Friday, 21 June 2013

Caught smoking in the garden!

I guess not many people ask for an incinerator for their birthday!

Not surprisingly, no such present was wrapped for me back in March! However, I was given money to spend, so had soon purchased a shiny new incinerator.

It took me a while to have time to produce some burnished test pieces to put into my new toy. Unfortunately my first burn was not a success; as I stood nearby and listened to the sound of exploding clay! There were probably various reasons for this, too boring to detail.

Further research, new clay, lots of burnishing whilst sitting in the sun or listening to Radio 4 and Bisque firing to 950 C saw me ready to try again...

Rattle Stones (max 8cm)

I used a variety of techniques to create these and I was very pleased with the results.

I particularly like this stone which had been coated with green slip before burnishing. After Bisque firing, I wrapped the stone with plastic mesh, then painted on slurry, before removing the mesh and smoking, cleaning and a final polish of beeswax.

The next firing/smoking produced this set of 'pods'.

Smoked pods (max 12cm)
These were made using a new clay which is supposed to be good for withstanding the sharp temperature increases found in smoke and pit firing. The different clay may explain the darker colour, but this may also have been due to higher temp in the firing. Lots more experimenting before I can hope to understand the process.

This is my favourite of this set of pods.
Before placing in the bed of sawdust in the incinerator, the pod had been wrapped in newspaper filled with sawdust and a dried banana skin! I believe it is the effect of this skin which has given the lovely bluey-grey mottling.

Another firing (I was on a roll!) saw these pods emerge...

Smoked pods 2 (max 11cm)
Same clay as my first set of pods, but less sawdust and hence less smoke giving a paler colour (I think?).

I wrapped most of this pod in foil, leaving top clear and making 3 slits in the foil, before smoking. Delighted with the result, definitely one to repeat on larger pieces of work.

This pod took on a very peculiar shape whilst the clay was still quite damp when I accidentally knocked it from my work bench! Since the piece was still intact, despite being a very different shape, I decided to let this be a happy accident and continued to finish the pod.
I used spray mount to hold the fern leaves in place whilst covering with slurry, removing the leaves before smoking. Love the clear image of the leaves made by the smoke; another idea to be repeated.

Time to start making more pieces for smoking! 

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