Wednesday, July 29, 2009
The wheels of progress are turning ever so slowly around here for some reason. Perhaps it's the heat. Gary said it was going to be cooler today, down to 105 from 106 F (down to 40.5 from 41.1 C). That's sure a relief.
I'm trying to load my kiln efficiently and I am wondering if it's too small or my brain is too small? Perhaps I could learn to load the kiln more efficiently by making a diagram of the shelf size and planning where to place the pieces ahead of time. Does anyone do that?
Oh, I do remember Meredith of Whynot Pottery saying her ware cart shelves are the same size as her kiln shelves. Now that's a good idea! Perhaps I can cut out some cardboard templates the size of my shelves and predetermine where I will place the pieces before I load them in the kiln.
An octagon shelf is hard to organize with wares. Large platters and free form bowls don't fit well, cups and mugs fit the best. Perhaps I can concentrate on making pieces which will fit efficiently on each shelf of the kiln, does anyone do that? Even though my platters and free form bowls take up a lot of room, I like making them. I guess I could stack some more pieces inside the bowl for a bisque, but I had a bad experience with this before. My platters with things stacked in them cracked in a bisque. Looking at the top photo, what I need is part of a shelf to place under the bowl and then I can put something small like a spoon rest or two under the bowl. I can always squeeze pendants into leftover spaces.
Now that I've drawn up a few octagon shapes and looked at them and thought about it, I see what the problem is. Right now I have a few odd shaped pieces and I have to fire them all. Once I get all this work fired I can think in advance and make some multiples of pieces and I'll be better able to fit them in the kiln when I fire them. Whew, I'm glad I wrote all this down, now my creative juices are flowing. I just had to give myself time to think about it instead of rushing the process.
When I picked up some clay last month, I bought a few new tools. My wire had a bur and it kept cutting my hand so I was due for another one. I used to have a few others but they seem to have disappeared. I got a small syringe because I thought I could do some detail slip work with it. I have a large syringe I found at the dollar store, of all places, that I really like. This small syringe has the tiniest tip and it's curved, I might have to sieve my slip to get it to pass through the hole.
Then on a whim I purchased a rubber rib. [Notice the rubber rib is a Kemper made in Taiwan. Is anything made in America? Let's see, I know pottery is made here]. I have metal and wood ribs but have never used a rubber rib before. Sometimes the metal rib cuts into the clay so I thought I would try one of these. I was thinking I could use it to smooth the surface of clay slabs. What a minute, I remember Cynthia Guajardo of Colorado Art Studio uses one for that. Maybe I could apply slip into depressions in the clay and then scrape it off with the rubber rib. What do you use a rubber rib for?
You can see I have lots of unanswered questions, so advice and comments are most welcome here. Look at the peach bird, I guess peaches aren't always perfect, kind of like me. All this imperfection sure makes life interesting, doesn't it?