Friday, 29 March 2013

Day 4 at Red Lodge

It is Thursday of my first week at Red Lodge, and I have a small quantity of work to show for the first four days work: pinching is slow, although the process is speeded up by the very dry air of Montana, and the underfloor heating in the studio.
Today I have begun decorating the first 25 pinched bowls. I have made terra siggilata (75 parts Helmers and 25 parts Grolleg) which I coat the bowls with before decorating them. the terra siggilata ensures color and flashing in the wood-fire, and is a sort of insurance against a too insipid porcelain look. it also provides a soft, shiny surface to decorate, which is more inspiring than the powdery white dry porcelain surface. There is also a play between the terra sig coated surface, and the areas scraped free where the porcelain body is revealed. The lines and spots and stripes are highlighted with black mason stain.
I have also built a tall (20 inches) flattened jar with a small neck. I am keeping it well wrapped up for some days and will allow it to dry very very slowly, to avoid cracking. I have also made some round egg-like pots.
Everything I have made so far is porcelain - Babu porcelain from Laguna Clays. Another type of porcelain is on order for me.
My principal firing will be around the 18 /19/20 April, but before then I will be able to have work in several firings of the same kiln - most likely with salt. particularly for the bigger pieces it will be an advantage to be able to re-fire them and build up more of an ashy surface.

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