2nd mug test before (above).
after . . . some good stuff, some not so good stuff. I had a few more successes with this firing. A couple of real bombs, but there are a few pots that I would actually sell without too much embarrassment. I also fired a piece of my test clay. Here I'll post a photo of this, it's kind of wierd. The fired test and the raw clay are almost exactly the same color. I don't think I've ever really seen that. At least I haven't, maybe I'm sheltered. The nice thing is that it is really vitrified. Hard, has a nice ting and a slight sheen. Next I'm going to throw a couple of little test pots from the lump and see what some of my glazes look like on it. I'm researching on how to make my own clay from slip and dry it in frames. I've only used a mixer in school, which I don't want to do again even if I had a free mixer. I hated it. If anyone has any advice on things they've learned about the slurry proccess or building frames, how powerful the drill needs to be or whatever, any help would be greatly appreciated. I did read at St. Earth Pottery site about re-inforcing the frames under the fabric with wire mesh which I thought was brilliant.
During my first test firing the other night, Friday I think, I was lying in bed and I head this strange sound. I would have just chalked it up to the cats but since my grandson was over I got up to check just to be sure there were no boogey men lurking about. Fortunately Adam was deep in sleep and so he was safe. While I'm in the living room I hear the sound again and now I can tell it's coming from the basement and I then knew what it probably was.
I had tried to raw fire a piece, but the piece itself was really still somewhat (okay very) much in the leatherhard stage, and when I opened the lid of the kiln, which was at 600 degrees by this point, There was the cup standing perfectly, except for the bottom which had blown itself into a million fragments, some landing in the bowls of the cups on the same shelf. I really didn't want to stop the firing and if it had been much hotter I probably would have had to, but instead I threw common sense to the wind and pulled the pieces out, dumping the broken fragments from them, pulled the shelves out and dumped those clean and assessed that the bottom layer was fine. There didn't seem to be a bunch of pieces logded into the element channels so I loaded back up and continued on, the kiln chugging away the entire time. This was a little hot as you can imagine and so I had to handle things quickly and set them down before the smoke rising from my gloves turned into intense heat burning my hands. Obviously I would not have done this with a full sized kiln. That would be a wee bit silly.