Last weekend we fired the new wood kiln for the first time. Not the best firing that I have ever had, but OK for a first firing. There is always a bit of a learning curve getting to know how a new kiln works. Becoming familiar with its particular traits and ‘personality’. We are also using pre-burnt wood from the bush fire. Burning in the kiln, what was recovered from the trees in our front garden. It’s strange and burns quite differently from the trees that we are used to burning from our forest that were unburnt.
We fired for 14 hours through the day, and into the night. A very comfortable time frame and just about standard for the sort of firings that I have developed over the decades in this style of kiln.
There were a few losses. Two of my large 450mm dia. porcelian platters dunted on cooling. There is always a possibility of this with very large flat ware, and especially so with glassy, dense porcelain bodies.
Despite these couple of losses. I managed to get a few more nice pots out for the show at Sturt Gallery next weekend.
I used the iron rich soil from the side of the road off the top of Mt Gibralter near here in one mix. This moderates to inky blueness of the cobalt.
I also made another batch of smalt-like pigment with local iron rich ochre with metalic flakes of iron oxide that I scraped off some of my burnt machinery that I was recovering for re-use. The mild steel parts that got burnt in the fire and then left in the rain for a year before I could find the time to get back to them, had rusted badly.
I flaked off the worst of the rust and collected it in a container for use as pigment. It’s a nice idea to re-use some of my old ruined equipment and incorporate it into my new work creatively. I think that this flakey iron oxide is probably mostly FeO and some Fe3O4, with very little Fe2O3.
Since the firing, I have been out splitting more wood for the next wood firing, helped by the chickens of course. They even followed me into the workshop where I had 2 girls in a man shed!