Back from two good days at Lismore where Kieran, Marcus and I finished off the structure of the Glencairn Noborigama. The door of the second chamber will be constructed of HTI blocks ( 4 bricks cemented together). Some cosmetic tweaking now with insulation and it’s a ‘go’. A May firing is penciled in and now it’s down to some serious making. It’s going to take a lot of work to fill this baby. I hope to make a small contribution. Happy days.
At last Spring has come to the Barrow valley. Blue skies and sunshine. Pots are drying at a more normal rate. The nights are still very cold so the woodstove is still my saviour. The peacock butterfly warming itself on the brick is optimistic in it’s early arrival. I wish it well.
I’ve been getting in a new batch of timber fresh from the sawmill. It will take all summer to dry it off. I finish off the drying in a small glasshouse. I will not use wood unless it is really dry. I will know by the weight and sound of it when it is ready. Firing my small kiln on good wood is a leisurely 8 hour task. My mind has been playing with the thought of a firing soon but in keeping with my new SLOW strategy I’m in no hurry. Let the anticipation build.
I‘ve been busy making making mugs and also working on cheese/butter dishes. Endless rain for weeks and it’s impossible to dry work. The more I make the wetter the rest gets. All I need is a few days of good drying when I can open the doors/windows and ventilate the workshop. This underlines how the weather can sometimes dictate the rhythm of our work. I sometimes fantasize about potting in Spain but I guess that could be even more problematic. Pots love slow drying. It gives everything time to adjust so you don’t have additions such as handles drying before the pots themselves. Overall I shouldn’t complain. After all as I’ve explained in earlier posts I’m teaching myself to slow down. Slow is good.
I also glazed some stoneware teabowls and packed them for my next visit to Glencairn.
I used a well tried shino (classic Japanese feldspathic glaze) and a standard ash glaze on the interiors. The outsides have been brushed with a combination of slips and shinos. My woodstove produces lots of ash. Wood ash can be a major constituent of ceramic glazes since it is made up of silica (glass former) and fluxes such as potassium and lime. It is believed that the earliest glazes came from wood ash. The Han pot above pot is glazed with a dusting of wood ash while the pots was still wet. Advances in kiln design meant that potters could reach temperatures high enough to melt the ash to form a glaze.