Monday, May 17, 2010

Playing With Fire

Saturday, May 15th, Bertine and her pottery students had their annual primitive firing event. Last year, as a spectator, I was awed. This year I had five pieces of my own to set fire to. Loading and unloading the kilns is the wicked job entrusted to Mike. This photo simply can't give you any sense of the hellish heat.

Nor can it give you the stench of burning hair. As the hot pots are placed on the wire grate the bits of paper ignite and create the smoky tint. The horse hair, when dropped on sizzling pots, curls and burns the random marks. My two pieces are in the foreground.

These pots have been glazed for raku ...

Directly from a kiln that has reached 1800F degrees they are raced to a sandy pit and ignite the paper there. When the can is placed over the inferno the fire is suffocated and it's the smoke which transforms the glazes to exotic metallic colours.

Pam and Bertine capping the fire ...

I was not thrilled with the pots I made and traditionally glazed over winter and was considering becoming a pottery class dropout. But when these pots came out of the ashes I couldn't contain my delight. This thrill is what will lure me back in the fall!

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