Saturday, July 21, 2012

My work at the Ohio Craft Museum, Columbus, OH

I have work at the Ohio Craft Museum in Columbus, OH,  and Ann Starr, in her recent blog, reviewed the work--here is the link for her blog!

upgrading the exhaust vent window 'exit'

new way of exiting the hot exhaust pipe from the kiln

Many years ago (15, more or less) when I bought my new kiln, I added the "enviro-vent" to the base of the kiln, and vented the kiln, via a rigid 4" metal pipe, to the outside of the studio.   At the time, and with my limited skills in construction (but fertile imagination as to how something might be), I fashioned a way of taking the exhaust pipe out through an adjacent window without having to break any glass, or do too much fussing.  I opened the window, and then inserted a 2" piece of rigid foam insulation, into which a 4" hole had been cut, at the bottom edge.  Then I put the pipe through this hole, and voilĂ !  The pipe exited the building without much fuss----with the pipe essentially rested on the wooden window sill.  As time passed, however, and as I changed out the rigid pipe for a flexible pipe this last year, I felt, more and more, that the temperature of the pipe was fairly hot, and that my method of construction wasn't the best. I also knew that wood, exposed to high heat over time, undergoes a change, and eventually has a lower flash point for catching fire.  SO, about 2 weeks ago, during one of our increasingly hot spells, and as I was starting the last kiln, I convinced Bruce to help me put in a safer exit hole for the exhaust pipe.  He found a collar from one of our woodstoves (we used to heat both the house and studio with them) which wasn't being used, and which was large enough for the piping to pass through.  Then we took off the (black) plastic from the outside of the window, and the styrofoam from the inside, shut the window, and removed a pane of glass.  On both the outside and the inside of the window, just slightly larger than the pane of glass, he put two pieces of plywood, into which a hole had been cut, large enough for the insulated stove collar to fit. Now the hot piping no longer touches either the wooden sill, or the styrofoam.  When winter comes, and I need to cover the window, again, I'll be making more changes........

Thursday, July 19, 2012

layering patterns for 'surface depth'

As I decorate a pot (the large flower pot, from the last post), I follow a series of decisions.  The first has to do with what 'theme' I'll use on the pot:  lemons, olives, hand with red pears, part of another decorated plate, etc.  Then I usually work with the largest forms for that particular theme, and lay down the lightest, largest color shapes, setting the pattern (or, working out what I might want the pattern to be) for the shape that I'm decorating. For example, I'll do lemons, and leaves, first, then smaller forms (grapes or olives, branches, and stems, and thin grey leaves).  The background is the last to be considered, and is sometimes, but rarely (these days) left entirely white.  I want the viewer's eyes to travel around the space, and I want there to be a sensation of depth, so I decorate the 'white' areas with smaller lines and swirls.  Low fired maiolica has a tendency to be flat in appearance; the glaze and clay, fired to cone 03 or 04, do not fuze to the extent that a cone 2 maiolica firing does (and I fire to cone 2).  So, in addition to the higher firing, I then add smaller lines, dots, and swirls with a very fine brush, or very small brush, or with a brush that has been opened up so that the bristles paint two closely parallel lines.  I also shade, with a pale taupe, each of the larger forms before I add the final black lines that go around the shapes.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

loading the kiln in summer

the kiln gapes open in the background, waiting to eat up whatever I can decorate

after the kiln is loaded, the colors are scattered and drying out
I seem to be slower, this summer, but am about to finish loading a glaze kiln!  There are some orders in this firing, along with work for the next fair, in August. Because of my hip surgery, I've not been going to fairs in July, but will start, again, next month. Maybe it's also the heat and drought, this summer, that's slowing me down.....