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BS: kilns

John Hardly 27 Jul 07 - 06:04 PM
Sorcha 27 Jul 07 - 06:44 PM
Ebbie 27 Jul 07 - 08:48 PM
Rapparee 27 Jul 07 - 08:53 PM
JohnInKansas 28 Jul 07 - 04:13 AM
John Hardly 28 Jul 07 - 08:51 AM
katlaughing 28 Jul 07 - 10:04 AM
HouseCat 28 Jul 07 - 10:23 AM
Rapparee 28 Jul 07 - 10:59 AM
John Hardly 28 Jul 07 - 11:09 AM
Rapparee 28 Jul 07 - 10:35 PM
Red and White Rabbit 29 Jul 07 - 03:56 AM
Naemanson 29 Jul 07 - 06:41 AM
Bee 29 Jul 07 - 12:34 PM
Sorcha 29 Jul 07 - 05:28 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 29 Jul 07 - 07:21 PM
Micca 30 Jul 07 - 07:22 AM
Micca 30 Jul 07 - 07:35 AM
Rapparee 30 Jul 07 - 09:07 AM
Bee 30 Jul 07 - 09:31 AM
John Hardly 30 Jul 07 - 10:01 AM
Micca 30 Jul 07 - 10:10 AM
Arne 30 Jul 07 - 09:53 PM
katlaughing 30 Jul 07 - 11:23 PM
Stilly River Sage 31 Jul 07 - 09:32 PM
John Hardly 25 Aug 08 - 03:08 PM
maeve 25 Aug 08 - 04:54 PM
Bee 25 Aug 08 - 11:40 PM
katlaughing 26 Aug 08 - 12:42 AM
CarolC 26 Aug 08 - 02:37 AM
semi-submersible 26 Aug 08 - 07:34 AM
open mike 26 Aug 08 - 10:14 AM
CarolC 26 Aug 08 - 10:18 AM
John Hardly 20 Feb 09 - 04:37 PM
katlaughing 20 Feb 09 - 07:39 PM
gnu 06 Sep 11 - 09:00 PM
Stilly River Sage 07 Sep 11 - 12:02 PM
GUEST,Bluesman 07 Sep 11 - 12:36 PM
Tig 07 Sep 11 - 02:38 PM
Stilly River Sage 07 Sep 11 - 02:53 PM

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Subject: BS: kilns
From: John Hardly
Date: 27 Jul 07 - 06:04 PM

Kilns? ...they're just tools.

Yeah, right.

The potters I know seem to be divided into two camps:

Temporarily deleted at John's request. To be reposted, later. 21 July 2008 el joe clone


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: Sorcha
Date: 27 Jul 07 - 06:44 PM

So, you are saying that kilns have 'souls' just like instruments? I think I kinda sorta believe that too. I adore hand made/fired pottery, I just can't afford much of it. Raku is my favorite.

Could dinner ware be done in raku? I rather doubt it.......


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: Ebbie
Date: 27 Jul 07 - 08:48 PM

John Hardly, that's beautiful prose. Thank you.


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: Rapparee
Date: 27 Jul 07 - 08:53 PM

Make greenware. Dry it in the sun. Spray it with plastic spray so that it will hold liquids.

(Actually, when I did pottery way back when I loved the kiln, the wedging, the whole bit.)


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 28 Jul 07 - 04:13 AM

Gosh that is an amazing bit of prose, but all my friends who participate in firings are into wood-fired burns out in the woods. It seems to take about a week to build, stoke, fire, feed, and cool down, so they have semi-annual (rarely quarterly?) firing parties.

But you knew I have some strange friends.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: John Hardly
Date: 28 Jul 07 - 08:51 AM

Sorcha, Raku is low-fired and still porous. Given the right glaze you could use it -- I know a few functional raku potters -- the best, a guy down in FL named Ken Jenson.

Rapaire, we call those "room temperature glazes".

John, There's a few well-known wood kilns in my area. Probably the best-know is the ceramics professor at Notre Dame -- Bill Kremer's huge kiln. I attended a firing there last Spring.

And down in Thorntown there are two brothers -- Jeff and Tom Unzinger -- who are making some of the finest wood-fired pottery in the country today.

It is a LOT of work.


