Thursday, September 22, 2005

Bowl,dinner-plate,slips,clear glaze

Celadon jug and small cups

Welcome back,red glaze!

Carbon-trap shino cups

Unglazed red clay bowls

Butter dish- cream glaze

Butter dishes

Porcelain bowls

Washing cups

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Cone bending

1240 degrees on the pyrometer,cone 7 half over at the top spyhole,a touch cooler on the bottom [about 1/4 cone,maybe 6-7 degrees]-more or less the way I [and the pots] like it.The previous kiln-fired Monday-came out well,despite a slightly less even firing:I think I have just learnt not to crash-cool the kiln,which I had been doing recently-and losing some reds as a result [I think] through reoxidation.It's very difficult to know exactly how the causal links flow in a firing,partly because one is understandably unwilling to take too many risks with a couple of weeks' worth of work to try to disentangle the parameters.Hearteningly,no-one else seems to know much more-a recent discussion in Ceramic Review [#215]on how to fire in reduction offers almost all possible alternatives-reducing only 'til 1150,oxidising at the end of the firing,or not.Take your pick.I have always reduced fairly strongly from a nominal 920 degrees until shutdown,and will henceforth and thereafter close the flues off sharpish,believing that this will promote reds until someone convinces me otherwise.
Looking around the studio,I see that I have another kiln's worth of pots to fire,but nothing to put at the bottom of the kiln,which tends to like only the clear glaze-usually over slipped stoneware.Some stoneware bowls I made for this very purpose got left out of the last bisc,and the only other bowls are porcelain.Maybe I could glaze the porcelain bowls in the clear glaze and lustre them for the next lustre kiln...or raw-glaze the stoneware...either way,I think that kiln #3 is going to happen sooner rather than later.
We're at 1251 now-both cone 8's down,cones 9 neck and neck leaning at 2 o'clock.It's half-past ten,so I should get to bed at some reasonable hour.Will try to post pictures tomorrow...

Friday, September 16, 2005

New Links

Please note two new links on the left-two people I have had the honour of knowing since they were rather small,both currently involved in making music in the U.S.
Shabbat is approaching (earlier,too-around 18:20 these days),so not much time to write.The wine,with Gilad's aid,is in its fermenting vessels,bubbling away merrily.A second bisc kiln is fired and unloaded,plates and lidded pots have been waxed,glaze buckets dragged out,all ready for glazing on Sunday,firings probably Monday and Tuesday.I only planned one glaze kiln,but there are too many new shapes,and I'm impatient to see how they all come out.Eliav is in Tel Aviv with friends and a cold;Gilad just called on his way back from chillin' by the Hatzbani with Yifat,and Benjamin phoned this morning from his new base in Chico,Ca (it's close to Paradise):it turns out that his boss's mother is a longtime customer of mine.Small world.Shabbat Shalom

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Collage/multiple images/fabric and wood.Fun with technology.

Shades of white- porcelain awaiting bisc

Friday, September 09, 2005


Finished the batch of cups an hour or so before Shabat (with numerous breaks from listening to the fifth Test against Australia on internet radio to watch same on satellite T.V.- we shall be praying for rain in South London).Gave the cups a good spraying before wrapping well-this being recommended standard proceedure for preventing handles from cracking while drying,especially critical with porcelain.Mind you,I have found in practice that porcelain handles are best dried reasonably rapidly in a warmish kiln.This doesn't make a lot of sense,but it works.

Porcelain cups

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Sydney picks grapes

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

We've been trodding on the wine-press ...(B.Marley)

Time to make wine

Not a huge haul this year.Last year was a bumper crop,almost twice as much,but the wine didn't come out so well (although still very drinkable),and an experimental kiddush wine batch came to grief.This year's picking (with Sydney,featured in the picture) and treading yielded one rather full bin,which promptly frothed over when covered and left for the night,resulting in moderate but manageable spilth this morning.Early readings reveal a potential 10-11% alcohol content,which seems promising,as does the early exuberant fermentation.The batch needs to sit for a week or so now,getting a daily stir,before siphoning off the wine into fermentation bottles-beautiful bulbous glass vessels with air-locks.Will it be drinkable by Succot,as prescribed in the (my) tradition? We shall see.
I have been having fun with porcelain the last few days- mainly facetted cups in a couple of sizes,also smallish facetted jugs:I need one for milk-frothing for the morning coffee (personal need being,I find,a compelling inspiration for design).Tomorrow I am expecting 15 hi-tech folk for a brief wheel workshop- I think I shall get them to work in porcelain,even though it will be their first time on the wheel- a somewhat iconoclastic move- otherwise (if I use stoneware with them) I shall have a fair bit of cleaning to do afterwards,and the studio is just getting that overall white splattering that seems inevitable when working with porcelain.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Tired but happy,the apprentice with her first two teapots...

Four butter-dishes on their way to the kiln

Summer's end

Not that it isn't still hot,and with lots more to come-but the signs are all there:the fantastic Jazz Festival in Eilat,always the last week in August;grapes indicating that they are ready for turning into wine (maybe this coming week),and Eliav (#3 son) back off to school (after an adventure-packed trip to the Sinai)for his final year.In addition,my apprentice is finishing up her 18-month stint in the studio in the most traditional of potters' ways- by making her first teapots (see above)-great excitement!Sales in the studio haven't been as good as last year,but still adequate;coming up to the New Year,the gallery shelves are comfortably stacked still,with a bisc kiln loaded (today) and another planned (mainly porcelain) in a week or so to provide stock for the Holiday season.This morning,starting to work in porcelain with a dozen-or-so medium-sized serving bowls (having swabbed the studio down in an attempt to preserve the porcelain's whiteness) I wedged up a mixed batch of the enigmatic Coleman porcelain with my Naaman stuff:this handles rather nicely on the wheel,combining the silkiness of the Naaman with the stability of the American clay.This could be a rather nice solution-mix a cheap but floppy clay with an expensive but rather tight one.We shall see how the kiln takes to the new mixture.
A most pleasant couple of couples has just left the studio with six mugs-a nice way to end the week,but they took up my remaining blogging time.Shabbat Shalom!