My first two glaze firings since 2020 produced some great, and less than great, results, with the problems resulting from some uninspired throwing and continued serious issues with one of my two key glazes.
The firings took place the first weeks of both August and September and were, once again, in Jennifer Dinklemeyer’s gas kiln in Alexandria, Virginia. The two kiln loads were populated with pots thrown in my new Gainesville Studio, from October 2022 to July of this year. They consisted of 14 lidded jars, about 80 mugs of three different styles, and 8 bowls. A dozen of the mugs and three of the jars were the first results of my recent attempts to bring faceted forms into my family of forms.
My new Suburu Forester, purchased with just such glaze firing safaris in mind, proved perfect for the task, comfortably accommodating me, 11 small Home Depot moving boxes, 8, two gallon buckets of glaze and enough clothes and sundries to last both weeks in Alexandria, one in Washington, DC, one in Manhattan and one in Montreal. The latter three cities were for play, not pottery.
Jennifer’s Bailey kiln underwent a fine-tuning overhaul since I last fired in it, and it performed as well as ever for both firings. The August event was the best of the two, mainly because it involved two flawless glazes, Lafeans turquoise and tea dust tenmoku. The torquoise was spectacular on five cap lids jars, while the temmoku was as dependably dynamic as ever on the bowls and several dozen white stoneware mugs, although a fair number of the mugs would have benefited from more trimming. Six more turquoise jars in the second firing were equally nice, but most everything else was compromised in some way: 45 small, squared mugs marred by a continued problematic Woo Blue glaze, and Blue-Black-glazed faceted jars and mugs suffering from over-reduction, due to poor placement in the kiln on my part.
The continued issues with Woo Blue was the most disappointing aspect of the experience, as it continued issues encountered all the way back to 2019. Thinking a different formulation of rutile — light vs dark — was the issue, I mixed a new batch of the glaze with the former, only to have it turn out a completely bizarre opaque olive green! Back to the drawing board. While these mugs cannot be corrected, the Blue-Black pieces may come to life with re-oxidation in my electric kiln.
Counterbalancing the Woo Blue issue was my successful exploiting of a serendipitous discovery made in 2020: that multi layering Lafeans turquoise might produce some lovely results, particularly on cap lid jars, which I’ve accentuated with more bulbous shoulders and more curvilinear bases.
Most of the pots from these firings will be for sale in my next sale the first weekend of December.