Bowls Before Work 2/25/2021

Critical Tasks: Complete 2 throwing Session and Sleep for work 12 hour nights at the paper factory. <– Completed

 

Secondary Tasks: Cover work so pots don’t dry out to fast. <—Completed

 

If I was living yesterday a second time:
I would have done everything the same as far as clay work and glad I stuck it out making the bowls. I also think I would have made better decisions at work troubleshooting.

 

Things I enjoyed:
I had a nice cup of coffee and some raisin bread at 4:00 am on quick break my wife packed. Also when I left work in the morning at 6: 00 am it was a full moon. In some strange way I enjoyed all the action at work. I did meet my goal of tossing 50 lbs of bowls before work the last 6 were the hardest as I was getting happy for it to be the end but felt great that I met the goal. Like a runner sprinting in the last stretch of the race to some finish line.

 

My story summary:
I was able to compete 2 throwing sessions of bowls in the morning before sleeping for night shift at the paper factory. I now have over 100 for the Spring show and now can start bakers. We had a bad time at work due to issues. I didn’t get to many breaks as things kept going bad. I think after a long time even the hardships are looked back on as enjoyable.

A Family Visit – 2/24/2021

Critical tasks:

I had the day off from the paper factory and I was planning to have 3 two hour sessions throwing bowls for my Spring open studio show. <— Got in one session of 18 bowls as I shut down for the mom visit.

Secondary Tasks:

Unload kiln/ update my website/ unlock my sales tax account <— Completed

I had to move everything as mom stopped by. When dad & mom stop by I shut the whole place down as mom is 86 and loves to be a big part of everything. We chatted a whole bunch over coffee and tea and then went to the little diner in town for lunch. Before they came I got all the secondary tasks done and took a break to answer questions facebook. I then had a throwing session from 9 pm to 10 pm and made up 18 soup bowls.

If I was living yesterday a second time:

I would have still shut down the whole place for the Mom and Dad visit. As they are the best parents ever and got us into all types of things and still are there for all of us as they are able. We had a real fun time as kids even though we were broke. I think I could have done a throwing session in the morning before they showed up to get at least one more critical task done as if I am not making pots on the wheel that means the amount of pots I would like to have for the show are not getting done. I would have still unloaded the bisque fire as that went real long due to everything steaming out.

Things I enjoyed:

I enjoyed visiting and having lunch out with my Mum and Dad and Mum said she would be up to help me with the Spring show and said she had an outfit pick out to match the glazes I would be running, as dad rolled his eyes. Haaa!. So come hell or high water that show will happen for that reason alone and will be worth it even if I only sell one thing. I had a fun time updating the website.

My Story Summary:

Family is very important to me. I found I can now toss 18 pots and hour with at 1.5 lbs is just a bit over a bag of clay. My wife had a great idea on bundling pots. My ideal customer Mrs. Davis loves bundles of things so Holiday bundles might be the way to go.

A Wet Kiln Firing – 2/23/2021

Yesterday I had the day off from my job at the paper factory. At 8:00 am I went and filled 3 gas canisters at Tractor Supply because they charge by the gallon and not by the fill and it’s much cheaper. They also fill them all the way up. I loaded 10 raku pots for bisque and could not fit all 13 in. I normally fire with a full shelf 1.5 inches down from the lid but the pots were to tall so I over fired the bottom to make up for it. They will be fine as they are somewhat large raku.

I ran a 2 hour warm up to let the kiln steam out a bit and went through the firing process. Hour 2 I found a leak at the tank nozzle and had to switch it out and restart the firing. I did a slow climb until the cone 06 bent all the way down at 5:00pm.

I got no other critical tasks completed as the gas kiln needs to be monitored every 30 min which is how I caught the leak. Some of the pots were a bit heavy also but having them on the woodstove was a huge time saver and help in drying them.

