Pots and Skeletons in the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave, Belize.

A visit into the deep, dark ATM Cave in Western Belize near San Ignacio. All about our adventure seeing the archeological artefacts, skeletons, pottery and incredible stalactites and stalagmites of the cave.

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All About Ceramics Crazing: Why Glazes Craze And How To Avoid Crazing


At the Hewitt Pottery we have been developing some glazes using local granites with a high felspatic content. The glazes are beautiful and sparkly but we have experienced some issues with crazing, so during our recent snowstorm, I spent some time reading through books and looking online to see what I could glean. I wanted to share the sum of what I have learned here in three sections: 1) Why is crazing a concern?, 2) Why causes crazing?, and, 3) What can we do to eliminate crazing?

1) Why is crazing a concern? 

Crazing can be an attractive feature of a pot and is often called "crackle" when intentionally used, such as on this tea bowl:

Intentional crazing, or "white crackle" glaze, on a tea bowl by Richard Brandt.

There are reasons why crazing is not ideal for functional pottery, however. Crazed pots may leak if the clay body is not totally vitrified, and potentially be unsanitary as bacteria can grow in the cracks. Structurally, crazing is also an issue as Michael Cardew points out in Pioneer Pottery, (p. 84), "It has been proved that glaze fit has a major effect on strength."

Cardew describes an experiment (recorded by Bettany and Webb in the British Ceramic Society's publication Transactions. Vol 40, p. 316), in which rods of porcelain are treated three different ways: some are left unglazed, some are dipped in a crazing glaze, and some in a sound glaze. The results after firing showed the comparative strengths of the rods in the proportions 40 : 100 : 160 (crazed : unglazed : sound). The results indicate that "vitreous ware with a non-crazing glaze may be three to four times stronger than ware which is crazed." Furthermore, a properly glazed pot will have a greater resistance to thermal shock. As a potter engaged in producing functional pottery, strength and resistance to thermal shock are important qualities, especially when one considers the competition of industrially produced wares.

The ideal, as Daniel Rhodes puts it in Clay and Glazes for the Potter (p. 255), for maximum durability and fit, "a glaze should be in slight compression over the body." See the kitten sweater below... it should be just a little bit snug for optimal cuteness.

This is Mango (not our cat, unfortunately).


2) What causes crazing?

John Colbeck (Pottery Materials, p. 61) says, "Crazing occurs when, on cooling, a body does not shrink more than the glaze." In other words, the glaze shrinks more than the body. It's as if Mango the kitten jumped into a tumble drier wearing her knitted sweater; the sweater would likely shrink more than her body and it would be quite a squeeze. This analogy doesn't totally work... but I wanted to include a picture of a cat in a sweater.

If you have a glaze that shrinks less than the clay body, then you can experience shivering, although this is more rare than crazing. {Side note from Michael Cardew on the difference between these defects: "It is always easy to tell the difference between shivering and crazing. Sometimes mild shivering may look like crazing, but the cracks are not on the surface of the glaze only; they can be seen right through the body" (p. 86).}

Crazing is not related to the shrinkage rate of the clay. As Rhodes points out (p. 255), all of the shrinkage happens when the wares are heating up. During the firing, whilst the pots are red hot and the glazes are still wet and molten, they fit the pots perfectly. It is upon the cooling of the kiln and the contraction of the wares that cracks form. The key point is that "some materials expand more when heated, and therefore contract more when cooling." This is called the coefficient of expansion. He goes on to say, "The cause of crazing, then, is always to be found in a high coefficient of expansion (and therefore contraction) in the glaze relative to the expansion of the body." I have copied out Rhodes' list (from English and Turner) of the expansion coefficients of some common materials used in ceramics:


SiO2          .05
Al2O3        .07
B2O3          .66
Na2O          4.32
K2O            3.90
PbO           1.06
ZnO           .07
CaO           1.63
MgO           .45
BaO           1.73


We can see from this list that oxides vary wildly in their coefficients of expansion: "Silica expands less than one eighteenth as much as sodium. Clay, being made up of alumina and silica, has a medium expansion; but some glazes, especially those high in soda, may have a high expansion" (p.255). So it's clear that your clay body and glazes will vary in their coefficients of expansion depending on the differing oxides present in them. Going into the science of this a bit deeper, we arrive at the formation of a substance called cristobalite. 


