Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tree Song: new poem

Tree Song
by: poetree

Tall broad and strong
We have stood for long

Watching, listening, groaning
They have been cutting

Short thin and weak
They have just learned to seek

Fighting, killing, dying
We watch while crying

Long wide and deep
His love does slowly seep

Ebbing simmering waiting
He is always planting

Quick shallow and narrow
His light shoots like an arrow

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Albuquerque pottery: farewell

Bisque Firing
This last Friday my dad and I fired up the kiln for my bisque firing. I loaded the kiln Thursday night and it filled up almost 100% with what I had made. My dad uses an Olympia gas kiln so we were hoping for no wind. The bisque firing took 10 hours and all of my pieces 'survived.' There were a few pieces with cracks that I was not sure about. The weather experts were estimating that most of the coming days would have strong winds so we decided Sunday would be the best day for the glaze firing. This meant we had one day to glaze all 56 pieces and load the kiln.

Glazing Frenzy

Saturday we hung out with our dear friend Holly who drove down from Colorado to spend a day with us. After she left we unloaded the kiln, set up our makeshift glazing studio and began the arduous work of glazing 56 pieces in half a day.

It was amazing to have my mom around because she hung out with Shiloh all afternoon and evening when he was awake so we could glaze everything. We had a ton of fun creating together and Dana experimented with some really fun designs.

We ended up using nine different glazes in several different combinations. I loaded the kiln as the sun was setting. Surprising I filled up all but one shelf of the kiln with my pottery! Needless to say, we were exhausted at the end of the day. I went to sleep excited about the coming day and a bit anxious as I would be doing the firing by myself since my dad had to work.

Glaze Firing

I woke up early and energized Sunday. I caught my dad as he was leaving for work at 6:30am. I made sure I had at least some idea of what to do with the kiln. I light the pilot ring and got the burners going at 6:40am. I had no idea what I was doing really. I had talked through it with my dad and had his notes from the last firing he did last fall. Other than that I was relying on common sense and grace!

The day was long and exhausting as I hung around the kiln, cleaned up the mess left over from the glazing frenzy and tried to distract myself from the firing. The top level started heating up really well but I could not see any changes in the middle of bottom. I did not really understand what 'reduction' was but knew it was an important part of the firing. I followed my dad's notes very closely and felt like things were going well.

My dad got home around 4pm and I was very glad. By that time the 5 and 6 cones were bending on the top but were not moving in the middle or bottom. Around this time a gust of wind blew out the pilot ring. The safety feature turns off the gas automatically so there was no worry there. I relight the pilot and we set up a makeshift barrier for the wind. By 12 hours the top 5 and 6 cones were down, the 9 cone starting to go but still nothing in the middle or bottom. I was starting to get nervous. We kept the flame nice and steady, closed off the top port halfway and were patient. Not much longer afterward the middle 5 and 6 cones were beginning to bend but the bottom ones were not. By 8pm the middle had heated up and we decided to let it go till 8:40pm and then shut it off. What a long 14 hours!


I was so excited to see how everything turned out but had to be patient. I had plugged the observation holes and covered the top port and opened them Monday morning. Several hours later we peeked in to see the top shelf. Then we took a family nap! I woke up early, got some tables ready, opened the kiln and started unloading everything. It felt like Christmas morning!

For my first gas reduction firing and the fact that I have only been doing pottery for 5 months, I am thrilled with the results. The pieces on the bottom did not get hot enough and a very rough and not too pretty to behold. A little creative thinking, however, and we have found a functional use for each. Ha!

Dana's designs and our glaze combinations turned out really well for the most part. It has been such a great learning experience and I am sad to see it ending already. I have a few more things to do to leave my dad's space as I found it, hopefully a little better even. We are going to pack up all the pottery today and tomorrow. We hope we have enough room in our car for everything else. Ha!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Albuquerque pottery 2

As of right now I have 41 pieces of pottery ranging from very small infusers/filters to medium sized mixing bowls and bake ware. I am hoping to be able to do the bisque firing next week, put glazes on them and do the glaze firing around the 10th or 11th of May. We shall see how things work out. The good news is that my dad will be around more after Wednesday.

Here are some more pictures of what I have been creating. I have been having a blast and trying all sorts of new shapes: a tea pot, party platter, pie dishes, etc. Hopefully they will all turn out and be done when we leave in 11 days.