Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pit Firings

So i'm done with my pit firings. I did a total of six firings, but only got pieces out of 5 of them. Overall, I think it's more work than it's worth. Not that pit firings are bad techniques, I've seen a lot of good things in my research, I just didn't have access to the right equipment to make it work how I wanted it to. I was doing them at my grandparents' house in Texas where it was usually around 104-106 degrees from 11 am to about 6pm. Needless to say, shoveling wood into a hot pit was the last thing I wanted to do- even in the evening when it was "cool".
I found that I was at a loss for what to make. I felt like I was working in a vacuum, but it didn't matter because everything I made blew up because I was firing them green. The only things that made it were the bisque pieces i brought from home. The greenware made some great colors and gave the best surface results, but after several attempts, I gave up on it. I don't really like any of the shapes I have except for the two jars because I had to just grab any bisque I had laying around and pack it up.
I tried several different things to get some flashes on the pieces including sodium bicarbonate, copper wire, miracle grow, salt, sugar, rust, and copper spray-paint. Copper spray-paint's main ingredient is copper carbonate- so it obviously flashes well, and the salt does some cool stuff too. The sodium bicarbonate clumped up on the pot and became solid, so when you chip it off it takes part of the pot with it. I have no idea how i got some green in one of the bowls, or how i got the red inside one of the cups...
Let me know what you think!

1 comment:

Nate Nixdorf said...

So I'm getting a pretty negative vibe from your experience, which I hope isn't true. I know you're comparing your colors/results to pieces that you saw in a book, but there's a reason those pieces are in a book.... they are the best examples from experts that know what they're doing. I think they look great. If you leave them alone for a while and come back to them later, I think you'll find them to have some really nice subtle colors with some exciting highlights.
I too like the lidded pieces the most along with the last piece in the list. Although I do gravitate towards the little short and squat piece with black on the outside. Something about the proportions work nicely.
Anyway, I guess your next adventure will be to tackle the raku kiln. Chalk this one up as a learning experience, but a positive one. You did it by yourself, and you had a great outcome. What's not to love???