Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wood fire in Waco

Ready to burn, baby, burn

     We had a big bonfire in Waco this past weekend and managed to fire a few pots while we were at it! The bourry-box wood kiln comes courtesy Bill Whitt. Attending the Big Flame-Out was Bill Lennox, Matt Trimble, Kristal Gilkey of Alley Cat Pottery, Sara and Jeff of Tater Knob Pottery, Buddy Dobbins and various neighborhood friends who love to eat 16-20 hour venison chili, drink beer and wine and  chomp down on some chocolatey brownies. Much stoking was done.
Ready to be loaded
The wadding for the pots. If only it was pfeffernusse!
     The glazing and loading began on Wednesday through to Friday afternoon. The kiln started on Friday evening around 8 pm and we reached cone 10 on Saturday evening, around 11:30pm. The bourry box set-up allows for a more leisurely stoking pattern, in my opinion. I find that the front stoking of the anagama and Phoenix kilns at EKU to be fussier and more involved. Bill's kiln box opens from the top, you throw in a few logs, close the lid, sit and wait, drink a beer, note the temp change, lather, rinse, repeat. During my shift on Saturday, we started at 1900°F and steadily climbed to nearly 2200°F with no stall. When the shift change happened, they were able to climb to cone 9 to cone 10 and do some heavy raking to get plenty of ash on the pots.
Use every spot!

Flames in the firebox
     However, upon opening the kiln, it was a little bit of a hit or miss. Although we had plenty of great looking pots, we also had quite a few dry pots. We think our error was in stoking to cone 10 and not taking it up to cone 11 or higher. We think that when the kiln was shut up, ash was still circulating and dropping on the pots when the temperature was already dropping, hence, no fluxing and some dry pots. We're doing another wood firing, this time with a little bit of salt added. We'll adjust the firing schedule and push for cone 11-12 this time.
We crammed pots everywhere.
Crusty skull!
     In the mean time, these are some of the pots that came out of the kiln. Some great shinos, some great flashing. We had way more pots than room in the kiln for this firing. More of my pots did not make it in than did. I'm still working on teapot forms, experimenting and honing my skills at attaching the pieces. My porcelain pot came out way too dry but more importantly, very warped. Back to the drawing board on that front. Next firing I hope to use a Highwater Phoenix clay, a Standard 153 and, oh, why not, Helios porcelain again.
Two of my teapots didn't do so bad but time to make more...
Warm colors
More booty from the kiln. Another firing later in the month.

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