Dinosaurs, Glazes, and Waiting
I found this guy while I was shopping for Tupper ware. Now, you may note that he is not, in fact, a plastic storage container, and you would be correct. But he was quiet possibly the coolest thing I found at the store.
I personally never had a piñata as a child, and I only have vague memories of attempting, and failing, to hit one, and then the mad rush when the candy fell to the ground, only to find that not only was it weird candy, but it was now very dirty. These memories may not be mine; it is very possible that they are either something I imagined or something I commandeered from some sort of tv/movie scene. Either way, my general feelings of piñatas are that of disappointment. Disappointment in my lack of physical skill, disappointment in my peers lack of sharing tendencies, and severe disappointment in dirty dusty candy. I do strongly believe, however, that if that possibly mythical piñata had been a stegosaurus piñata everything would have gone drastically and fabulously differently.
So segue, I got back two of my frogs from the kiln on Friday. The process I use requires two firings: one to harden the piece, the bisque fire, and the other to glaze and fully vitrify, or solidify the clay. These frogs had been glazed and look like this.
I think that I am happy with the coloring and only disappointed in the lack of texture, but I did double glaze them, so it’s possible that, with less glaze, the texture will be more prominent.
The kilns lacked the space to fire all six of my patiently waiting frogs. Unfortunately, in a frustrating turn of events, despite a shelving unit full of pieces, they also lack the pieces to fill the space of a second load. So only two were fired, the four remaining sleep quietly amongst the plates and bowls, mugs and tiles, waiting for their adventure.
While they wait, I have sent many more off to be bisqued, and I have arranged for more still to be fired in a soda fire. I am not very familiar with the results of this type of firing mixed with the clay body I have been working in.
Soda fires are named such for the soda ash that is sprayed mid fire. It affects both the glaze chemistry and the bare surface of the clay. A piece that is completely bare, that is void of any glaze, would exit the firing looking as if it had been glazed, in its entirety, in a thin caramel to coffee colored glaze. The clay body I used is high in iron and when completely vitrified is very dark. The iron also leaches into the glaze, often making it darker. I have glued pieces of glass to some pieces in the hopes that the glue lasts long enough that the glass doesn’t fall off, and the glass is colorful enough that, if my frogs turn nearly black, it will be a colorful black.
I get only one chance at this soda fire, and it’s one of the last chances I will get to finish any pieces before I relocate to Martha’s Vineyard for the summer. So, it is with a deep breath and fingers crossed that I send a large majority of my frogs off to face the soda fire.
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