Thursday, March 3, 2011


We unloaded the kiln today. Serene Wadding Buddha got a hefty dusting of black soot plus some disturbingly green mystery powder, yet still he sits contentedly on his mat with his wee bird companion and cup of tea (which is not 3/4 full of unmelted glaze). Nothing fazes him.

Here are photos of the front and back stack:

What's that, you say? It looks like something is amiss with the far end of the bag wall*? Why, you're right! It collapsed during the firing. Fortunately, it slumped sideways into the kiln wall rather than tumbling onto the loaded shelves. Casualties included just two bowls, a cup, and a chicken, none of which fell from the wall. Thanks, Serene Wadding Buddha (and to you too, Chipper Dog, of whom I have no post-firing photo)!

The pots were a little dry this time, with a bubbly purple crustiness I've never seen before. If you are less uptight than I am, or if crusty bubbly purple stuff is your thing, or if you are able to squint in just the right way, or if you are one of fifty or so clay chickens, you might be able to find such random and non-replicable surface treatments not entirely displeasing.** I'm working on it. Cedar Creek potter T.T. wondered whether the kiln might have been fuming copper or tin left over from a previous firing ("A.B. sometimes puts pretty wacky stuff in the kiln..."). Indeed, Serene Wadding Buddha's dusting of green looks suspiciously like copper carbonate. Fortunately, a few glazed gems are mixed in with the crustiness. I'll post some photos soon.

*I don't know why a kiln's bag wall is called a bag wall--OED, how could you fail me so?--other than that the bag wall protects the pots by creating a bag of air between the pots and the burning fuel. OED does offer a definition for bag from 18th-century coal-mining lingo that seems to make sense here--"a cavity filled with gas or water."

**I recently learned from a friend that the rhetorical term for these backhanded compliments is litotes.

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