Monday, November 30, 2009

The much anticipated apple green fired bowl

Amazing what one can do with a limited palette of glazes. Anxious to emulate the Granny smith apple green color, but not wanting to take the one hour plus trek to Baileys in Kingston, I decided to work with my meager collection of glazes. Relying mostly on a few underglazes, topped with thin coat of Seaweed green overglaze, I was very happy with the results. Now I’m inspired to make a series of iterations of these bowls and plan to explore the world of glazes with a limited palette and focus on the color wheel mixing primary colors to produce bold pots with secondary and complimentary colors.

I must travel to Baileys this week and pick up a few glaze colors to work with and am excited for the challenge. To proceed with this series, the looming need of a kiln of my own is ever present. I’m conflicted because there are economical needs that take precedence and this just seems so indulgent and unnecessary. But what is a driven one to do? Last Saturday, Joe and I drove the long and windy road up a mountain in Cold Spring to participate in the much anticipated wood firing opening in which I had two small bowls and a plate. Looking forward to commune with fellow potters we all behaved like children on Christmas morning. The unveiling of hundreds of pots in the huge kiln was amazing; shiny pieces with the unpredictable but spectacular glow that only be achieved through reduction firing. With camera in hand, I was planning to document the whole event and show the process of a collaborative effort which typically takes a good eight hours to get through. To my dismay, I spied my three unfired pieces perched forlornly along with a few others in the kiln masters studio. My heart sank, much like being stood up on a date. Tears welled up and the only way I could contain my disappointment was to leave. I wanted so much to be a big person, suck it up, and experience the day. But I left and Joe understood. Why such a reaction to a small thing when I have larger than life challenges to wrestle with right now? I guess that in life when there are things beyond ones control, it is the little pleasures we look forward to - as a coping mechanism. And when they disappoint, our already fragile self falls apart. I emailed the kiln master and he apologized for the error and promised to prioritize my pieces in the next March’s firing. And that I will do. I will also make a piece so unique, so beautiful, and suitable for reduction that it will not be excluded. And I will also take that plunge and order myself a small kiln this week. Then I have only myself to blame for my mistakes. A new kiln, something to look forward to!


  1. Your green is so beautiful, not sure what color I would call it but not apple green - I like this color much better, I have never been a lover of primary colors, but like the more subtle blends of others.

    Oh, I have been there like you with so much disappointment in other's firing my work and not taking the care that I would with my own work. Even the small successes have been a boon to my psyche over the past year with other problems looming for me too so I know how you feel. Not sure what it is about clay making us try even harder the next time though. Sometimes I think why do I keep trying when there are so many setbacks, but I guess it is the challenge and the hope of something really wonderful just around the corner and not quite visible that keeps me going.

    What type of kiln are you going to purchase? I can't wait to get to my new location as I intend on purchasing a front loading kiln so I too will have the control but also the responsibility of my own work and firings. I hope I can also get a gas kiln but not sure I will be able to afford that too, but I do love the reduction firings. We shall see.

    Looking forward to your glazing experiments. I used to rely upon my memory but as time goes by I now see the written documentation as well as the photos is becoming much more important.

  2. Thank you, I guess it has elements of green apple in the glaze - and I too don't like primary colors but they are the staples for mixing secondary colors which I prefer. Re kilns: I was going to get a used kiln but was advised against it due to the cost of element replacement - unless I score a rarely used kiln. So far, I'm close to purchasing an L&L Easy fire kiln (E18S-3) because the manufacturer is only a few hours away and the specs/price work for me.

  3. Hey "driven one", you need your own kiln. Its a part of your destiny that you can then control. Get it.


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