Friday, June 12, 2015

Slabs and Textured Bonsai Pots

 These came out of the bisque firing successfully, always a relief.  A lot of flat pieces like large platters etc are a bit more at risk of cracking as the bottom is in full contact with the kiln shelf, especially as there are no feet to raise it up slightly.  The air surrounding the sides of the pots cools them down a lot quicker than the part of the pot touching the kiln shelf.  It holds onto the heat more and cools down a lot more slowly.  The trouble comes when the sides are cooler than the bottom - with the whole expansion and contraction tug of war going on, this is when the cracking can sometimes occur.  I'm not into the whole chemistry/physics explaination of things, simple understandable language suits me fine!
This above slab shrunk to 47long x 28cm wide in the bisque firing
 All slabs were made of different clays, and all turned out differently in colour, texture and shrinkage.

Final completed size 46cm long by 27cm wide. 

This was oxided and had that beautiful rough texture.  I'm not sure if I'm putting in too many drainage holes, as I have had the odd comment that they use a lot of "gauze".  I'd rather put too many than not enough.  The tying in holes are also another method of drainage, especially if the bottom has warped slightly up during drying and firing (it sometimes does).

Gotta love that texture!
This slab was a surprise as it fired to a light terracotta colour, it was a mix of 3 different clays if I remember rightly.  The sandy surface will give the roots something to cling onto, rather than have it smooth as so many are. Bisqued size was 47 x 31cm wide, final size  after glaze firing was 45cm long by 30cm wide. 
Along with working on these slabs, which by the way are happily on their way up to the lovely climate of Auckland as we speak, I squeezed in a couple of other textured bonsai pots.
 The two brown ones are really nice, much nicer in person than the pic shows.  One has a shallow crackled texture and the other much rougher.  The bottom one is already sold but the other will make its way onto Trademe shortly. Nice light feminine style pots.

 This one was a bit of a surprise. I acquired a bucket of glaze that had been made up, but one of the ingredients we are guessing was labelled wrong and the resulting glaze was....well....(bl.... awful!)  Not one to see things wasted, I offered to take it home, perhaps thinking that if I fired it up high enough it might be nicer.  WRONG....looked even worse.  So being one that doesn't follow recipes, I added this and that, along with little bits of left over glaze.  This glaze couldn't be repeated anyway as it was in an unlabelled bucket with no ingredients listed.  I did a couple of tests and tried it out on a pot just to see.  All of the pot is a uniform colour until this bit on the front.....shame it didn't happed between the gap in the feet, it would have looked like it was done on purpose.
Would look nice with a golden totara in it.  The winter colour would match the goldeny yellow colour in the runs. (not sure if I worded that well, considering the colour!)

Opening the kiln after a glaze firing gives me more of a kick than opening presents at Xmas by a long shot, gotta love pottery.