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: katlaughing
Date: 28 Jul 07 - 10:04 AM

Beautiful writing, John, thanks so much. I love the alchemy of it all. When we did bronze-casting, esp. when we poured molten metals into our casts it was magical! So, too, the small kiln firings we did in enamelling. No, I have not fired up the kiln I was given, yet. I have nowhere to do so but in the house and it's been way too hot for that! This fall I hope to try it out.


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: HouseCat
Date: 28 Jul 07 - 10:23 AM

"It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance...and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process."
Henry James

Beautiful, John Hardly. You made me cry.

HC


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: Rapparee
Date: 28 Jul 07 - 10:59 AM

You could also just play a welding torch over it. That way you could have some spots more "kilned" than others.

Or collect a lot of dried cow chips and...well, you can take it from there. If you can't, check out a chick named Maria Martinez.


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: John Hardly
Date: 28 Jul 07 - 11:09 AM

That chick was nothing short of amazing. Folks are still trying to imitate her take on that tradition.

thanks for the kind words, HouseCat, Ebbie, and kat.


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: Rapparee
Date: 28 Jul 07 - 10:35 PM

We have a small pot done in the San Ildofonso manner (not a Maria, but a VERY nice piece). Years back someone poured it full of wax and turned it into a candle. I'd love to get the wax out and turn it back into a pot -- got any suggestions?

And John -- I thought the piece was wonderful, and yes, I CAN relate to it.


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: Red and White Rabbit
Date: 29 Jul 07 - 03:56 AM

I used to fire a small wood kiln in my back garden - great parties!!

got some interesting results - just fired greenware - no glaze and let the fire do the work - occassionally if we could get some real heat going we threw in some sand - most interesting was when someone suggested using a cooker hob rack to replace a broken kiln shelf - all the enamel made beautiful patterns on the pots - not what I'd been expecting but I go with the kiln as an unpredictable friend rather than a tool thoughts - never really thought about it until now


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: Naemanson
Date: 29 Jul 07 - 06:41 AM

I have a friend back in Maine who is a potter. He lives as much off the land as he possibly can. He built his home largely from parts of building he tore down. He lives off the grid, taking power from the sun and heat from wood and the sun. And his kiln is heated using wood he cuts on his property.

I've only seen it once but I know it's big. He said it takes the better part of four cords of firewood to work through the stuff he has inside. I have always respected him.


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: Bee
Date: 29 Jul 07 - 12:34 PM

John Hardly, that was beautiful, and made me think. I fire glass in an electric kiln. Glass painting needs flash firing at 1050 to 1300 F, so success or disaster happens in usually twenty minutes, during which time you sit close to the (usually electric)kiln and gasp at every little cracking sound. The cooling process is just as fraught, and takes about four hours. Your relationship with your kiln sounds much better. I've known many potters over the years, and am always amazed at the expressiveness of clay and glaze. Some of the pottery I own are pieces that came from the hands of friends passed on. I hold them and it is as if they are still here.


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: Sorcha
Date: 29 Jul 07 - 05:28 PM

Rap, I have several 'ideas' but don't know if any of them would destroy the pot.
1)Set pot in the sun, let sun melt the wax, then pour out and carefully scrape the last bits out. Put pot under HOT running tap water to get the last of it out that you can. These pots are unglazed on the inside so you'll never get it all out.

You'll probably have to set it out in the sun to let it dry well too.

2) In lieu of sunshine, microwave on low power? Or, just put under HOT running tap water. That is what we used to do with the glass votive candle holders at the church. Make sure you rinse the sink well with HOT water and soap tho.


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 29 Jul 07 - 07:21 PM

My kilns are just tools, but I use an entirely different firing technique from John. John fires at Cone 10 (roughly 2300ºF), in a gas-fired kiln, in a reduction atmosphere. I fire at Cone 6 (roughly 2200ºF), in electric kilns, in an oxidation atmosphere. Reduction firing requires hands-on work in the form of adjusting the kiln's dampers during the latter stages of the firing to slightly starve the flame for oxygen. Oxidation firing is pretty much a hands-free operation. You just turn the kiln on and, usually, a shut-off device of some sort turns the kiln off when the desired temperature is reached. The firing process itself is about as romantic and dynamic as baking macaroni and cheese.

