I've never tried blogging, but I like to make pots and I like to talk about making pots. I have a few friends that like to hear about me and my adventures in pottery (or they pretend to anyway). Since this site is about my pots, I'm going to try to make good use of it!
For my first post I'll just give you some idea of where I make my work. Making pottery takes certain kinds of equipment and materials, equipment that you can't just shove under a bed or throw in the corner of a spare room. Luckily I met and married a man willing to share piece of his 3 car garage with me! (He also works on my car, I'm a very lucky woman <3 <3 ) I invested in a good wheel some years back, I think this was around 2006 or so, and found some shelves I could use for storing and drying. I made myself a ware board that sits nicely on top of the splash pan for wedging and hand building (there's a picture of it under the post), and my home studio was born.
For a year or so I carefully packed up my bone dry pots and carted them over to the Desert Dragon Pottery Studio for bisque firing, but that quickly became tiresome. Bone dry pots do not travel well! Luckily my Dad came across an old used electric kiln for sale back in Indiana, and he was able to get it back into working condition. A friend was able to drive it out to Arizona for me (thanks Jamie!), and voila, I had a working electric kiln. Nothing fancy, no automatic controls and the timer doesn't even work. But it's nice and large and I still use it to bisque.
At the Desert Dragon Pottery Studio there is a Gas Kiln we use for reduction firing (there's also a picture of that under the post). Reduction means we reduce the amount of oxygen in the kiln at a certain point so that the fire in the kiln interacts with the materials that make up the pot. Also at the Dragon is a nicely stocked studio for mixing glazes and glazing pots. Once bisque fired, I take the majority of my work to the Dragon where I glaze it and it is fired in reduction in the gas kiln to cone 10 (around 2350 degrees fahrenheit). I help out some at the Dragon as well, mixing glazes, loading, and occasionally firing, the gas kiln. These activities can be a chore, but they are invaluable because I get to really learn about and participate in every step of this creative process.
Last winter I bought a smaller electric kiln, with the hopes of dipping my toe into the world of cone 6 oxidation firing. Why? Well, reduction firing can be a bit of a roller coaster ride. It's a bit inconsistent at times, there are some elements involved that are tough to control (fire, oxygen). The results can be gorgeous, but sometimes....not so much. I was interested in making some simpler pots with some basic transparent glazes. Pots that are simple, and yet more about the form than the glaze. Cone 6 Oxidation firing seems pretty well suited to this. Plus it's a new challenge to test and find some glazes I like, to really learn to glaze fire in an electric kiln (I'm told it's easy, but nothing in ceramics is easy), and to figure out what kinds of forms work best with this finish. I will likely be blogging about my adventures in cone 6 Oxidation firing in the future. But cone 10 reduction is still my first and foremost firing love.
If you want to learn more about the Desert Dragon Pottery Studio, here's the link to their website - it's a fabulous place to take a class! http://desertdragonpottery.com