Friday, February 17, 2012

My enemy, my friend

by Kelli Pope

In my journey to make all handmade components, I fell in love with ceramic beads, and started making my own. As you may recall, I got VERY excited last summer when I was able to invest in my own kiln. (I had a WONDERFUL friend who had been firing my beads for me, up to that point.) The kiln has been calling to me for months! But with shows and special orders, Christmas and work, I just haven't had a chance to stop and make beads to fire.


Finally, last week I spent the entire weekend at my sister's, buried myself in clay, and made beads, beads, pendants, beads and more beads!!! SO EXCITING!!!!!!!!!!! I couldn't wait to get home on Monday and finally put my investment, my friend, my kiln into action and fire my very own beads!!

a few of my red clay beads and pendants


some of the stoneware creations and my favorite, the black clay


As I'm sure you can tell, all of my work (above is just a fraction of what I made) is still in the green ware stage. While I spent time with a potter a while back, did some research, picked Miss Mary Ann Carroll's brain, and learned some of the lingo, I was not prepared for the science that is kiln firing. I've read the kiln manual, and re-read the kiln manual. Silly me, I just expected it to give me specific firing directions..... "turn on kiln" "for bisque fire, set temperature to cone......." .... sigh... It was not to be. Looks like there may be some trial and error with temperatures and time. So, while I was so very excited to show you my latest work........ we'll just have to settle for the "green" stage for now. Hopefully, with a little help from my friends, and a lot more research, I'll conquer the enemy.. um.... I mean the kiln... and have some finished pieces for the next blog! Wish me luck!! I WILL prevail!! :o) And for all of you experienced potters out there, you have my utmost respect and admiration!


What obstacles have you had to conquer for your art?

12 comments:

Izzy said...

I am loving those little owls...

stacilouise said...

Bronze clay is a little like that too. It has firing directions, but if it over cooks you have to lower temp, under cooks, raise it, and to fire multiple thicknesses in one load, its all about placement in the kiln and carbon. so I have lost quite a few pieces a long the way!!! Good luck, the beads really look amazing. Have fun! It will be all that more wonderful once you figure it all out.

Yolanda M. said...

Cute little owls and birds. I had to conquer the kiln too.... once you get the hang of it you'll never look back, seems hard but one day it finally clicks in. What kind of kiln do you have? shoot me a message if you need help.

Marsha Hedrick said...

Firing ceramic is not rocket science. Don't let it frighten you. Its not all that difficult. You do have to pay attention to the temp a clay will take and fire it appropriately but after that it is pretty forgiving and its not all that difficult.

Spirited Earth said...

i've got the old style kiln..no programing..with that, it's about knowing your materials..how your clay will react to the glazes you've chosewn and the thick and thiness of your glaze applications..and that must be learned by doing it...stamp out some cabs with texture and fire away..you'll learn a lot.

Kalaya Steede said...

Wishing you loads of luck in your journey with the kiln! :-p

Kelli said...

2:45 Fri afternoon, and the KILN IS ON!!! :) Fingers crossed on the first bisque firing! Thanks for the help Mary Ann!!!!
Staci - my next attempt is bronze clay! I've had some in the fridge forever! When I bought it I didn't realized it couldn't just be torch fired like Silver clay.
- Thanks Izzy! I think they turned out pretty good. A close friend of mine asked me to make her an owl necklace this past summer. I was going to buy a cool handmade bead from another artist, but she wanted to wait for one of mine! Hope she likes it!

Clamworks said...

Clay beads are pretty forgiving. I have a manual kiln with a dial (1 through 10,) and no thermometer. I go at 3 for an hour, 6 for an hour, and then 9 until the cone bends. Not very scientific, but it works for me :)
Be sure to post pics when they're done...the designs you came up with are awesome!

mairedodd said...

best luck - everything looks wonderful...

Kelli said...

Saturday afternoon, and the 2nd bisque firing is underway !! :)
1st run came out great! I just finished glazing them, and hope to do my first glaze firing tomorrow!! Thanks everyone for all of the encouragement!!!
Yolanda, I have a table top Olympic Test kiln with a 3-key electronic timer.

Stacie Florer said...

My second favorite medium is clay after metal...I used to have a studio in a clay making spot and fell in love with it...low fire clays are also fun...can't wait to see your finished products!

Shaiha said...

One of my biggest issue right now is the bone spurs on my right elbow. Any wirewrapping including just the tiny bits needed for earrings makes it to where I can't even pick up a cup of tea for the next couple days. I go in for a consult at the beginning on march thank goodness.

face
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...