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Friday, March 13, 2009

Almost done...

Last year at this time while at a festival, I received an order I was almost afraid to take. It was open ended: to create plates and bowls, the number was up to me, but it was to be pieces that I was proud of. Masterworks. Something that displayed my art, not just production. I hemmed and hawed then they handed me half down. The plates are large dinner plates, the bowls are low and wide. These are the plates, the bowls will be done in a few weeks. They are done in a stoneware and tomorrow morning they will go into a salt-kiln. They are glazed with a light green celadon glaze, it should pool nicely in the carvings.

Here are the steps I had to take:

1) Throw the form. These are 14" across and made from 6lbs of clay.
2) allow the rims to sstiffen, but not get dry.
3) carve the design freehand
4) allow them to stiffen to leather hard and trim the foot
5) allow to become bone-dry
6) soften the design by buffing it with a 3m scrub pad
7) bisque fire to cone 06
8) WASH each piece to remove the dust from the 3M buffing
9) Allow them to dry for approx 8 hours so the glaze will stick, even after their earlier washing.
10) glaze the eating surface by pouring in two sections.
11) Allow each piece to dry, then sign with a mixture of Red Iron Oxide and Wax resist.
12 stack each piece with bubblewrap, I wrapped every four plates as a package with cardboard between each package.
13) Tomorrow I will drive them 20 miles to the salt kiln in Zion, PA

In Zion they will be fired to approximately 2400 F and it will take about 6 days for the pieces to cool inside the kiln. I'll be able to retrieve them NEXT weekend.

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