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considerations for woodfired pieces

updated sat 11 dec 04

 

Loretta Wray on tue 7 dec 04


Hi,

Been lurking around awhile and decided to finally post a question. It
seems there are many potters "out there" willing to share their knowledge -
very refreshing!

I attended a woodfire workshop in NC last summer - what a blast!! I'm
going again next summer and taking some friends. We can bring 30-40 pots
of our own to be fired. Last year I produced what I could all willy-nilly
and was extremely lucky that none were lost in the process.

Now, one of my friends who is apparantly a little more "anal" and
less "zen" than yours truly has asked me a bunch of questions about what
she should consider when making pieces to be wood-fired. (Now, why didn't
I think of that??)

So, rather than attempt to BS her with my less-than-dazzling knowledge I
thot I would run it past the experts of the potting cyber world....

Here are her questions ver batim:

Are there things to consider beyond aesthetics?
Are slab pieces and attachments okay?
Is the thickness - either too thin or too thick a problem?
Does it matter if pieces are small or large?
Do you apply slip or glaze to all your pieces?
What did you wish you would have known before you
did your first wood fire?


Any ponderings will be greatly appreciated and forwarded to my friends.
Thanks,
Loretta Wray

Elizabeth Priddy on tue 7 dec 04


slab pieces and atachements are ok. Use clay rated to Cone 10 or higher. Things that
stickvery far out will tend to warp slightly if they are less than an inch thick. You can bisque
before wood firing with no problem. I recommend it. still raw glaze, but bisque for transport.

too thin is a problem as the work will be fired very high and unless you
are using clay like porcelain, too thin will warp

get there early to help load if you have large pieces. the location of pieces that
are especially large (over 14 inchies in a dimension) will determine their regularity
and dispersion of ash. you will have to ask the kiln owner where a good place is as
each kiln is unique.

You must aply your glaze very thinly if at all. Slip is better. Wood kills color
so dont get your hopes up on anything other than a beautiful buttery brown. make sure your
slip and glaze are rated for cone 10 or higher. Also your clay. Get the same kind the kiln
owner uses if you can as they will be controlling the fire for their work specs, not yours.

I wish I had known how well shouldered vessels with gnarly attachments worked.


Loretta Wray wrote:


Are there things to consider beyond aesthetics?
Are slab pieces and attachments okay?
Is the thickness - either too thin or too thick a problem?
Does it matter if pieces are small or large?
Do you apply slip or glaze to all your pieces?
What did you wish you would have known before you
did your first wood fire?






Elizabeth Priddy

252-504-2622
1273 Hwy 101
Beaufort, NC 28516
http://www.elizabethpriddy.com

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Paul Herman on tue 7 dec 04


Loretta,

I will answer below.

Paul Herman

Great Basin Pottery
Doyle, California US
http://www.greatbasinpottery.com/

----------
>From: Loretta Wray
>To: CLAYART@LSV.CERAMICS.ORG
>Subject: considerations for woodfired pieces
>Date: Tue, Dec 7, 2004, 9:25 AM
>

> Here are her questions ver batim:
>
> Are there things to consider beyond aesthetics?

Yes

> Are slab pieces and attachments okay?

Yes

> Is the thickness - either too thin or too thick a problem?

Use the same consideration you would in any cone 10 firing.

> Does it matter if pieces are small or large?

Small pieces are more likely to get fired. Big ones hog up a lot of
precious space.

> Do you apply slip or glaze to all your pieces?

No

> What did you wish you would have known before you
> did your first wood fire?

That light colored, smooth clays are nice, dark groggy one less so
(IMO).

>
>
> Any ponderings will be greatly appreciated and forwarded to my friends.
> Thanks,
> Loretta Wray

Hank Murrow on tue 7 dec 04


On Dec 7, 2004, at 9:25 AM, Loretta Wray wrote:
>
> I attended a woodfire workshop in NC last summer - what a blast!! I'm
> going again next summer and taking some friends. We can bring 30-40
> pots
> of our own to be fired. Last year I produced what I could all
> willy-nilly
> and was extremely lucky that none were lost in the process.
>
> Now, one of my friends has asked me a bunch of questions about what
> she should consider when making pieces to be wood-fired.

> Are there things to consider beyond aesthetics?
> Are slab pieces and attachments okay?
> Is the thickness - either too thin or too thick a problem?
> Does it matter if pieces are small or large?
> Do you apply slip or glaze to all your pieces?
> What did you wish you would have known before you
> did your first wood fire?

Dear Loretta;

1. Since shelves are really at a premium in typical wood fire kilns, I
suggest that the ware be designed to tumble-stack(stack upon each
other). I build stacks that are up to 30" high.......... jar on bottom,
teapot on that, dessert tray on that, and teabowl at the top, for
example.

2. I would never invest in a woodfire without having clay tests run
through a previous firing. No point in making a bunch of stuff that
won't take ash well.

