Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Saggar Fired Pendants
We loaded most of the kiln at school last night and when I got home, I just couldn't stay awake long enough to finish this post. My leaf panels and some pinch pots with experimental glazes are in this glaze load. So stay tuned for results maybe sometime next week or the week after, depending upon when they finish loading the rest of their pieces and then fire. I am especially anxious to see how my leaf panels do in the firing since they have a large footprint on the kiln shelf. Will they warp? Will the underglazes and glazes I used turn out? Please keep your fingers crossed for me.
My saggar fired pendants have some good colors, but there were also some with no color. I've taken these photos are after I cleaned the pendants, but I haven't coated the outside with anything. Once I coat them they will be even more beautiful. I was pleasantly surprised at the pendants made with half white clay and half terracotta clay. The first pendant above is one of those which shows nice color and contrast between the light and dark clay. The face pendant is made of the same terracotta clay which takes on a beautiful black sheen. The sheen doesn't show up very well in the photo unfortunately. I would love to make a smooth bowl with this terracotta clay and barrel fire it to see the results.
Here's the line up of the pendants, one through nine from left to right. I won't bore you with all the details. Saggar number two was aluminum and just copper carbonate, but saggar number eight was aluminum with copper carbonate and yellow iron oxide and there was very little color. Saggar number five didn't get any color, but I used cobalt and black iron oxide - no sense wasting any cobalt on firings.
Suffice it to say it doesn't seem to make a difference if I fire in a copper saggar or an aluminum foil sagger, the results are sporadic. The fire does what it wants. The one ingredient which consistently produces color is red iron oxide, either alone of combined with fertilizer, copper carbonate, banana peels, etc. I also don't think the fire got hot enough with this firing. Next time I plan on firing with a mixture of straw and sawdust and I'm not going to use the grate and see what happens. I think the grate allows a lot of air under the burning pieces and they don't get lasting heat and they cool down too quickly.
The aluminum saggars were completely burnt, but look at the copper saggar, it got some beautiful color. I wonder if I can incorporate this into a ceramic mixed media sculpture. I don't know much about metals, but I probably could get these same colors by flaming the copper roof flashing with a torch. I'll bet Cindy of Artmaking in the North could tell me all about this since she makes beautiful metal sculptures and knows all about working with metal. Each experiment leads me to more ideas about working with clay.
Well I'm headed outside to check my vegetable bins. Something has been eating my newly planted red leaf lettuce, butter crunch lettuce, and spinach. Could it be a raccoon? I heard one last night making that chirping and cooing noise, perhaps thanking me for such a nice meal. Here's a pink rose photo for today.