Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Barrel Firing Results

I won't keep you in suspense any longer. My barrel firing was too hot to unload yesterday and tomorrow (actually this morning, since it's after midnight) I have a group coming early. What looked like hanging laundry in the previous post was salted raffia and burlap which I used to wrap the pieces for this barrel firing, which helped produce some great colors.

The two vases and the figure eight piece to the right are also from this firing. I feel like I've made some real progress on my barrel firings and now it's just about time for the burn ban to go into effect for the summer. Maybe we'll have a couple of more weeks, but I don't have anything else made or bisque fired unless I pull it out of the glaze firing. I'm waffling back and forth on that, what do you think?

Here's a sampling of the pendants. Some of the pendants have more subtle colors and others have dark, rich colors. I was planning on gluing bails on the ones without holes, but now am wondering what style and color of bails to use. I thought silver would be too shiny, but Gary thinks silver would look great. I've been looking around for copper, pewter, and other colored bails. I might have to get a sampling and see how each style looks next to the pendants before I glue them.

For those who asked about the pendants, pendants with holes are available in a day or two, the others should be ready in a couple of weeks. I'll post photos of what they look like with their bails when they are completed. Pendants range in size from 4 inches down to 3/4 inch long. I'll be posting them with a link individually so you can see them in more detail.

I also put a couple of my larger leaves, about 3.5 x 4.5 inches, in the firing. My leaves are usually for wind chimes, soap dishes or spoon rests, but since these aren't functional, I thought they would be nice to hang in a window. I remember doing macrame years ago and wish I remembered some of it now. It might be nice to have the leaves incorporated into a macrame piece. Not that I have time to do it, but who knows. I'll have to see about that.

Gary is taking full credit for the results of this firing since he put the straw, sawdust, and wood in the barrel, and lit the fire. Of course I outlined each step of the loading for him. He doesn't know how long it took me to prepare the ingredients and wrap each piece with my special technique. Actually he does, he kept asking me if I was ready to load the barrel. So this was a collaborative process. Gary said he knows the colors on the pots came from the butane lighter he used to light the fire.

Today I noticed these newly formed grapes growing in my garden, discovering them in this early stage is awesome. When we were transforming our landscape here, we uncovered lots of old horseshoes and we put them up on posts as rustic decor. I just thought of making some ceramic horseshoes and firing them in my next barrel firing. I just can't help myself, but I actually think it's a good idea. I better write it down so I won't forget. Toodles!


  1. Oh your pieces turned out beautifully didn't they!

  2. Good Morning Gary, I sure am happy with them, thanks.

  3. Anonymos Wrote to me personally:

    I love the new results! Can't wait for it to warm up here so I can start working in the studio again!

    I notice you have horseshoes - My grandmother would be so proud that I am passing this along! If you hang your horseshoe with the open end UP - it will hold your luck!

    I know it sounds stupid BUT - I am 65 and have the same horseshoe - it has moved all over the country and it is still working! I know it is probably an old wives tale but I am not going to mess with success!

    Hi Anonymous, thanks, I had heard this same thing about horseshoes too from visitors to my gardens. I have another horseshoe near the front door on a rock which I have placed facing up. Maybe I'll rehang all the ones I have on the grape vine fence. I can definitey use more good luck - who can't. Hope your weather warms up soon and thanks for the comment.

  4. Wow, Linda. Your pieces have such vivid bright colors! Amazing... the first bowl is my favorite. The pendants look great too! Will read this post more closely later today.

  5. Hi Amy, thanks, see you later.

  6. Very cool Linda - love the toastiness of the pieces! I say go for it before the fire ban takes effect. I have a feeling it's going to be a hot dry summer in the US.

  7. sweet markings on the inside of the top bowl... looks like success all the way around

  8. Gorgeous colors from this barrel! The salted raffia and burlap wrappings are kind of magical - oh, and the butane lighter. And what great detail I can see when I enlarge the leaf pendants. Did you wrap all the pendants the same way?

  9. Wow, Linda, great results! I vote for cooper or pewter for your pendants! That's my two cents worth. It all looks lovely.

  10. The firing looks wonderful! I also like your idea of using the leaves for wind chimes. When I make garden chimes, I use about a 2' section of large copper pipe with a fishing weight inside and the "clapper" (which could be your leaf) is at the bottom to catch the wind. My dad discovered you can get better sound if the bottom of the pipe is cut at and angle (we use a chop saw) and don't use wire, but heavy duty cord/twine for the hanging and weight components.

  11. Hi Linda, What lovely results from the firing. The leaf pendants with their autumnal hues have some of the mystery, shape and colour of stone age tools. Colours in the bowls are spectacular and all special in their own ways. I would hate to have to pick a favourite (I would want them all!!). The first is stunning, but I also love the third one down with the white area rising like vapour in a cauldron of hot orange and red.

    If you ever visit NZ you should spend some time at Rotorua. Much now sadly touristy, but the colour, smell, and strange beauty of the hot springs, and thermal pools are unforgettable. A bit like a barrel firing on a massive scale! NZ potter, Len Castle (who I may have mentioned to you before), was very much inspired by such things.
    Congratulations. P.

  12. Ohhh Linda, what a wonderful post! I had to smile at the horseshoe comments because my first thought was "turn it upside down!" Funny how superstitions can take hold. I wonder how old those horseshoes might be?

    Your pieces are absolutely stunning. Copper or pewter would be very nice to compliment & keep the subdued look. But I think silver will make it all pop and that would be my ultimate choice. The contrast would be (to me) incredible! Try some of each maybe and see what speaks to you?

    As for doing another barrel firing?.. I say go for it. You can always make more for glaze kilns. With your burning ban restrictions, I'd do as much of that as I could before you no longer can. Plenty of time for the glaze pieces later. You're getting such lovely results. Shame to have to wait to get them again.

    Beautiful work! And kudos to Gary's butane! :)

  13. okay, yes the colors and results are stunning! I agree with Becky. Such vivid, diverse colors. Hey do what is best for you. If you want, do another barrel firing while you can. And, what does your place NOT have? grapes too? How rich. And, you say the good results are from the raffia and burlap. I think in part, it's due to your collaborative partnership with Gary! He's a keeper, it seems.


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment