Today I’ve been preparing for my dustbin raku kiln’s maiden firing. To say I’m a little nervous is an understatement. Even though I participated in a number of this kind of firing whilst at Gray’s School of Art it somehow seems a much bigger responsibility doing it at home. I’ve gone so far as writing a step-by-step list so that I hopefully don’t miss anything, do anything wrong, or blow anything up.
I’ve mixed up a special glaze. To be honest I think it looks a little dark, so we’ll have to see when it comes out the other end. The whole process is going to be a test, so rather than doing test tiles I thought I’d just try some samples that I’ve made. Most of the morning was spent setting up the kiln and getting the burner at the right height and angle to allow the heat to circulate nicely.
So, with my husband standing by as safety officer, I’ve fired her up and it wasn’t as scary as I’d anticipated. Now the kiln’s temperature is rising steadily. I’ll let you know how things turn out tomorrow.
Click on the picture to see a little movie
A series about people that have influenced my creative path
Cy Twombly (1928-2011); Untitled from Bacchus Series, 2005
(creative commons photo from Flickr by Steve Parkinson)
Some years ago I had agreed to meet my husband in Hyde Park. I had some time on my hands so I nipped in to the Serpentine Gallery and saw the Cy Twombly: Fifty Years Of Works On Paper exhibition that was on at the time. I have become fascinated by his abstract drawings – what first appear to be little more than scribbles, in fact have a strange depth and calligraphic rhythm that I find intriguing.
Woodfired stoneware mug and jug, with tenmoku glaze; by David Gundry
We were given two of these mugs and the matching jug as a wedding present by some kind Devon friends. I’ve discovered this week that they were made by David Gundry, a retired GP who lives on the edge of Dartmoor. The mug shape is really comfortable in the hand, and the glaze is one of those whose beauty increases the more you look at it. I’ve been thinking about kilns more than a little this week and David’s is something else (take a look at these three videos #1, #2 and #3). If anyone out there would ever like some help with a wood firing, please let me know. I’d love to witness the process first hand.
Look what arrived yesterday evening! I can’t contain my excitement.
Now I just have to wait patiently for the electrician to come and convert it to single phase and wire it in. I’m desperately hoping that it won’t be too complicated – the helpful guys at Cromartie say that it shouldn’t be. I must say that she’s bigger than the new one I had planned to buy, but fate intervened and sent her my way because of her previous owner closing up shop. We’re thinking of naming her Ceti (short for Cetacea which is the latin classification for whales!) or maybe Bertha. I’ll let you know how we get along.