I can’t believe that it’s over a year since I started working on the potter’s wheel. The good news is that the renovations are complete, having had a new flywheel made and installed. It still needs a cork for the plug hole but essentially, it’s ready to use.
The Pottery Journey Continues
Before we attempt to produce hand thrown pots, I still need to work out how to dry and fire the finished pieces successfully. With this in mind I spent one of my rare days off handbuilding a pot and some small tiles to experiment on. The pot design was inspired by earthballs (puffballs) which have ‘exploded’ their spores.
I am in the process of making my small incinerator into a kiln for barrel firing. This means digging a hole in my garden and part burying the incinerator to reduce the amount of airflow, as my research has found that it would fire too hot otherwise. Getting to the correct temperature is vital, too cool and the pieces will not vitrify (become ceramic), too hot too quickly and it runs the risk of the pieces cracking/breaking apart.
Once the incinerator has been installed, the pieces need to be prepared for firing. For this I have chosen to use a saggar (an envelope) made from aluminium foil, into this I will place the piece and can then add natural items to help colour it. I am hoping to use some items that I can find around the woods e.g. lichen, bark, horsehair as well as ordinary household items such as tea leaves and cooking salt. As I am not sure what the results will be, I will use a different material with each tile, making notes as I go.
I really enjoyed the process of making these simple pieces, however pottery is an inherently risky process there is no guarantee that they will survive the firing process. I’m looking forward to opening the ‘kiln’ to see what, if anything had made it through. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed…