May 5, 2008

Monday Romp

Not a lot of pottery was made here today, sorry to say. But, I manged to score some nice windows from my glass blowing friend, Greg Fidler. He is redoing his house and had a bunch of nice windows that happened to fit my plans. Thanks Greg! I'm waiting to hear from the building inspector before proceeding with construction. Framing will hopefully start tomorrow. I got a call from the truss manufacturer and they will be ready by next Monday. So hopefully in a week we will be putting the roof up and it will start looking like a pottery workshop.

I have been tending to my clay racks and had a couple of pictures of the stages of the process.
The first shows the clay as it looks when it's ready for bagging. Since the red dirt is pretty short it cracks open when it dries.

Although the dirt is cracking it is still pretty soft. I remove it from the racks as soon as I can handle it without it sticking too much to my hands. Since I will be mixing it in a paddle type mixer with the other materials, fireclay and feldspar, I am bagging it and taking it to the mixer up at Penland, which they so kindly let me borrow. Most of the classes at Penland use premixed clay, so the mixer sits idle most of the time. So until I buy my own mixer I will be very, very appreciative to Susan Feagin, the clay coordinator at Penland.

As I unloaded to racks I decided to mix more dirt with a slightly new technique, always tweeking the process. I tried blunging the clay a bit thicker than usual, so there would be less water that needed to be removed in the racks. The only problem I had was sieving the small rocks, mica, roots, sticks, etc. from a thicker slurry. I had noticed that if I slam the sieve a few times the finer "clay" would go through. So I went ahead and poured the thick slurry through the sieve, and surprisingly about 75% went through the screen without assistance, but the remaining took a bit of additional water and steady pushing through. But it was quite a bit less water overall which was the aim. All this was probably just an excuse to be up at the kiln/studio complex during my favorite time of the day. I snapped off this shot just as the sun was going over the hill around 8 p.m.

I will be mixing a new batch of clay on Wednesday. Cheers.