Wood fired porcelain pitcher made from slab contruction with cobalt stained porcelain inlay. Glazed interior, bare exterior with heavy smoke effect. Please watch video for detailed description.
About the wood firing:
The wood firing workshop took place March 5-7 under the instruction of Mark Tyson. It is a newly constructed train kiln that has only been fired less than five times total. The first day is spent prepping the pots: cleaning, glazing, and wadding each piece, then loaded into the kiln. The stacking, or arrangement of the wares and kiln shelves, are one of the factors that dictate the results. Wares in the flame path will be hit with more wood ash and direct heat, and many times the direction of the flame's energy is indicated by the orange flashing flowing against the wadding (the blank white spots left on the bottom of the piece). Other pieces that are more protected will have less direct ash deposits, but still achieve beautiful affects from atmospheric gases.
Wood ash is a flux composed mainly of calcium oxide, potassium oxide, magnesium oxide, sodium oxide, and some silicon and phosphorous. When these oxides melt under high heat of around 2345 degrees F, they attach onto the sticky surface of the glowing hot pots and become a glaze. In reduction we use plenty of wood so that carbon can be exchanged from wood rather than from the clay bodies.
These oxides sourced from the ash, combined with the metallic oxides of our glazes, create unique colors and surfaces that are signature to the wood firing process. Even during the firing we are continuously splitting more wood: oak, pine, maple, and mountain laurel. Not only does each species of wood have it's own properties, the bark also has different chemical makeups than the trunk.
During the firing process, we each take 6 hours shifts of nonstop tending to the kiln: checking the air ports, checking the side stokes, stoking the firebox, checking the damper, and documenting the temperatures. The kiln is like a very sensitive, very powerful body that houses the flame, an even more temperamental and volatile force. Sometimes it is harder to maintain an even temperature than it is to gain temperature. The following week we unload the kiln, remove the wadding, sand and polish, and some pieces I bring back to my studio for a luster firing.
Thank you for your interest!