Saturday, April 2, 2011

Playing With Fire

Scary? Yes. Fun? Most definitely! Firing up the kiln and putting in my newest clay faces is always risky. You just never know...will it explode or crack? Will the oxide stains I rubbed into the clay and painted on the details come out the way I hoped? Or even better?

I put the four faces into the kiln on Wednesday, fired up the kiln and watched through the peep hole. Turning it up from low to medium in 2 hours and from medium to high in another hour, then look for the cone to bend and shut off the kiln. There's nothing I could do but wait, and that always feels like the hardest part. Especially, when due to the cold weather outside this week, I had to wait until the kiln was completely cool. Which meant waiting until Thursday morning to open it up. I didn't want to be too eager and risk cracking a piece because the garage was colder than the inside of the kiln.

Ah, the wait was worth it.

Every face came through in one piece. The Penny Mask iron oxide color came out beautifully and the black I added brought out the details. The only problem was the nose, it had popped off at the bisque stage. I wasn't sure how it would take the second firing, but it came through fine, no big shrinkage, so I can just glue it back in place later.

The big surprise was the Oak Leaf face. The raw sienna color I'd rubbed into the background really faded. That's a disappointment. I'm not sure if I'm going to add more stain or not.

The other two faces, Molehills and Spring came out much nicer than I thought they would.

So even though I was nervous playing with fire and impatient to have to spend the day waiting on the kiln, it was, indeed, worth it. I can't wait to try this with some other new pieces.

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