Saturday, 27 September 2008
Pot glazing madness (from hell) and wood firing passion.
Today has been the most frustrating hard day so far. I have never been or seen people as bummed and cranky as they were today. We are glazing green and it is really tough with this clay because it really saturates when water is introduced even if it is bone dry, and the stuff is so brittle it is just ridiculous. I started off with a dipping mindset after doing some glaze shopping ( I was planning on dipping my pots in glaze). I could do the cups fine because I can do them fast enough to avoid the clay soaking up and crumbling, but the bigger pots just crumbled in hand. I had one teapot I was planning to put in as well as the lightest, best formed vase crumble from my hands into pieces into the bucket of glaze. I was so frustrated I could not talk to anyone about it. This place is so far from any type of pottery I am used to that it seems like the other side of the world (and it is). After breaking the two best pots of my load I made up my mind to spray it all on. And then.....you guessed it....the sprayer blew out. Dave did all of his pots in an hour or so and it overheated and quit running. I guess you can imagine the questions in my mind then. I did all the mugs quicky and easily, and the sprayer started working sparingly. It would overheat easily and shut off for hours at a time. I brushed some glaze on, and was fortunate enough to have about a quarter of my pieces sprayed. This firing is like one big test, and full of pots I am not proud of so I guess I should not care so much. Everyone was having similar problems except the ones teaching. There were many pass byes that went without hellos today. We started loading after around four and plan on starting around twelve, but I am going with the morning shift because I am still suffering from this cough and need my rest tonight. While loading I can feel the wood firing passion shaking my bones. I am in love with burnin a load of pots with wooden fuel. Something about that crackle and even the look of freshly glazed pots just makes my blood start pumping with adrenaline. Loading at night tonight reminded me of back home spending late nights loading the fresh alkaline glazed pots. Setting them carefully back into the cavelike groundhog tunnel kilns we have back on the other side of the world. Back in Catawba valley. I am reminded every time I say the words turn, burn, or dig (referring to building a kiln) just how North Carolinian folk I was brought into this world of artists. To be honest I did not think I was that bad until I got here and really hear myself refer to things a certain way. I am here to broaden the perspective though, and it is not done easily. Lot of pots have ben messed up along the way. It is funny how I can be as far from home as possible yet have one of the most familiar, comfortable feelings from doing something I love like firing up a wood kiln. (It also helps that it is not filled completely with my pots, it would be much more stressful if it were.)