Monday, March 2, 2009

Pendant Barrel Firing

I fired nine saggars of pendants for my second barrel firing today. This time I used two copper roof flashing saggars in addition to the aluminum foil saggars I had success with in my first barrel firing. I assigned a number to each saggar, with a list of chemicals I added. I hope to determine which chemical combinations create which colors when they have cooled off. I put a number on the back of one pendant in each saggar. I realize it would have been easier if I had numbered every pendant, but that would have taken me too long. I wanted to start the barrel burning as soon as possible since we are expecting rain today.

I lit the barrel at 12 noon and it was still burning with coals on the bottom at 2:30 p.m. With this firing there wasn't as much smoke. I hope to be able to unload the barrel and open the saggars around 4:30 p.m. Some of the pendants are terra cotta clay and some are porcelain, both low fire clay. Oh, and some of the pendants are a combination of both clays.

While the barrel was burning, I was putting some underglazes and slips on greenware pieces I made a few weeks ago. Don't know if you tell in the photo, but this porcelain tree sculpture, after the application of oxide tinted slip, is now tan in color. I mixed two different oxides into slip and put it on the tree. Can you guess which oxides I used? I was feeling adventurous and just went for it. Have you done this type of an experiment before? How much oxide did you mix into the slip? What should I expect? Have I ruined it. Oh, I know, you're going to say I just have to wait and see what happens when it's fired.

OK, then come back tomorrow for the results of the pendant barrel firing. As for the oxide colored slip tree sculpture, those results will be posted some time in the future, so we all have to wait on that one. I forgot to post a rose photo last time, here's a rose for today. I just love this rose, the petals look like crepe paper.


  1. Wow... how exciting! Can't wait to see how the pendants turn out. Would you agree that barrel firing is a bit addicting in a good way? :)

  2. I love seeing your roses along with the pottery blog!
    And the pendants look like tatsy treats to come!

  3. Hi Amy, yes I think barrel firing is a bit addicting, especially since there are more immediate results than a Cone 10 firing because I don't have to wait to open the kiln for so long, but the preparation and cleaning do take some time.

    Hi Meredith, glad you're enjoying the roses. They aren't actually blooming right now, but I have the photos from last year so I thought I would post them. Hopefully all the work of getting those pendants ready will pay off.

  4. Linda, I absolutely can't wait to see how the pendants turn out. Julia

  5. Cool Linda - I've tried a saggar firing once without much success. But, that was a long time ago in school and I wasn't firing the kiln. Can't wait to see how these turn out!

  6. Linda,

    I have never heard of using copper flashing for a saggar, so iti will be interesting to see if there is a difference with it. The copper probably won't break down the way aluminum foil does, as its melting point is about 800 degress higher, but I wonder if it will contribute to the color. I hope you like what you get regardless.

    John Lowes
    Atlanta, GA

  7. OOOOHHHH! I love those pendants. Will you be selling those?? (hint, hint)

  8. Sounds like fun! Cant wait to see the after pictures!

  9. Can't wait to see the results of the ones in the copper and if they are different than the aluminium wrapped ones and what the thin copper does in the fire.

  10. Hi Julia, I am hoping these turn out and I can predict the colors. We shall see.

    Hi Cynthia, not sure how the saggar actually works to enhance the colors. I think there is a lot of experimentation to be done.

    Hi John, welcome, I've never heard of using copper flashing either, but since I had some I thought I would give it a try especially since it burns at a higher temperature than aluminum foil.

    Hi CJ, yes I intend to sell the pendants, but am trying to perfect my technique and coatings before I offer them. As with so many things in ceramics there is so much testing necessary before a product is realized in it's final state. I have learned I have to be patient, and that is so hard for me. Perhaps this is a lesson I must learn. I will definitely let you know.

    Hi Lisa, I am anxiously awaiting the results too.

    Hi Barbara, I am anxious to see what happens too, I figured I had nothing to loose since I already had the copper and was willing to sacrifice a few pendants for a test.


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