Wednesday, June 3, 2009

And here are the results

We uncovered the pit Monday night and fished out the pots. Some of them were still hot, 48 hours later. Gloves and tongs were required to move them.

First the aluminum foil and any remaining material, like burnt copper scrubby pads, was peeled away, then the pots were washed.

click on any photo to enlarge

Afterward washing, a protective coating is applied to the finished pot. I used liquid floor wax, but paste furniture or car wax can be used as well. Here are my results:
The black iron oxide details I painted on this pot didn't take, and washed off during the cleaning process. All I got was some gray smoke patterns. Simple, plain, attractive perhaps, but not what I was hoping for.

Two sides of the same pot:

First, I incised the stylized grass pattern in the leather-hard clay before bisque firing. After it was fired, I painted red iron oxide in the grooves. T
he black lines come from a length of baling twine that I soaked in a salt brine solution. When dried, the twine was wrapped around the pot.
Next, I encased the twine-wrapped pot in a copper scrubbing pad. You can see the effect in the pattern of dark dots scattered over the surface. Finally, I wrapped the whole thing in a dry rag that had been soaked in a concentrated solution of Miracle Grow.

Red iron oxides were used for the spiral on this shallow vessel. I tried to follow the spiral pattern I made in the wet clay when I threw this piece.

An "altered art" piece. When throwing it, I goofed up, and what was intended to be a mug became a flop instead. (Sorry, Kyle. Still working on your coffee mug!)
So, I decided to experiment. This pot was filled with dried horse manure and then wrapped in brine-soaked baling twine. (Did I mention that none of the pit fire pieces are food safe?)

The results were less than stellar.

Again, showing two sides of the same piece. The uneven nature of the pit fire often leads this sort of schizophrenia.

This pot was also encased in a copper scrub pad, then a Miracle Grow rag.

The pattern made by the copper links is particularly evident here.

So, there you have it. The unusual and unpredictable conclusion of this year's pit firing. Each year, we learn more about what to expect (In fact, I have a few ideas for next year already) but as I am quickly discovering, this process continues to surprise us.

7 comments:

Kyle said...

Looks like a very cool (if stinky -- I've burned cow manure before, I can't imagine horse pucky can smell much better) process, Kathi. There are some wonderfully unique pots and designs in those group shots, and some of the patterns and finishes you ended up with are fascinating!

Kathiesbirds said...

Kathi, what interesting results. Chemistry and art all in one! BTW, I have some photos of you published on my blog. I'm still working on New River posts!

Mary said...

All of this fascinates me although it's pretty methodical and step-by-step. You're having a great time with this.

I want to tell you I like my jar you made. I had originally wanted it in my bathroom to hold q-tips, etc. but it looks real nice on the foyer table.

Lisa said...

Ooh, I like what the copper scrubby did! (Better use than what the crackheads would make of it, hm?)

wv - "yarfull." I didn't feed the cats before I left for work yesterday, and they gave me a yarfull when I got home.

jalynn01 said...

Kathi,
Which reminds me of my lateness in thanking you for the wonderful piece of pottery you gave me at NR. I put it on my kitchen counter and put some little spatulas in it. I love containers for kitchen utensils!! Worked out beautiful and you were so kind to give us all a sampling of your talented skills!! Thank you! Loved this post as well. The pattern made by the copper is beautiful.

Wren said...

That's really interesting, Kathi. I didn't know you could use a pit like that to fire pottery.

Since we saw some of your handiwork at NR, it's fun to see the process that led to the finished work.

dguzman said...

I love your pottery posts! I wish I lived closer to you, so I could learn this stuff. It's on my list of stuff to learn!