Summer Kiln Opening, Firing 97, Mark Hewitt Pottery.

We were fortunate to have a mild summer's day for the firing; it was hot, but not obscenely so, and the kiln went up just fine. We weren't so lucky for the unloading, however. The air was so thick and sticky it felt like I was swimming in tar pit. I think we each lost about 5lbs in water that day. It takes us a whole week to load the kiln and just a single day to unload. 

View into the firebox, early on in the firing.

It's always a day of mixed emotions; excitement mingling with disappointment, sweat mingling with blood (from nicks on sharp wads or ceiling stalagtites), and fine pots mingling with wasters. It is heavy work, moving all the kiln shelves and furniture out, as well as all the pots. We were all exhausted at the end of the day, but relieved with the results. Upon first glance it seemed like a good firing, and once we delved deeper, we found that it was an excellent firing all told. 

Matt Hallyburton side stoking the kiln.

Flames out of one of the stoke holes.

The firing crew. Top row: Stillman Browning-Howe, Me, Joe Sink. Below: Luke Wheeler, Mark Hewitt, Matt Hallyburton.

It's been an enjoyable summer cycle of making at the Hewitt Pottery, with a little extra time than usual to make pots and experiment with new forms. The International Wood-Fire Conference (that Mark helped organise) took place in Seagrove and provided a chance to see a wide range of wood-fired pottery, listen to talks about all manner of ceramics-related topics, and draw inspiration from the wider community. 

The "Great Pots" show at the Pottery Center was particularly useful; with over 150 pots from the traditions of North and South Carolina. To get to examine some of those old pots up closeparticularly the surfaces of Solomon Loy and Chester Webster's incised decorationswas a real treat. previous post of mine showed some of these pots with descriptions etc. The wood-fire conference as a whole was inspiring, and it prompted me to try various new forms such as rundlets, egg vases, and boxes.

Two of my rundlets (for whisky) and a squared off vase with heron incised decoration.

Is that a heron in a top hat? Yes. Yes it is.

Without further ado, I'll reel out the pictures of the kiln opening. The first weekend of the sale took place last weekend; the second is this coming weekend. The hours are 9-5 Saturday 2nd September and noon-5 Sunday 3rd September.

Mark addressing the morning crowd.

People prepared with baskets!

The procession down to the barn.

Customers scrambling to get the pots they liked best.

The seconds table. Always a bargain to be found here!

I'll start with pics of Mark's work and then some of mine and Stillman's. First up, the biggest of the bunch... 

Mark's big pots.

Big pot. Mark Hewitt.

Big pot. Mark Hewitt.

Big pot. Mark Hewitt.

Big planter. Mark Hewitt.

Big pot. Mark Hewitt.

Customers in the inner barn.

Classic Mark Hewitt decoration: manganese slip lines and white slip dots.

Ash glazed wares by Mark Hewitt

Ten Gallon vase by Mark Hewitt.

Display of some of Mark's celadon work.

More pots by Mr. Hewitt.

Cutomers contemplating the ten gallon pieces.

A few rare yellow glazed pots.

Hot peppers on a salty platter.

Some wall vases by Mark Hewitt.

Vase by Mark Hewitt from right in the front stack of the kiln.

Drippy black slip! 

Classic cookie jar of Mark's.

Ten gallon jar by Mark Hewitt.

Celadon plates by Mark Hewitt.

Dotty decorations. Flatware by Mark Hewitt.

Two of Mark's side plates.

More plates by Mark Hewitt.

Mark's platters hanging on the side of the workshop. These came out particularly well, so I have included a picture of each below.

Platter 1. Mark Hewitt.

Platter 2. Mark Hewitt.

Platter 3. Mark Hewitt.

Platter 4. Mark Hewitt.

Now some apprentice pots...

Fishy bud vase of Stillman's.

One of my 3/4lb honey jars.

Flowers in one of Stilly's bud vases.

Planters arranged for sale. Morning sun casting long shadows.

Nice bit of ash on this one of mine.

Loopdy loops.

Some of my mixing bowls.

One of my quart pitchers.

Mixture of shooters made by Stillman and I.

Mostly Stilly shooters.

Full shelves ready for the sale!

Stillman posing with one of his cute little bud vases.

One of my egg vases, sgrafitto decoration.

One of my handled bottles.

One of my sunflower quart pitchers. I was decorating these at the height of the sunflower bloom.

Another egg vase. Love the salty finish on this one.

Creme Brûlée dishes made by Stillman. He makes a damnably fine creme brûlée too.

A couple of my small footed bowls.

Some of my side plates (first batch) and wasabi dishes.

Custard cups made by Stillman.

One of Stilly's custard cups with loopdy-loop decoration.

More apprentice pots.

One of my two-part vases. 

Trio of my celadon mugs.

A group of cups intimidating a poor little honey jar.

Two of my bottles behind one of Stillman's.

One of my little boxes, with blue glass on top.

Pots pots pots.

One of my heron mugs, inscribed: "Hey Baby, Nice Legs."

One of Stillman's egg vases to end on.