Friday, September 6, 2019

All Fired Up

On my studio shelves, they sat. Almost 2 dozen new pieces, all painted, all bisque fired twice, waiting for me to be home and be ready to finally finish them. 

This week, I spent one day waxing. If you work in clay, you know why I wax. But if you don’t, I’ll explain. Waxing the bottoms of each piece is a necessary step to resist the glaze and keep the piece from being glazed to the kiln shelves. If that happens, there is no way to go back and the piece as well as the kiln shelf is ruined. 

So you can see, waxing is a very important part of the process. And since I make a wide variety of different shapes and sizes both wheel thrown and slab built, some with lids, each piece needs a different application of wax. It’s a bit tedious. And boring. But care is necessary because if I get wax where I want glaze, well that can ruin a piece too. 

Dipping is fun. 

I have a wonderful new glazing cart in my studio. It makes set up and mixing and applying the glaze to my pieces so much easier. 

It’s still a process, though. And each time I glaze, it’s a little different. New challenges pop up. This time, it was some sediment that needed to be strained from the top. So I borrowed a strainer from my kitchen to filter it out of the glaze. Note to self: I’ll need a new kitchen strainer. 

As I dipped in time with the music, wiped drips and set each piece down I was once again amazed and grateful. Even though waxing is boring, glazing is technical, and finding enough space for each piece to dry is a challenge, I still love what I do. 

A firing that’s fun. 

Today, I loaded the kiln. Fitting each piece around each other within the shelf space inside my kiln is always a lesson in organization and patience. 

I always worry I won’t have enough room for everything. Or I’ll run out of kiln shelves to put all the pieces on. Or I’ll drop something. My studio and kiln are in two different areas. So I have to put the pieces on a tray and carry them out to the kiln in multiple trips without tripping going up and down the stairs.

Magically none of this ever happens. It all fits. It all makes it inside in one piece. I always seem to have just enough kiln shelves and stilts to make it all work. 

And now, my work is over, really. The kiln is on the job. All I can do is sit with my timer and turn up the kiln when it rings. And wait with fingers crossed that this firing will create some new exciting pieces. 

I can’t wait. 

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