Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Probably the sixth salt firing...

We can't remember exactly,but we're calling the next one the seventh.Loaded and fired it yesterday,starting the fire at three thirty,finished by midnight,cone 10's down all over the place,twelve kilos of salt,and a pyrometer that functioned throughout.It wasn't at all accurate,reading 1136 at the peak instead of 1280-ish,but one cannot have everything.Rings were a bit dismal,apart from the last one-but I suppose that's the way it's meant to be.We both used SM white stoneware,on a whim,which didn't turn out as great as we had hoped- but the firing was good,and we both got reasonable pots from it.By making smaller pots [and more cylindrical] we managed to get 70 pieces in this firing,as opposed to 26 in the first couple.We want to test some new kiln-casting mixtures with only-recently-available alumina-calcium high-temp cement,supposed to resist salt better than Portland [regular] cement.Sydney,who is a terror for these things,also came back from Haifa today with a sack of alumina bubbles for added exotic insulation.
I was in Tel Hai in the morning together with Gunmarit and Mirvat,who is starting a project on Memory- we watched videos of the Hebron potters and of Isaac Button,the last of the country potters in Yorkshire,performing feats of ceramic skill with great noncholance while smoking a pipe.Sliced up some logs for the anagama with the new[ish] [and supposedly very butch] sabre-saw,until it spat out various metal parts and ceased functioning.Meanwhile,a new small electric kiln has appeared in the studio,complete with programable controller,and I have already done two quite promising firings of crystal-glaze pieces in it,of which pictures may appear shortly.
A friend informs me that we shall be able to see the eclipse of the sun on March 29th from Israel.Be prepared!


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