My commission for Black River Entertainment is moving right along and I am sticking to my work schedule. I wanted to bring you up to speed on what has happened in the last week. As you know, all of the candle pots have been thrown, the stamp has been made and pressed into each pot, and the pieces were waiting to dry a bit before I could trim.
I have found it is important and effective to flip the pots upside down like this when they are drying. This helps the pot to dry more evenly. Since the rim of the pot is generally the thinnest and most exposed part to the air, it dries faster and can risk cracking if the base of the pot does not dry at the same rate. Flipping the pots slows down the drying of the rim and allows for the foot of the pot to dry more evenly. Once they were at the right hardness, I trimmed the foot. As always, not everything makes it to the kiln, but that is why I make more than I actually need!
These broken pieces were glazed yesterday so I could run a test fire in the kiln. I want to be sure the glaze is mixed properly before I go ahead and glaze everything! After each pot was stamped and trimmed, I had to cut out the squares around the rim of the pot. When the candle is lit inside the pot, the cut-outs should create a nice effect with the flickering light.
After the pots dried out, I took fine sand paper and gently rubbed it over the cut-out to get rid of any rough spots or sharp edges. Once they are fired, they can become razor-sharp if those rough spots are not sanded down! Meanwhile, I got to mixing and sifting the black glaze for these pots. I used 10 pounds of dry glaze and had to add a gallon of water to bring the glaze to the right consistency. Then, I pass the glaze through a mesh screen (just like sifting four, but in a liquid form) to break down any clumps and keep the liquid smooth and even.
Since my specialty is in crystalline glazing, I actually did not make this glaze. I ordered this glaze in its dry form, from coyote clay. They are a great resource for glazes. I have worked with them before and have found their glazes to be of high quality and very reliable. This black glaze is considered a low fire glaze (cone 6). It will fire to about 2100 degrees. I do have glaze formulations that I make myself that are non-crystalline, but they are for high fire (cone 10). Cone 10 reaches around 2300-2400 degrees. I took the broken pieces and glazed them in the black glaze and loaded them into the kiln for a test glaze firing. The commissioned candle pots are sitting on top of the kiln (pictured above) to fully dry out before I load them into the kiln for their bisque firing.
I am hoping to unload the test pieces today and get the bisque firing by this afternoon. Once that firing is complete, I will be able to wax and glaze these pieces on Monday for their final firing!