Sunday, May 17, 2015

glazing day

Here's a secret: I hate glazing.

Wow, I feel so much better getting that out in the open.

Why do I hate it? Because it's all business. Glazing is the most uncreative part of my process. One that goes like this:

Stir. Dip. Wipe. Repeat.

It also makes a huge mess.

But glazing comes right after washing and waxing (both gentle and meditative). It also comes just before loading up the kiln (a fun exercise in geometry) and firing (all about patience and anticipation) and then, the absolute best part, opening the kiln to see how your pots turned out. So I put up with the glazing.

This is what a normal glazing day looks like:

#1. Unload bisque ware from the kiln.
#2. Sand off imperfections.
#3. Wash the bisqued pots.
#4. Wax the bottoms.
#5. While the wax dries, stir buckets of glaze and get tools ready.
#6. Stir buckets again because you're still waiting for the wax to dry.
#7. The wax is dry! Finally.
#8. Glaze the pots. (And be really grouchy about it.)
#9. Load up the kiln.
#10. The kiln is loaded! Put witness cones in front of the peepholes.
#11. Flick the bottom switch and prop the lid up so moisture can escape.
#12. At hourly intervals, continue flicking switches until the kiln reaches temperature and shuts off.*
#13. While waiting for the kiln to cool, go to sleep. It's been a long day.

*I'm one of those few potters crazy enough to fire in a manual kiln, which means I can't punch a program into an electric controller and then go to bed. I have to be attentive. I think this is due in part to the fact that I used to be a professional baker, and in a lot of ways the process of baking bread is very similar to the process of making pottery. I like to see and know what's going on every step of the way.

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