I do have an almost complete four-foot by four-foot catenary arch kiln intended for wood-firing. I built it to its current point of completion from free recycled firebrick salvaged from a demolition job at a steel plant. Someday I'll buy the brick to finish the job, but it's not a high priority at this point. Firing it would be more of an experimental fun project than a serious attempt to create saleable pots. Right now, it makes a great place to keep my lawnmower.


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: Micca
Date: 30 Jul 07 - 07:22 AM

" They said he threw a good pot
they said he had a style
snd so I went to see him
and watch him throw a while
and there he was that young man
Spinning pots so fine
shaping the clay with his fingers
Moulding the shape with his thumbs

kiln me softly with his fire
kiln me softly with his fire"


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: Micca
Date: 30 Jul 07 - 07:35 AM

Please forgive me for the above, my only excuse is I am having a bad attack of the "silles" This morning,
I had responsibility for the art Pottery kiln area and the Tech support for it at the University I worked for and it was always more than just another tool to the potters, it was always, as John said, a mystical experience and treated almost as a "religious" experience with its rituals of loading and unloading etc.
. I t was also my good fortune ,to be allowed to be present when a colleague at another place I worked let me attend while they did a Raku firing!! it was amazing!! ( I attended as a H&S observer, well thats my story and I'm sticking to it) and seems to be a very high risk process for the pots, as the "mortality rate" was higher than Kiln firing.


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: Rapparee
Date: 30 Jul 07 - 09:07 AM

The first fee my wife received for her legal work was a raku pot.


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: Bee
Date: 30 Jul 07 - 09:31 AM

Lest we get the idea that potters are all clay and no 'hey!', let me relate a romantic true story. I lived many years ago in a very small and very granola town, where communes, health food cafes, earth mothers, philosophical shaggy young men, and herbal healers abounded. The town boasted a small communal pottery, where anyone could go and make and fire earthenware pots, a great facility which many people used.

One day a tall and very handsome man arrived, a travelling potter from New Mexico. He was exotic, intensely charming, and very talented. He began making teapots of great beauty and subtle colour at the communal pottery; everyone wanted one. He also began romancing the local ladies, and he seemed to prefer the ones who were already partnered up. He played havoc among the ladies of the commune on the mountain, made more than herbal tea with the healer's wife, swept the potters off their feet. No accurate count was ever made of his dalliances, but by the time several months had passed, there were such rumblings among the menfolk that some feared the local brand of pacifism was about to collapse in a whirlwind of shotgun purchases.

In the very nick of time, he packed his tools and left town for parts unknown - possibly Oregon, it was rumoured. All that remained were his teapots. A short time after he left, the first teapot broke... and then another... and another. It was impossible to keep one intact. Every single one was underfired, and would crack and crumble under the slightest strain. The earth mothers mourned. The satisfaction of the shaggy young men was evident to all. The New Mexico potter was never seen or heard from again.

Wasn't you, was it, John Hardly? ;-D


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: John Hardly
Date: 30 Jul 07 - 10:01 AM

"Wasn't you, was it, John Hardly? ;-D"


No. My teapot is sufficiently fired, even if my spout is very tiny.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Micca,

No need to apologize for the dreadful punnery. I laughed out loud, and I may steal it and sing it at the next potter workshop I attend!


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: Micca
Date: 30 Jul 07 - 10:10 AM

John, You are welcome to it!!


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: Arne
Date: 30 Jul 07 - 09:53 PM

My BIL is currently doing pottery with horsehair for glazing.

Low temp firings, AFAIK, and thus not good for table pottery, but if you want to immortalize your steed (or kitty, or whatever). And you wouldn't want to subject such an heirloom to everyday abuse anyway.

See for examples.

He only does his gas firings during the day; he's afraid the neighbours would call the FD if they saw the flames shooting out of a box outside his house at night....

Cheers,


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: katlaughing
Date: 30 Jul 07 - 11:23 PM

Arne, those are beautiful!! Wish we had some hair from my daughter's now-deceased horse. That would be a wonderful memento for her.

Micca, loved it!

Bee, made me laugh and shake my head. Not a small granola town, but i knew a couple of men like that potter in my younger years! If they'd made teapots, I am sure they would have broken, too. Thanks for telling us.


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 31 Jul 07 - 09:32 PM

Years back someone poured it full of wax and turned it into a candle. I'd love to get the wax out and turn it back into a pot -- got any suggestions?

