Soda Firing #4
8 months later, here we are... To say there was a lot going on with our country at the time of this firing would be an understatement. In the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the resulting social justice movement explosion, and the height (at the time) of daily COVID-19 deaths, my conviction for writing a blog post about a soda firing diminished quite dramatically.
Cut to the present moment, where the country has just experienced a violent insurrection at the State Capitol by far right extremists (aka domestic terrorists), resulting in the president's unprecedented 2nd impeachment, all the while the country continually suffering over 3000 COVID-19 deaths per day. One memer got it right when they suggested that "2021 just told 2020 to hold its beer."
On a personal level, 2020 snagged me right at the end when I shattered my left tibia in a snowboarding accident. For the last two weeks I've been riding the couch and frankly consuming way too much of the news. I've decided it's time to finish what I started and share with y'all my notes on my final two soda firings at the Red Lodge Clay Center.
I will do my best to be as detailed as possible, but I presume there will be some gaps after having waited so long to get this stuff down on paper, if you will. Okay let's jump in.
I made up a whole lotta clay body and slip tests for this firing. I was beginning to incorporate Goldart as a fireclay, adding wollastonite to see its color effects, and also molochite to see how effective it is in curbing shrinkage.
Firing #4 Details:
I remember some first-peek disappointment with this firing. My eye gravitated toward some anemic looking pots that seemed to have somehow gotten oxidized. I also noticed how some of the porcelain pots that were wadded on the red wadding registered almost no color in their marks. The most disappointing thing being the clay and slip tests. With a firing that was so far off from what I would have wanted, the information from the tests was almost worthless.
Admittedly, after shutting down this firing I lost a bit of focus. A few of the other residents and I built a camp fire out behind the studio and were making some delicious stuffed waffle cone smores. I was running back and forth between the fire and the kiln for my downfire stokes. I think I may have reoxidized for too long, too early on a couple of times. Another theory is that I didn't maintain enough reduction in the kiln post-body redux. When I came in in the morning to start the kiln and realized that the burner had gone out, I was really bummed because being behind a couple of hundred degrees potentially meant a few more hours worth of firing. With that in the back of my mind, I think I gave the burners too much air on the way up in order to compensate and catch up to the regular schedule.
My notes for the next round included:
I wish I had a ton of awesome clay tests to show you from this firing, but sadly they were a bust. Hopefully there was some helpful info in this post otherwise, though! I hope to get the 5th and final installment out shortly.