Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Firing and yoga.

I loaded the kiln this week.  It's a full glaze load.  This is always wonderful and scary.  

It's wonderful that I have a kiln filled with colorful new work.  Big purple bowls.  Ruffled black and white mugs, bowls and plates.   Two new porcelain masks done in black under glaze.  Several bigger bowls with experiments in sgraffito and under glazes.  And a lovely jar with a lid that fits which started out as a mistake and turned into a success.
Oops, that's the scary part.  (Yoga pose:  Downward facing dog...Breathe in and out)
Because when the pieces come out of the bisque stage, they are colorful and whole.  Yes, a few had small hairline cracks which I repaired but all in all, they looked wonderful.  They have the look of the finished piece shimmering in them.  They are hope. Or what I hope they will look like when they are finished.  But, they are not finished, yet.
I had to glaze each piece.   Then load each one into the kiln and fire them again at a much higher setting.  Turn the kiln from low to medium to high.  Inside, the clay and heat and glaze must do their work.  The glaze has to melt right into a smooth clear finish.  The clay has to move all its molecules together to form the solid porcelain piece.

All I can do is wait.  (Yoga pose:  Shavasana...I lie awake with hands and feet and body at rest...breathing in and out.)
I won't know for two days if the pieces reached completion because I have to let the inside temperature of the kiln lower from 2,260 degrees farenheit to the outside temperature of my garage 36 degrees.  Opening any sooner could cause the pieces to crack and be ruined.
Patience and confidence.  (Yoga pose:  Dancer's pose...breathing in and out)  
Firing is a lot like yoga.    Strength, stretching, tension and release are all necessary.  But especially balance.  Balance in loading the kiln shelves, positioning the pieces, timing the temperature changes and, most of  all, in myself.
Balance is essential in body, mind, spirit, fire and clay.  

(Yoga pose:  Salute to the sun...hands to heart center...namaste)

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