|Tea bowls, wheel thrown, faceted, sprayed with multiple glazes, cone 6 Oxidation.
A few years ago I was showing my work at my favorite art show, the Texas Clay Festival. As people walked into my booth and handled my pots, the single most common question asked was, “How are you firing your work? This is cone 10 reduction, right?” Triumphantly I informed them, “This is actually cone 6 electric!” And suddenly I had all their attention. I realized that many of them were hobby potters who, like me, were infatuated with the look of atmospheric firing but only had access to an electric kiln.
It has been a long journey but a rather fulfilling one as I have learnt a lot in the process. And while my work continues to evolve and the process continually gets tweaked, I know one thing for sure; I have found a new respect for my electric kiln and its potential.
|Wheel thrown, brushed with white slip, sgraffito, sprayed with multiple glazes, fired to cone 6 oxidation
I work with a dark clay body (no. 266, from standard Ceramics) which fires black at cone 6. Not being a glaze whiz, I mostly work with recipes that I found off the internet, sometimes modifying them just a bit to get the desired effect. Glazes are sprayed on the pot with a sprayer. A pot might have a single glaze or multiple glazes sprayed on, depending on the desired effect. I do not spray the glazes uniformly around the pot. Instead I pick areas that will be highlighted by a certain glaze and then I spray a few coats, starting with broad strokes then concentrating more of the glaze in progressively smaller areas. The idea is to have an area of strong color, slowly feathering the glaze, leaving some areas deliberately unglazed so that the rich earthy color of the black clay can show through. This color as well as surface variation coupled with black color of the clay body, works to create an illusion of atmospheric firing.
|Nutmeg and Pinnell’s weathered bronze glazes sprayed in and near the carved design and then feathered at the edge of the carving. Dark color results from the unglazed areas showing through, the result: an illusion of atmospheric firing.
Look out for more posts about, spraying glazes, my homemade spray booth, glazes recipes and other experiments!