If I was living a second time:

I would have held off the firing until today as I could have used the day to throw and trimmed pots today between checks. I would have help to pull that person out of the ditch as 10 years ago a kind guy did the same for me. Knocking on doors 6 am to ask to borrow a chain. Out there that was a good way to get shot at but kind and I never forgot. In the winter out here a person should always have winter clothing, boots, gloves, snow shovel and chain in the trunk. I took out all that to load in the propane tanks. I would have got hoses to connect to the large tank as driving to get propane is a huge effort and time loss.
Things I enjoyed:
I enjoyed steaming out that wet kiln even though it was more effort and seemed to take a bit longer. Between checks I watch youtube instructional videos and spent time with the wife. After the kiln went down The wife and I went out to eat and food shopping. I talked to my sister from Update NY for 30 min. When My wife was ready I went in the store to help a bit as I try to stay out of the way. She lets me pick out the Mrs. Dash seasoning, meats , and coffee.

On the way home there was a lady who was stuck real bad in a ditch. I drove home and got my snow shovel and chain and winter gear while my wife unloaded the groceries. Then I went back out and a few other were there with one chain but it was not long enough. I used my shovel and with my chain added the two kids that stopped were able to show off a bit by pulling the lady out. So in short they had a truck pull at 9:00pm on a corner. They must have known each other as they were talking a bit of smack and the one kid said that he would let the other guy go first and finish the job when they both end up stuck..I’m thinking maybe a Ford/Chevy riverly.

My Story Summary:

Getting scheduled tasks completed can be a challenge. There will be plenty of resistance to working new ways and getting use to keeping on track.  There is only so much time in the bank and you should spend each penny of they in ways that are productive and enjoyable. If you do not make your own journey and plan others will make them for you no trouble. But you may regret not having a choice in the matter later.  What hero’s journey are you on?

 

A Wet Kiln – 2/22/2021

Yesterday after 12 hours work at the paper plant I had dinner with my wife for an hour then had to dig out my gas kiln Hera from the snow bank.

I realized I also left my shelves out there and the lid was stuck. I put the burner under and ran it on low for 2 hours to warm things up and to u freeze the lid. I also had to build a fire in the big wood stove to dry the shelves but all the wood was wet from being buried in the snow. I had to use my winter camping skills to start the wet wood by splitting it enough to give the flame a dry edge to start. I put the shelves inside to dry out.

If I were living today a second time:

I would have covered everything before we had snow and brought the shelves inside. As it took until 1am to get done. Huge effort loss on time. I also need to put up a kiln shed ASAP and get my big kiln Rosie hooked up to the big tank.

The things I enjoyed:

I was reading “Indestractable” by Nir Eyal on my breaks. I took the scenic route home from work and watched a YouTube show with the wife. I also did enjoy all my sufferings in some strange way. I super need to get it together. Hope to get the bisque firing going.

My story summary:

I have a huge problem with effort loss due to poor planning and decision making that is costing me a ton of money effort and time. Also I need to weigh opportunity cost. Just because it sounds like a good idea it does not mean it will be.

Bowls Trimmed –2/21/2021

I think I did a bit better today showing up for myself. I worked 12 hours at the paper factory and had those 50 bowls drying out I was able to get 36 trimmed so I would have tiles to toss more tomorrow. I planned to work from 8pm to 10pm for myself but fell asleep a bit.

If I were living a second time I would have ordered another load of wood for the stove as I was freezing my tail off. You can trim pots with a glove on.

Today I enjoyed dinner with my wife and trimming the pots. I’ll see how tomorrow goes.

I need a life plan I think. If you don’t have one others will waste not time in making one for you.

54 Bowls Done –2/20/2021

I was able to get 54 bowls done for the Spring 2012 Show. I could do another 20 but should spend time talking to my wife and petting the cats and all. I was up early and should have started at 8:00 am but goofed around on social media until 10:00 am. I need to show up for myself on time. I show up on time when working my job but not for myself.

I need to practice more with that. But overall I did get 3 primary task throwing sessions in. If I’m throwing that means I am making pots for people to enjoy and not being defined by my job at the paper factory.

If I wrote my obituary and read it every day I might remember to get off facebook and get into the studio.

Kick the winter blues for some greens here at Creek Road Pottery on The Bunny Trail 2021
March 19th -21st 9:00 A.M. -3:00 P.M.
Spring is a great time to bake a casserole or shepards pie with a warm bowl of homemade soup on the side. When these comfort foods are baked and served in authentic handmade local pottery
it’s a great way to live a lifestyle with art that’s affordable.
I am currently creating bowls & bakers here at the pottery to help you enjoy those dishes of early Spring like you saved on your pinterest board.
Stop in and say hello! I very much enjoy being your local pot dealer.
Artist/Owner
Al Wayman
Creek Road Pottery LLC

Through The Fire Collection: A Raku Pottery / Metal Jewelry Collaboration

Slanted Art Co-op Gallery Montrose , PA
March 18 6:00 P.M. EST. – April 12 6:00 P.M. E.S.T.

