of made.  I’d like to get into more of actually making my clays, but for these I simply bought clay and mixed in some iron filings.  This one is a ratio of half a gram of iron filings to one pound of clay.  There is a nice gooey spot that is from the kiln.

This is one gram of iron filings to one pound of clay.  I fluted the sides.  I think there are nice striations which I will say came from planned  uneven mixing, but really I was just lackadaisical.

This is 1.5 grams of filings to 1 pound of clay.  You can see it started to melt a tich and fused to the wadding I used (I hadn’t used them the last few firings, and almost always made a mess in there) (also, I just noticed that ‘fused’ is just ‘used’ with an ‘f’.  Really makes ya think).


Here is my beautiful hand again.

This one is interesting because it is just naked clay.  I put a porcelain/iron filing slip on the inside, and it kind of looks like my skin.  Interesting.  I also put a design on the outside with a different kind of clay.  It’s hard to tell where the bowl ends and the background begins, huh?

Bet you cant tell, but my hand is in this picture.

This one is nice because the markings I made on the cup match the shadow so well.  I pretty much did not plan that.

You know what?  My hands hurt and I’m bored and should get this posted, so I’m just going to stop typing.  Enjoy the pictures!