3. I generally make my woodfire pieces around 20_30% thicker than those
for my gas fire.

4. Slips and glazes would need to be tested. I often fire the pieces
without glaze.

5. I wish I had known how physically challenging it would be. Wear
comfortable loose clothes with no metal rivets (someone I worked with
burned his privates from the rivets on his Levis).

woodfire pics @ http://www.murrow.biz/hank/anagama-firings.htm

Cheers, Hank
www.murrow.biz/hank

Edwards on tue 7 dec 04


Hello Loretta: let me put in a few of my thoughts.

>Are there things to consider beyond aesthetics?
>
If you want it to be funtional---I would probably say, yup.

>Are slab pieces and attachments okay?
>
Generally yes, fragile doesn't work so well in the gnarly atmospheres
that sometimes happen. On the other hand the Chinese and Koreans wood
fire some really fine delicate porcelain pieces. Yummy

>Is the thickness - either too thin or too thick a problem?
>
I've never seen to thick be a problem but to thin can be, things tend to
crack and warp abit more. But then there are the really fine delicate
porcelain bowls. Tasty

>Does it matter if pieces are small or large?
>
I like small pieces with a large presence, rather than large pieces with
a small presence. A happy kiln is one that is fed what it likes. Big
kiln, big pots, small kiln, small pots. Big Korean, water jars.
Wonderful! Small, Japanese, water droppers. Incredible!

>Do you apply slip or glaze to all your pieces?
>
It depends on where in the kiln you are putting it. I have ruined pots
by putting glaze on as well as not. I have people that make pots to fire
in my kiln that are for one reason or another totally inappropriate. My
best advise would be, to be in contact with the person that has the
kiln. I know that I'm much happier seeing the right pot in the right
place in the kiln. Each kiln is different, if you were to put a pot in
the front part of my kiln, a glaze would be a horrible idea-- in the
back part of the kiln, a very good idea! Confused yet?

>What did you wish you would have known before you
>did your first wood fire?
>
What a great journey it wood(would) be-- wood(would) have started
wood-firing sooner. Oh--- and having more than enough wood(would?)!
Happy trails,
~Craig
________________
Craig Edwards, New London MN
e-mail craigedwards@charter.net
http://photobucket.com/albums/v11/credwards/

Lee Love on wed 8 dec 04


Loretta,

Can you tell us what kind of wood kiln you will put your work
in? Wood firing is one of the most varied methods of firing that
exists.

--
Lee in Mashiko, Japan http://mashiko.org
http://www.livejournal.com/users/togeika/ WEB LOG
http://public.fotki.com/togeika/ Photos!

Loretta Wray on fri 10 dec 04


Thanks to all who have been so helpful with this topic. I know what worked
and didn't work for me, but I knew that my one-time experience wouldn't be
as helpful as the collective knowledge of so many experienced potters! I
have passed along all the helpful info and will continue to do so.

In regards to Lee Love's question about the type of kiln - I believe it is
a noborigami (sorry if I've butchered the spelling) with a single catenary
arch. I'm not sure whether it would be considered up-draft or down-draft
as I'm having trouble understanding this concept. (I'm pretty sure it
wasn't a cross-draft.) There was a large stoke-hole at the back but we
stoked mostly from the bottom in holes that were originally intended to be
inlet flues (I think.) From what I can garner from Mr. Olsen's book it
would be a downdraft. (?) It was built by Mark Peters (Pine Root Pottery,
Bakersville, NC) maybe someone knows.

I'm sure Mark explained the kiln details to me, he's a wonderful
instructor, but it was a lot of information to absorb in 6 days!!

In regards to the glazes, we used Mark's personal glazes, and I know he'll
give the new participants a thorough explanation of application and
effects.

While I understand the point intended, I don't know that I completely
agree with the post that said "wood kills color." In my opinion, the
colors achieved, while admittedly not "bright" were deep and varied. Mark
had 2 versions of Oribe that were wonderful, one fired to a deep turquoise
hue and the other exhibited a pleasing, deep reddish tinge, depending on
kiln position and application. The shino ranged from the typical toasty
brown when applied thinly, to a shiny off-white when applied thickly. I
think I may have found myself pleasantly surprised by the results because
I went with the expectation of my color choices being limited to the brown-
to-orange-to-yellow range, and that wasn't the case. I'm sure even more
variations are possible. (I seem to remember an article in one of the mags
entitled something like "Woodfiring doesn't have to mean brown" or
something of that nature.)

I have to admit that I sometimes feel a bit overwhelmed and even
discouraged because it seems like there's so much to learn and so many
variables with clay in general, let alone woodfiring; so I wanted to
repeat I'm very greatful for all the advice and encouragement that has
been posted to this list and/or sent to me personally.

Appreciatively,
Loretta Wray