Sunday, November 27, 2011

November 21st-27th

Of course Thanksgiving took a big chunk of time out of the week, but it was easier this year since we went to my Brother's for dinner instead of hosing it here. It was a small, but relaxed group. We visited, ate, played games, and walked. We had our grandkids for the day too because their parents were sick. What fun!

I didn't teach my classes this week. On Tuesday I did a bisque firing and unloaded on Wednesday before we left home. Friday I spent the whole day mixing glaze. It's kind of like following an extra large recipe for cookies, except that I use a gram scale instead of measuring cups. My ingredients have to be carefully measured, then water added and put through a fine-grain screen so the glaze is smooth. It's a tedious process. And I wear a mask when I do it because the fine particles are not good to breathe and can actually cause "Potters Lung" (Silicosis) or Miner's Lung. After mixing the glaze I hand decorate my ware before dipping them in and/or pouring glaze. I had the kiln loaded for a glaze fire by 4:00.  Then I came up to the house and we had another Thanksgiving dinner with our children and grandkids.

My kiln took an extra long time to reach temperature. I think I need to replace some elements. I fire to cone 7 which is about 2300 degrees. I use an electric kiln which has more control than natural fuel, but not as many options. I have to look through an eye hole into the hot kiln to see the cones. When the kiln reaches temperature they drop. Typically potters use at least three cones, the guide cone drops first, letting you know that soon the firing cone will drop. Lastly there is usually a cone to show you if the kiln is getting too hot.

bottom of kiln

      I had forgotten to take a picture until I had already unloaded the top shelf. You can see some of the designs on my pottery. The dragon flies are made with two glazes. First I dipped the green and then did a simple wax-resist design, then poured the second color. I also do leaves like that. The other more complicated pattern is done with wax and under-stains before the bisque fire. I love to design my pottery. 

Table of pottery after I unloaded the kiln. The jars in front are the new French butter dishes I've been making. I'll be taking my pottery down to SLC in the morning to be part of the Finch Lane Gallery for the next few weeks. I hope it's worthwhile. It's always a fun show. 

Finally, here's a picture of Big Kitty. I love to let him in the house after a days work and let him sit on my lap and purr while I watch TV or read. Last time we weighed him he weighed 25 pounds. About 8 years ago, I was at a Christmas party and the hosts had a half-grown kitten. He was so sweet that I carried him around all night. I love cats. A few days later the girls who owned the kitten brought him over and gave him to me as a Christmas present. I think it was sympathy as both of our children were grown and out of the house. I consider that small gesture one of the blessings in my life.
Big Big Kitty (Mouse)  

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