Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Hmmm...... has to be my least favourite job.  

Everything that doesnt make it to the kiln, (breakages, cracked pots, and disasters) get broken up and dried in large margarine containers.  When the clay's dry, I add water to cover it, and then let it soak for a day or two.  Then I tip off the excess water on top and leave the rest to evaporate away a bit more.   When its the thickness of porridge I spread it over a slab of plaster of paris or a mould  and let it draw more moisture out of the clay.  Then its ready for LOTS of wedging to get an even consistancy and get rid of any air pockets there might be.    Finally its wrapped in gladwrap and labelled ready to use again.



Finally its wrapped in gladwrap and labelled ready to use again.

Its alot of extra work, but with the price of clay these days, there's no way it can be wasted.


Just did a load of pots last night (the final glaze firing).  Hopefully it'll be cool enough to open late tomorrow maybe.  The hardest part for me is the waiting for the kiln to cool......if its opened while its still too hot you can ruin your pots with the temperature shock.  Yes, I've been there and done that!!

If you have any comments please feel free to get in touch either on this blog, or by emailing me on howimakebonsaipots@gmail.com

Sunday, 13 January 2013




Time for a bisque firing!!



I had enough dry pieces to load up the kiln tonight.  Managed to get most of them in.  A bit of space is wasted in the kiln because I havent got enough shelves of the right size.  Cant afford to buy any more just yet, so I'm just making do with what I have.   Its a bit of a pain when I have several slabs to fire as I've had some cracking when I've stacked them on top of each other for bisque firing,  as some are quite heavy.





I've just made a slab about 56cm in length, as you can see it just barely fits in with not much room to spare.  I was keeping my fingers crossed it would shrink enough in the greenware stage to fit!



Just a wee view of my drawer with all the kiln sitter cones and rods.  Alot of them  I will probably never use as they're low firing cones, but you never know when someone else might need them.  I fire my bisque to 05.  I have learnt to preheat and dry my pots for a couple of hours first to get rid of any moisture, and then set the kiln to fire for 8 hours on D setting, which is quite low.   It works out quite well.  Although I have been plagued by cracking both during bisque and glaze firing, and am still trying to work out what the problem is.  I suspect its one of several things. - drying too fast, cooling down to fast after firing (dont always get up in time to put the peep hole plug in), perhaps using too much water when I'm throwing the pots maybe?  

I've started using a new clay with alot more grog, so I'll keep my fingers crossed that the  cracking problem improves soon.                                                                                  



Here's a couple more pots that are almost dry enough to go in the kiln.  I put these inside in the wash house for a couple of weeks  so they would dry slowly.   The garage just gets too hot once the sun comes up and heats the steel.  Even with the new pots being covered they heat up too much and the drops of condensation fall of the inside of the plastic covering them and makes the drying quite uneven.

Anyway,  I'll post some pictures of the pots when they're taken out of the kiln, fingers crossed that theres no fatalities!

If you have any comments please feel free to get in touch either on this blog, or by emailing me on howimakebonsaipots@gmail.com