A Bit About Cristobalite:

John Colbeck explains (p. 62):

  • "Crazing needs to be considered in relation to clay bodies as well as glazes. The important factor to remember here is the role of cristobalite. Cristobalite, a crystalline form of silica, undergoes a contraction about 22°C (far below the temperature where glazes are molten). Cristobalite is formed quite slowly, at temperatures above 1,020°C, from the free silica which exists in bodies. It is not found in glazes because the free silica, whether high or low, react with fluxes to form the glaze solution. Thus bodies in which cristobalite has developed contract at 220°C as they cool, where glazes do not. It is this contraction of bodies which helps in the prevention of crazing by putting the cooling glaze under compression. Thus to diminish the tendency of a glaze to craze, any steps which assist the formation of cristobalite."

This leads nicely on to the important bit -- how to adapt glazes to reduce or eliminate crazing.

Two of my mugs from firing 96 at the Hewitt Pottery. If you look closely, you can see the crazing.


3) What can we do to eliminate crazing? 

Adapting your clay body:

Conventional wisdom suggests that adding silica to your clay body is the first port of call. Cardew says you can increase silica in either body or glaze, but that it tends to be more effective in the body.

Colbeck says you can assist the formation of cristobalite by adding silica to the body because this "will increase the free silica in it which is available to form cristobalite" (p. 62).

Rhodes agrees but warns, "bodies that contain more than about 25% of silica may be hard to fire without dunting or cracking." Conversely, bodies with "less than about 10% of silica... may be expected to be difficult to fit with glazes" (p. 256). There is clearly a sweet spot to be found with the amount of silica, and subsequently cristobalite, in your clay body. In A Potter's Book, Bernard Leach recommends 5-15% cristobalite in a body. He says this is enough to produce the cristobalite squeeze, "which exerts a centripetal compression on a glaze which tends to prevent crazing" (p.176). He notes that cristobalite can be cheaply acquired as powdered silica-brick waste.

Leach goes on, "the addition of powdered flint is usually the first alteration to a body to prevent crazing, but more important than an increase in quantity is a decrease in the particle size of silica." This is something that none of my other sources mentioned, but it is worth considering. He also mentions the option of increasing the cristobalite content using talc as "it acts as a catalyst and assists the transformation of silica" (p. 176). He also makes a distinction over vitrification; "in non-vitrified bodies the amount of flux should be increased and in non-vitrified bodies the reverse is true. Finally, in bodies which contain ball clay and china clay, the former should be increased, the latter decreased" (p. 177).

This advice is all well and good if you have the option of changing your clay body easily and testing it extensively, but many potters do not have this luxury. Changing the formulation of the glaze may be an easier option, or the only option.


Adapting your glaze:

The aim here is to reduce the coefficient of expansion of the glaze (to stop it contracting as much on cooling). This means adding oxides with low coefficients of expansion and decreasing some of the materials with higher coefficients of expansion. As Rhodes points out, this can be tricky "without altering the maturing temperature or appearance of the glaze" (p. 255). He recommends:

      1) increasing the silica
      2) decreasing the feldspar
      3) decreasing materials containing potash/soda
      4) increasing the boric oxide
      5) increasing the alumina

Leach also recommends increasing the silica content and possibly borax or raw boracalite (B2O3), and/or decreasing the alkaline content of the glaze.

Thinning down the glaze may also help reduce or eliminate crazing; as Colbeck says "thick layers of glaze are always more prone to crazing than thin" (p.62).

The website/database Digital Fire has some excellent articles on the subject. It recommends decreasing the potassium oxides and sodium oxides present in your glazes: these are typically found in potash feldspar, soda feldspars, nepheline syenite and frits. The issue with reducing your these is that the glaze may be less inclined to melt, so then you have to add some more flux and these adjustments may alter the look of the glaze. Digital Fire also recommends increasing your magnesium oxide. Talc and dolomite are excellent sources of MgO and purportedly effective at high temperatures, (for cone 6 you may want to use frits like Fusion F69 or Ferro 3249). They show one test where an addition of 10% talc helped eradicate crazing.

One of my teapots from Firing 96 at the Hewitt Pottery. The crazing is particularly obvious where the glaze is thick around the lid.


Final notes: 

You can tell how much your glaze does not fit your body by looking at the cracks: a network of lots of small cracks means you have greater stress than a few larger cracks. It is easier to fix the latter as you might expect.

Rhodes also posits that over firing can cause crazing, "if the firing has proceeded to the point where the free silica in the body has entered into glassy melts with the other materials, it does not go through any crystalline change upon cooling and so does not lose volume and put the glaze into compression" (p. 256).

