Friday, May 21, 2010

The Beach fire!

Yesterday was the last day of ceramics. For our class, we take a few of our pieces down and have a pit fire at the beach. I love interesting firing techniques, especially those in which I have the chance to be involved in every step of the process (such as Raku and Pit fires). I'm no 'in' enough in our ceramics department to be involved with loading the regular weekly bisque or glaze kilns.

Gavin and I made basically nothing but vases this semester in preparation for the wedding. As a result, the pieces for the beach fire were also vases (these will not be making an appearance at the wedding).

After throwing and trimming the pieces, they are polished. Turns out this isn't really my strong suit, but thanks to the company of some cool new people in class this year, I did a much better job of sitting still long enough to do a decent job of it. The pieces are bisque fired separately from the normal kiln fire.

Since I'm on a jobsite, I was able to scrounge up some wood which I loaded and delivered to Doheney State Beach. I didn't take my Nikon because the sand, smoke, and random chemical additives just made the risk too high in my opinion.

My wood.

I somehow failed to photograph loading the pits, but basically the pots are just staked together in the bottom. All kinds of random stuff is put in with them: seaweed, banana peels, copper wires, various copper chemical compounds, etc. The pots are protected with ceramic tile and the fire is built on top of them.


This year we had two pits and I put one of our pieces in each. The fire is kept burning for 3 hours or so and then allowed to burn out. The beach closed at nine, so we left the pieces to be picked up the following day.

The Results:



This picture really doesn't do them justice. They came out very nice. We also polished them with a smelly orange wood polish to give them a little bit of shine. If I ever get some free time, I'll consider setting up some better lighting to get some more accurate pictures of the colors on the pieces.

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