We have just unpacked our latest firing with mixed results. The wood for this firing burnt well and got us to temperature in 12 hours with a good, constant reduction, but it produced a mass of very slow burning embers, so even with all the mouse holes open we ended up with a load of embers which buried the potential ‘gems’ of the firebox area beneath their cloistering bed and smothered the jewels of the firing that should have come from the exciting ‘zone of death’, This area, close to the ember pit can produce some excellent dramatic qualities, but instead, on this occasion, all the potential jewels did not reach their full potential. They all survived intact, but as blackened bisque instead of shining gems. The jewels of the kiln are now more like Swarovski than De Beers.
The back of the kiln was a little under-fired, so there are a few pots from there that just need a little more heat. They can be reheated, ‘microwaved to perfection’ in our little wood kiln, the next time we get it out for a spin. The rest of the setting was very good – by our standards. There are half-dozen really nice pots, nearly all of which were Janine’s. But I have some small bowls that are good enough to show at Watters Gallery, so I’m happy.
So, a good firing. We are so lucky!
Two of Janine’s vases
Three of my new bai-tunze paste little bowls with limpid porcelain glaze and subtle wood ash deposit and bright body flashing.
After the firing, I picked, washed and sliced open 300 small tomatoes and dried them for use later in the year. These things are so delicious, that I end up eating a few handfuls of them as soon as they emerge from the oven. It’s a slow patient process using the lowest possible heat that the oven is capable of. I turn it down manually, so that it only just remains alight. It takes all day turning and rotating them often with the oven fan on.
6 trays of little tomatoes, cut in half, butterfly-style, all tries out and shrinks into just 3 litre tubs of sweet, sharp, crunchy, sour and very delicious dried tomatoes.
I make a vegetable stir fry for dinner. Garlic and chilli with capsicum, celery, carrot, beetroot and aubergine. A little block of frozen marrow bone stock from the freezer and a little fish and oyster sauce.
Best wishes from the 2 well-fed, lucky potters