Another issue can be removing pots from the kiln whilst they are still too hot: the kiln must be under 200°C. The heat shock of opening the kiln too soon or even putting wares atop of an oven/stove can induce crazing.

This post has been about primary crazing, but there is also such a thing as secondary crazing. This can happen with bodies which are not fully vitrified. Colbeck says porous bodies can "subsequently absorb water, causing the body to expand fractionally" (p. 62) which can craze a previously uncrazed glaze, months or even years after coming out of the kiln.

I don't want to end on a downer, but Daniel Rhodes does say that in glazes with a high content of "soda or potash in the form of feldspars, frits or raw alkalines," it may be "impossible to correct crazing without completely altering the character of the glaze" (p. 255). Our celadon glazes do contain a very high proportion of feldspar so the exercise could be tricky. It is worth a shot though -- especially if you have the ability to adjust your clay body as we do. I plan to test various methods and see what works best.



I hope some of this was helpful. Like a wise karate master from the movies, I leave you with these simple words...


Glaze on. Craze off. Glaze on. Craze off. Glaze on. Craze off. 





Works Cited


Cardew, Michael. Pioneer Pottery. London: A. & C. Black, 2002. 
Colbeck, John. Pottery Materials: Their Composition, Preparation and Use. London: Batsford, 1988.
Leach, Bernard. A Potter's Book. London: Faber and Faber, 1945. 
Rhodes, Daniel. Clay and Glazes for the Potter. Third ed. N.p.: Krause Publications, 2000. 



Mark Hewitt Pottery Spring 2016 Kiln Opening, Firing Kay

Our recent visit to England has somewhat slowed down my bloggering activities but now I have so much material and so many pictures to share. During our two week trip we were able to visit Svend Bayer, Clive Bowen, the pottery and museum at St Ives, and the Sainsbury's Centre (which has an amazing collection of Lucie Rie and Hans Coper pieces). Oh and an exhibition of Michael Cardew's pottery in Chipping Camden. I have my work cut out! But first I should put up some pics from our recent kiln opening.

This was a particularly exciting firing as the kiln was mostly filled with experimental glazes made using local materials. It was also Adrian's last firing as an apprentice at the Hewitt pottery. The firing went very smoothly and our expectations were mostly met by the results. The celadons and tenmokus were particularly dazzling, whilst the shinos proved a little trickier; some came out fantastically but others crawled. Overall we had some lovely results and a good sale. People responded well to the new glazes. At the end of the post I have included some pictures of my pots taken at Adrian's house with his flowtone backdrop. Personally I prefer seeing pots with a natural background such as a barn door or a grassy knoll, but in order to build a portfolio I am trying to document in a more professional manner.

Big pot by Mark Hewitt. This one is called "Mr Softie"
 
Empty kiln (apart from all the wads!)
Big pot by Mark Hewitt. I love the shape of this one.
Detail of the glass drip on this pot.
This one sold before the sale began.
Big pot by Mark Hewitt


The crowds arrive!
Marbled plate by Mark Hewitt.
Two part vase by Mark Hewitt. Regretting not snapping up this one-it was a super second.
Some little espresso cups I made.
Adrian and Patrick Rademaker (visiting up from Florida) stole my camera and blessed me with this picture of themselves, plus ruder versions!
Tableware by Mark Hewitt.
Jug/pitcher and mugs by Adrian King.
We have to write a little something for each kiln opening. Here's mine.
Droopy bellied sawanaky with shino glaze.
Cider jar/jug by Adrian King.
Celadon teapot by Adrian King.
White glazed vase with finger wiped decoration by Adrian King.
Heron scraffito tankard by Adrian King.
Two carbon trapped shino tankards by Adrian King.
Vase/wine vessel by Mark Hewitt. Ash glaze.
Celadons! Oh glorious celadons, by Mark Hewitt.
Big fat jar by Mark Hewitt. Tenmoku glaze.
Tableware by Mark Hewitt.
Nice tenmoku jar by Mark Hewitt.
Two part vases by Mark Hewitt.
A couple of my mugs. They have gone up from $9 to $15 this firing! Quite the increase!
Rows of my pots.
Casserole with lizard scraffito decoration.
The full inscription reads "Bernie is boss." If I could vote in the elections here it would definitely be for Bernie!
Display of my pots before the punters arrived.
Shooter, sawanaky and honey jar hanging out together.
Two of my tumblers. I like how the one on the right curves in at the top: I was aiming for this torpedo like shape.
Covered dish by Adrian King. You can use the lid as a bowl to eat from too.