You mean after you murder the person who poured wax into it?

I suppose you will have to burn the candle to get the wax out. Geez.

I was sitting up late on christmas eve waiting for my ex to bring the kids back after opening gifts with him, not willing to do the Santa bit until they'd gone to bed. I was watching eBay and got a deeply carved Santa Clara pot for a song (the original list price - which was about 1/5 what they usually end at).

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: John Hardly
Date: 25 Aug 08 - 03:08 PM

original post ended up here


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: maeve
Date: 25 Aug 08 - 04:54 PM

Congratulations, John. What a lovely piece of writing, and how appropriate and gracious for you to post news of its rebirth back here.

Thank you.


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: Bee
Date: 25 Aug 08 - 11:40 PM

Very nice, John.

Some lovely galleries on that site, as well.


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Aug 08 - 12:42 AM

Ah, that looks great, John. Congrats!

I just sold that Paragon kiln I got a few years ago. I never did use it; it was too big for what I want to do and our house is too small. Of course, it's nothing compared to your own pottery kiln! I love the photo of it, esp. with the ridge cut on top. What a beautiful way to honour the traditions.

Well done!


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: CarolC
Date: 26 Aug 08 - 02:37 AM

I've been wondering how the need to reduce carbon emissions is going to effect the way potters fire their pottery, whether or not any new technologies are being developed to create a more environmentally friendly way to fire pots, and how such technologies, if they do get developed, would affect the way potters experiencing the firing process.

After looking around, I found some references to people using biodiesel fuel, and in Japan, they're experimenting with fuel cell technology in kilns at the industrial level. I imagine that, over time, kilns are going to change so much (out of necessity), that the whole culture and experience of making pottery is going to be very different for future generations than the way it's experienced today.


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: semi-submersible
Date: 26 Aug 08 - 07:34 AM

Traditional pottery doesn't have to change. It's how much we use, not technique or technology that does the harm. If energy input is spread over years of use, the energy to produce and transport pottery will probably look pretty small compared to travel, home heating/cooling, and food energy costs. (Of course, wood firing is carbon-neutral as long as the wood is continuously regrowing.)

If, however, our demand for new souvenir mugs and building tiles grows without bounds, we will deforest or deplete or raise the price of food this way too. We need to recognise our energy budget and live within it.

Line an obsolete satellite dish with shiny potato chip bags and turn it to the sun for a few hours, and you could probably fire one item at a time with solar heat alone. It's less convenient than fossil fuel and in case of clouds, even less controlled than traditional burns, but you can't beat the price.


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: open mike
Date: 26 Aug 08 - 10:14 AM

heat can be generated in many different ways...
i have seen steam boats powered by propane, diesel, wood, gasoline and
even pine cones..

wax melts at 132 degrees f.

it is often used as a therapy
for applying heat to injuries,
joints, etc. also as a depilatory.

and in batik is removed by ironing..

parafin is a petrleum product.
bees wax has different qualities.


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: CarolC
Date: 26 Aug 08 - 10:18 AM

I have a solar kiln that I use for drying wood, but that doesn't need to get anywhere near as hot as a pottery kiln does.


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: John Hardly
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 04:37 PM

Youtube take on pottery


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: katlaughing
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 07:39 PM

LMAO...that's cute, John, thanks!


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: gnu
Date: 06 Sep 11 - 09:00 PM

Another probe? Someone testing Mudcat entry/security? That's at least three in a few days.


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 07 Sep 11 - 12:02 PM

It is a chance to revisit a great old thread - the link to John's final article is kaput - needs to be found in the new web site, apparently.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: GUEST,Bluesman
Date: 07 Sep 11 - 12:36 PM

Built my own years ago. China brick lined and oil fired. It worked great.


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: Tig
Date: 07 Sep 11 - 02:38 PM

Not having the space for a pottery kiln I've just treated myself to a new sort of experimentation called a HotPot.

You put it in your microwave, the interior is specially lined to reach over 1000 deg. It is used for glass fusing and the pieces which come out are never the same! I'm mainly using it for making jewellery - but you never know.


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Subject: RE: BS: kilns
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 07 Sep 11 - 02:53 PM

Here's a link to an article about him in that journal. Here's a blog entry. I don't see the original essay. Darn. I remember reading it also, and it was wonderful.

SRS


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