I love clay. The smoothness, strength, flexibility, shaping, and painting. I love how it takes texture. Whether I throw it or roll it, I love how it feels. It takes textures of all kinds: leaves, twigs, lace, handprints, footprints, words and more. I can paint on it like a canvas or draw on it like paper or scratch out designs.
And I love holding it in my hands through the entire process bringing it to life. Running my fingers over it time and time again to smooth edges and add handles and trim sweet little feet.
I don’t love firing.
I have, over time, made my peace with bisque firing. I used to agonize over it. I worried that my green ware would blow up into tiny pieces. Not only would I lose one piece but, perhaps, others might be shattered just by being in close contact. All it takes is an unknown bubble to cause such destruction.
But I know this necessary step will give me the opportunity to add more color, texture or meaning to the pieces. And I love that part of the process, too. And after many years of bisque firings under my belt, I see opportunity.
Glazing and waiting.
Once I’ve added all my color and my piece is bisque fired, there are only two steps left: glazing and firing. I hate both.
Mixing and dipping each piece in clear glaze seems really simple. It is and it isn’t. This time around I bought 2 new gallons of clear glaze. It did not look or feel like my old clear glaze even though it was the same brand. It mixed up differently. It covered differently. It dried on the pieces ok, but I am still worried. Why? Because this, is it.
All I can do now is load my kiln. Turn it on. Turn it up every 2 hours from low to medium to high.
All the pieces that I’ve loved to throw, roll, trim, shape, paint and texture are in there baking at 2,200 degrees.
And wait. Until the kiln turns itself off after reaching it’s required temperature.
And wait. Until the inside kiln temp is as cool as the outside temperature to unload the kiln.
Will the glaze look wonderful? Will my colors and textures and sweet little feet survive?
Will I love each piece? I hope so. But right now, all I can do is wait.