Two years of experimenting has left me with a nice batch of “greenware”, which simply means mud in the shape of pots. Never get too attached to something created on the wheel, especially in the early stages. The lip on one pot just crumbled when picked up by the edge. Luckily, clay is recyclable and it went back into the reclaim bucket to become mud, and eventually another pot.
So now I it’s time to “paint” my pots! Except I quickly learned it is called glazing for a reason. And that the pots weren’t actually ready for glazing. Again, with the help of Veryle Lynn, we prepared for a “bisque firing”.
My complete naivete in working with clay became evident once again. Apparently, you don’t just throw the pots into the big kiln and turn it on. Luckily, Veryle Lynn knew to ask if I had “kiln furniture” before coming over to show me how to work the kiln. The answer was no, and she brought her shelves and posts so that I could fire these pots. (Kiln furniture is not tables and chairs, but special shelves and posts.)
Watching her stack the shelves and load the kiln was a revelation for me. Slow and steady was the name of the game, with a precision of movement that was unfamiliar to my go get ‘em, git r done style. Indeed, the very reason that pots would break in my hand was because I failed to respect the delicacy and care they deserved. So I learned to take a deep breath, slow my movements and we filled the kiln with my first work.
Veryle Lynn now shared the practice of keeping a “firing log”, in order to remember everything from time, temperature, size of load, results, the whole nine yards. Suddenly I realized that working with clay is one gigantic scientific experiment!