Santatsugama Unloaded!

We went and unloaded Santatsugama yesterday, and it looks like everyone got some wonderful results. We had to make an early start after a late 4th of July party, but it was completely worth it. I’m very happy with my work from this firing.  There was lots of carbon trapping, resulting in ghostly looking grey blues in addition to the beautiful gloss orange red that we’ve been getting recently.  However, the black flashes that we’d been seeing recently were much less prominent.  We think this was due to difference in atmospheric conditions in the kiln during the cooling, but that’s another post.

Fresh Kiln goodies

As I said, I think it was a good firing.  One very sad thing though is that Erin’s cabbage jars self-destructed.  Some clays just don’t do well in this kiln, and will shatter unprovoked as they cool.  Each cabbage jar would come out, look beautiful, and then “ping” itself into a pile of leaves.  Hopefully we’ll see some surviving ones in the future.  Here’s a sneak peek as to some of what I got out.  I’ll be doing formal documentation photograph over the course of the next week.  I also have a fair amount of cleaning up and mixed media work still to go, especially with the big guy.

sneak peek!

sneak peek!

Also, like the loading,  I took stop motion video of the unloading.  It followed the whole unloading (3 hours instead of 2 days), and compacts down into 5 minutes.  It’s pretty fun to see.  (Fun fact.  I broke my gorilla pod during the filming of the video.  It just plain wore out from overuse after 3 months.  I’m hard on tech.  When I broke my old camera after a year, I’d taken 9,000 photos with it).  Anyway, enjoy the video.  If you go to the youtube page for it, there should be higher quality version.  (It takes about a day for the high quality option to show up)

Back from the firing

As the title suggests, I’m back from the wood firing!  It went quite well.  We went for around 110 hours including reduction cooling.  We decided to keep the kiln a little cooler this time, and topped out at 2380°f in front, and about 2360°f in back.  We dropped cone 13 in front, (ceramics measures firings in cones, something I’ll explain at another time) and reached cone 12 or so in the middle and back.  In the past couple firings we’ve hit 2450°f, and dropped cone 14, but decided that was a bit hot for the results we were looking for.

This firing, the front of the kiln was loaded far looser than we’ve ever had it, while the back was very tight.  It will be interesting to see how this effects the results.  The firing was very even in temperature, and so many of the pieces looked positively juicy with melted ash.  I hope it comes out well, but I’ll have to wait a week to find out.

There will be a lot of fun videos and pictures appearing in the next few days, so stay tuned!