I am happy to announce I am currently creating a body of raku pots in collaboration with metal jewelry artist Kathleen Taylor that will be on display at the Slanted Art Co-Op Gallery in Montrose, PA for the month of March.
The pandemic has taken a toll on all of us in ways we may not realize. We have been pushed to our limits at times as we traveled through our infernos. But the fires can also refine us.
May we all take time to see ourselves and each other, with community and collaboration, to recognize how the fires can make us all stronger and more beautiful.
I do hope you all enjoy this specialized collection of raku and metal handmade art. And may each one of you break forth to behold the stars in the new year.
“e quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle” – Inferno, by Dante Alighieri, Canto 34

It’s not just pottery, but a lifestyle with art that’s affordable.

20160822

Carbon coring or “black coring” can be an issue when firing clay bodies. While doing some experiments with reduction firings I had many pots that were cracking in the process and had no idea why. It seemed that the cracks were from fast cooling, as they were clean breaks through the glaze with sharp edges. Little did I know that this cracking was caused by carbon coring or “black coring”. I did some comparisons wth cross sections of the broken pots and noticed that this discoloration did not happen in my oxidation firings but only in reduction. I dug out my ceramic books and searched online to find out what this issue might be.

Shattered By Black Coring

While researching I found a post by the Lugna Clay company entitled ” Bloating and Black Coring”, which seem to suggest that I may need to bisque fire my clay body properly.  The theory behind the article suggested that not all the carbon was burned out of the clay body and the kiln also may need to be vented better in the bisque firing. The clay body I was using was AMACO high-fire warm brown 58-M stoneware clay. I only had issues with bloating when I accidently overfire it a few times on the bottom shelves while trying to reach cone 6 in the middle of the kiln.  The clay body was high in iron content which, I later found, created the issue with black coring when I reduced the updraft kiln to produce a body reduction. The iron in the clay and the reduction process was a bad combination and would produce a bad kiln load of pots.  Bowls shattered as they cooled.

Black Coring – The Cause

The answer to the problem came from an excellent research report entitled “Calcium and sulphur distribution in red clay brick in the presence of a black reduction core using micro X-ray fluorescence mapping”. by L.Gredmaier, C.J.Banks , and R.B. Pearce. These findings can be found on page 2 and 3 of this report:

“The following factors determine the extent of black reduction coring in red clay ware:

- Firing time – a longer ring time can eliminate the black reduction core.

- The oxygen atmosphere during ring. Lack of oxygen promotes the formation of black reduction cores.

- Iron oxide content in the raw clay.

- Carbon content and burnout or oxidation of carbon during firing of the raw clay.”

The research in this report stated also that the red iron oxide was converting to magnetite.

To the potter, according to “The Potter’s Dictionary of Materials & Techniques” by Frank and Janet Hamer, on page 26,  means this conversion created weakness to the clay body caused the clay to vitrify at a lower temperature due to the red iron oxide and carbon converting to black iron oxide and carbon dioxide, which creates an active flux . The pots become brittle and fragile.  One mug I took from this load popped apart while I poured coffee in it as a test, sending shards across the table, because it could not withstand the thermal shock due to black coring.

Black Coring – The Solution

The solutions to black coring from the article link to above would be to use a clay body with less iron content.  Also, it is suggested that bisque firings should be slower and to the correct temperature to allow carbon burn out.  I personally found that in my high iron clay body, if I skipped the body reduction of the firing and reduced the kiln towards the end of the firing, I still got reduction glazes to look great without black coring.

If any of you who read this have found this helpful or have your own findings, feel free to leave a comment!

