Thursday, May 28, 2009

Another busy day in class

I got to John's early this morning to help load our second cone 6 reduction load. We loaded it to the top and started it up by 9 am. Yesterday we unintentionally deviated a bit from our planned firing schedule, so we really weren't sure how good the results would be. At first glance the tiles looked pretty good, but there was a chemistry lesson first before we could examine them further.
Below is my set from the first reduction firing, one base, ten color tests, three clay bodies.

Below, the set of tiles on the left are my favorite cone 6 oxidation glaze. A few are good. I really like the finish, a fatty matte, but most of the colors did not impress me.
Meanwhile, John was firing the oxidation load. I'm clueless when it comes to programming firing schedules. When John mentioned ramps, I immediately thought how clever I was to know that ramps are a mysterious root vegetable somewhat like an onion that folks find growing wild up here in the mountains. Then I realized that I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. My Evenheat has 4 on/off switches, a kiln sitter and a timer. Then John digressed into a discussion about how he does not trust his electric kiln and other firing horror stories. My pulse quickened and my stomach got a little tight since I had left the house this morning preheating a bisque.
Another student Lauren and I commandeered the reduction firing and went 100% by the book. She's very meticulous and we were relatively confident we were making changes at the right time. We'd make the change, report to John who would shrug and reassure us that it's all real. We followed the schedule and the kiln reached temperature and was shut off at 3:50. It's going to be interesting to compare Wednesday's tiles with Thursdays: identical tiles in 2 different firing schedules.
When we realized yesterday's screw-up, John appeared relaxed as he calmly told us, "That's bad. That's bad." Not the words you want to hear when you're looking for a controlled study. I'm hoping I'll keep my cool like that next weekend when I take the Bailey for its first cone 6 reduction spin.

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