April 20, 2014

Pit Firing Like Easter Egg Hunts

There has more than an appreciable distance between my blog entries these days. It was due to a hiatus in creating art work then creating art that was time consuming and with several steps involved in completion. I left off my drawing and painting for a while to work on ceramics for another pit firing. These involve several steps: forming the vessels and musical instruments, scraping the vessels, sanding the vessels, low bisque firing of the vessels, smoke firing, then cleaning and polishing. So unlike my two dimensional work, which can be completed and posted often at the rate of one a day, the ceramics take a long time but then are all ready all at once.

This last run of pit fired vessels showed some promise, although not everything made it through unscathed. I celebrated the former and used the latter to experiment with. Many of the lidded vessels that I made for the pit firing reminded me of the pastel hues of Easter eggs and spring flowers. So Easter Sunday seemed like the best time to post them. In order to make these hues I used my velvet underglaze colors mixed with a painting terra sigillata medium. Before firing, I added copper carbonate mixed with sea salt. The copper carbonate reduced in the firing to make some iridescent splashes of red - just what I was hoping for.

With this firing, my collection of buff stoneware clay and locally harvested clay is completely used up. I’ve a bit of red stoneware clay to use for the next pit firing, then some porcelain. After that its on to my accumulated earthenware. Nice to have a few empty containers to use.

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