Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hata Fest NEW WORK Fun Explosions!

We're only two days away from HATA FEST (the link is in all Japanese, but I like to imagine there are half a handful of Japanese readers out there in the datosphere). The first day, Saturday, will be performances from fantastic musicians (and other fun items of interests), and Sunday will be the day that yours truly is showing his collection to any and all would be feedbackers and conversationalists (who all hopefully become overcome by the urge to give these poor lonely pots a new homes). 

In even more blatant terms PLEASE COME SAY HI TO ME AND MANY OTHER ALT's and lovely people this weekend! 


Now, finally the long promised results from last weeks new firing. Behold! 

Opening this kiln load up was like discovering Santa had moved his workshop into my basement overnight. So, what did I do differently and why did I choose to do it? Well the short answer is that I sped up the rise in temperature of my firing cycle and added an extremely exaggerated cooling "down firing" to the end of it.  


The idea came from reading this article, by Steve Hill, in February's issue of Ceramics Monthly. The article focused on Steve's journey from higher temperature gas firings to his current work with electric kilns. In the article he speaks extensively on how to achieve the "magical, unpredictable surface effects that result from atmospheric firing techniques," without having an atmospheric environment to fire in. In basic terms, how to make electric oxidation firing look more like the highly sought after effects of other firing method such as: soda firingwood firingpit firing, the previously mentioned gas firing, raku firing, and countless others. The article's main thrust can be summed up by a quote from Pete Pinnell:

“In reduction firing, glazes can stratify into layers during the course of the firing. Longer firings and slower cooling cycles, along with the effects of reduction, can result in the creation of complex structures that can result in a variety of beautiful visual effects. Even seemingly opaque glazes can have enough translucency for one layer to subtly affect the next, creating variation and softness in surface color. In oxidation, shorter firing cycles, faster cooling, and an oxidizing atmosphere can result in less layering, simpler structures and less interesting visual qualities.”

Steve goes on to explain his firing process and years of trying new cycles (which I found absolutely wonderful to read, but I'll spare you the nerdy details). What is all boils down to is that by layering cone 6 glazes and exposing them to higher temperatures for a longer period of time the glazes are given more time to intermingle. This results in more blended colors, matted-finishes, and atmospheric results. No more hard lines between layered colors. This is a whole new variable in my ceramics process, and the results make me want to try new firing cycles. How long is too long? What is the optimum exposure to high heat to blend the colors, and not loose their vividness? Do all glazes react the same to the longer heat exposure (this firing seems to have severely darkened my blues and turned my green glazes into more of a dark translucent green)? 

My curiosity is endless. SO MANY QUESTIONS! But, there's plenty of time to seek those answers. For now, I'd say I've rambled on quite long enough about things I only have the most basic of understandings of. Hope you like the new work as much as I do, and hope to see you out in force at Hata Fest. 

See you next time friends. 

1 comment:

  1. WOW !!!!! I want to start collecting!! Send a few pieces home, please!!!!