 

 

20160512_185726
Al Wayman
Artist /Owner
Creek Road Pottery LLC

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Firing out the Amaco AG40 is great for raku , but I sure had issues with the higher temperatures.  When I was working towards my degree and also was an apprentice at a pottery when I  found a little Amaco AG40 updraft kiln in the classified section of the paper.  The kiln was owned by older gentlemen and hobby potter about two hours from where I lived.  This gentleman had the kiln installed above his garage he was using as a studio.  He had a ventilation fan that came with the kiln and everything was in great condition.  A family member and I loaded this little kiln onto a truck and carefully drove it home.

The kiln had no instruction manual, and we had to learn how to light it from the label on the side.  We had the gas company bring out two tanks and connected both with 2 lines running into one hose with a connection to the regulator.  After following the directions, we were able to fire the burner and bring the kiln to life. That summer, and for the next two years would use the little kiln to run a raku line of pots.  Those were the best summers.  We ran a Spring and Fall show with demonstrations for the public.  It was three days of fire, smoke, and pottery.

 

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Dusting off the AG40 Updraft

After graduating with a B.F.A. in Ceramics and leaving the pottery, I put all my equipment into storage. I had to find work to pay off student loans.  When my wife and I bought our home, I put in a small clay studio with the encouragement of friends and family who were into the wet shaving hobby.  These friends wanted lather bowls and brush handles.  I hooked up my little Amaco Kiln again and looked online for a manual. Amaco was able to send me an old manual.   I only fired this kiln to a midrange temperature with this kiln once but could not remember the schedule to repeat it.  The manual had a suggested firing schedule, so I started tinkering.

I had the gas company come and hook up a tank large enough to prevent freezing.  The first few firing were terrible simply because I was not able to properly regulate how much gas was going to the kiln’s burners and I had a broken gauge.  I started with a simple bisque fire but knew I had to make some repairs before I went to a full first firing.

At times I was almost ready to roll the kiln over the bank.  I had a whole cone or more difference in temperature between the bottom and top, with the bottom shelf being hotter.  The kiln would also stall out.  So I saved up some money and bought a converter kit.  The kit had a stand with an updraft burner which allowed hookup to a twenty-pound propane tank.  This helped out a great deal because I now had more control over the amount of gas and temperature of the kiln because this had a gauge that worked.

With the conversion kit, I now went back to square one and used the firing schedule out of the manual and completed a midrange firing.  I still had a large temperature difference between the top and bottom.  To fix this issue, I widened the glaze firing range so that the top of the kiln would not fall under fire.  I was able to get a few good pots using this method; that is until I accidently overfired on Christmas day.

Over Firing The Amaco AG40

Meet the Kilns

On Christmas Eve 2015 I prepped and glazed a load of shave bowls that I wanted to have completed as Christmas gifts.  I wanted to wrap those gifts right from the kiln for dramatic purposes and hand them out a few days later. Glazing ran later than expected and the firing stalled out climbing to cone 5/6.  I left it run for an hour longer than usual, but the cone was not bending.  I realized that the gas had dropped off.  After fixing the issue, I went back inside. It was now 3 am Christmas morning, and I had an alarm set to go off every 15 minutes, but instead it went off after another 45 minutes.  While I nodded off with”visions of sugar plums dancing in my head” the little Amaco AG40 was over firing.

I jolted awake and looked at the time and realized the problem, then rushed to the kiln and looked through the peephole.  The bottom shelf was running real hot, and the middle shelf cone was now all the way down.  Thinking I caught it in time I started the 2-hour cooling cycle the manual recommended. All was fine until I opened the kiln about 30 hours later.

The bottom shelf was severely warped with cone 5/6 clay pots melted to it. It appeared that the shelf might have gone to cone 9 or 10.  The second shelf of pots had blister marks in them, so I suspect this shelf reached cone 7/8.  The top shelf was perfect.  I was able the salvage five good shave bowls to give to friends.

All of this was great practice on how quickly things can escalate even if minor adjustments are made.  I am still working out temperature differences, and the little Amaco AG40 needs new bricks and repair work done.  But the kiln has grown on me, and I enjoy firing it out in both reduction and oxidation firings.

Click here for the manual for those who may need it. It’s quite old but had some good information in it.  If you would like to add your experiences or tips concerning the Amaco AG40 or updraft kilns in general, feel free to comment!

 

20160512_185726
Al Wayman
Artist /Owner
Creek Road Pottery LLC