Saturday, November 19, 2005

Candling the Kiln

We had a great day today. Julie, Steph, and I went down to The Ceramic Shop in Philadelphia to check out their raku kiln. We met two potters who were firing the kiln, Tom Droppelman and Peter Cunicelli. Julie and I had a great time chatting with them, and Julie got to see the raku process from end-to-end for the first time. Tom had mixed a purple steaked raku glaze that turned copper under reduction. We all talked glazes and clay techniques. Megan, the woman who was running the shop, also gave Steph a piece of clay to play with, which kept her busy while we chatted.

Needless to say, Julie and I were inspired. We went out for a late lunch and a little shopping, and when we got home, we cleaned up the garage, and loaded Figaro, our middle-sized kiln. The lowest shelf has garden tiles and my trout, the second level has my mugs, Julie's salsa bowls, and her batter bowls, and the third level is loaded with dragons and rockets. There is a little clay frog, made by a potter in Seagrove, North Carolina, for Stephanie, which is on the top shelf in the kiln, watching the kiln-sitter for us. We have turned the bottom-most of the three banks of kiln elements to low, and are going to allow the kiln to candle for a couple of hours. This is to force any water that is still mechanically bound with the clay out. The lid of the kiln is propped open with a kiln brick, the peeps are uncovered, and we will slowly turn turn the kiln up tonight and tomorrow.

It only took seven months since the wiring was finished, but we are finally doing our first bisque fire.


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