Tag Archives: smoke firing

Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness

I took my camera for a walk along the hedgerow this week. Here’s a random selection of berries ready for the birds. No wonder my bird table has been abandoned!

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I’ve been playing with a new design over the last few weeks. I’m calling it ‘Berry Tree’ – so appropriate for this time of year don’t you think? As I look out of my studio windows I see all the hawthorn trees covered in bright red berries, so beautiful! I’ve decorated 3 or 4 of these bowls now and each time I add more berries and I think I’ll be adding yet more as the season progresses.

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Having shown you around my rather messy studio here is my equally messy Raku area.

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My set up is pretty compact and is on the base of an old greenhouse. Everything (gas, kiln, tools etc.) are all stored in the bin at the back and it takes me approximately 5 minutes to get everything out and going. As you can see my Raku kiln is one of those do-it-yourself jobs and suits me just fine. The disadvantage is that it is fairly small and does restrict the size and the number of pieces I can fire at any one time. On the other hand to fire too many pieces in one go would be difficult to handle as you need to transfer the work to the sawdust fairly quickly in order to get the best results. I put up the gazebo in the early summer to shield me from rain showers. It’s fine for spots of rain but I can’t work in heavy persistent wind and rain. I still have to keep an eye on the weather forecast and plan my week accordingly.

 

 

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Smoking

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Just recently I have started experimenting with smoke firing again. I love it, it’s such fun and a good antidote to the type of Raku firing I do. Once you’ve prepped your pots, loaded them into the container, popped in the sawdust or whatever you’re using (leaves, sticks, wood, straw, paper etc.) you just light the touch paper and retire. Bliss!

I tend to do my firing overnight. It means that I’m not tempted to interfere with it once it’s set alight. I have been known to poke about with a rod in an attempt to accelerate the firing which   ruined the results. I lost all those subtle marks made by the slow burn and ended up with all over brown pots – not what I wanted at all!

Here are some of my recent smoked birds. I love the colours and all those random marks you can get with this type of firing, from pale greys, browns to very dark brown and black. I am reminded of pebbles on the seashore. See what you think.

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small birds smoke 1L

lge bird smoke 2L