I met this lovely lady at La Meridiana whilst she was on Mark's course. It is fun to catch up at kiln openings!
Some of Adrian's platters.
A rather handsome umbrella stand by Mark Hewitt.
A couple of my smaller casserole dishes.
And now on to the pictures I took using Adrian's flowtone background. Getting the light/highlights just right is an art I have yet to master but I think the results are alright. I would appreciate any feedback on the pics if you have any advice or suggestions.

Two part vase, celadon glaze.
Two part vase, tenmoku glaze over red slip decoration.
Sawanaky jar, shino gaze over red slip decoration.
Sawanaky jar, celadon glaze over red slip banding and scrafitto marks.
Vase, celadon glaze over red slip banding.
Two part vase, tenmoku glaze over red slip decoration.
Tumblers, tenmoku on the left, shino on the right
Barrel mugs, celadon glaze over red and white slip decorations.
Small bud vase, tenmoku glaze.
Shot glasses/shooters, celadon glaze with red slip dots under.
Large casserole dish, celadon glaze over red slip dots and lines.
Large three handled casserole with fish decoration, tenmoku glaze.
Small casserole dish, albany slip over red slip decoration.

Firing Kay, Mark Hewitt Pottery, Spring 2016

It was chilly when Evan, Stillman and I got down to the kiln at 5:40am. Adrian, Dustin and Sam were moving like a well-oiled machine whilst we brushed sleep out of our eyes. The temp was right up there at 2400 in the front chamber. Cone 12 was over in the first two stacks and bending in the back. A fine effort from the night crew had put us in a good position. The key had been small regular stokes. We took over and had the front chamber finished sharpish, moving on to the second chamber and opening the first to rapidly cool it. Firing this kiln is unusual as you fire each chamber in turn and cool it as soon as its done. Slow cooling can lead to sugary matte surfaces on the pots rather than glossy ones. The second chamber raced up and only took us a couple of hours to get cone 12 flat. As the sun rose we saw a large heron fly over the kiln shed, high above us; this is always a good omen--Michael Cardew watching our progress.

By 9am we were concentrating on the third chamber. Mark manned the ship, slowly transitioning our stoking pattern from feeding both chambers two and three to just three. Adding a little extra air by keeping the fire box doors slightly ajar helped the burn. By 12:30pm we were done, much to everyone's surprise. We had planned on going until midnight if necessary, and had cut enough wood to do so.

The relief of being done early had us all in high spirits and we enjoyed some cold beverages, a few loop-de-loops on the rope swing, and some marvelous coconut crust quiche that Carol had made. Mark sprayed down the rafters of the kiln to cool them off, we clammed her up and slid in the damper. A glorious collection of bees made their hive in the red clay earth near the kiln, seemingly unaware of all the activity around them. All in all the firing was a very smooth affair. We got the kiln hot, really hot, all over--in the front of the third chamber the cones were obliterated. The test rings we pulled out looked good too.

Reduction.
Adrian checking the cones in the back of the first chamber.
Adrian and Dustin stoking the firebox.
Exactly where we want to be.
Before we started stoking this chamber.

Evan was down visiting me from Burlington, VT. I roped him into helping out with the firing.
Stoking the firebox of chamber 2.

View of the kiln from the side.
Firebox door.
You can see the reflection on the bellies of the pots in there.
Test rings. Glazes looking good. Clay nicely cooked.
More test rings.
Stillman stoking into the middle of chamber 2.
This little guy was hanging out on the wood stack.
Mark, Adrian and I all incised quite a few lizards on our pots this time. There are so many lizards around the Hewitt pottery!
The kiln from afar.
Mark and Evan clamming up the main fireboxes.
Working hard.
Evan stoking chamber 3 firebox.
These look like ant excavations but are actually made by small bees.
Bee art.
The firing squad enjoying a beverage after the kiln was done. From top left: Sam Thompson, Me, Mark Hewitt, Dustin Fowler, Adrian King. Bottom row from left: John Svara, Evan Weiss and Stillman Browning-Howe.

Stoking the very back of the kiln; heavy reduction going on!


You can just see some fat bellies here.


During the cool down the color of the pots goes from bright orange to red.
In the time it's taken me to post this, we have been through the grueling week of waiting to crack her open and have now unloaded. The results were excellent and many of our experimental glazes came out very nicely. Soon I will post with pics of the pots!

Springtime Kiln Loading. Hewitt Pottery 2016.

Spring has sprung here in the South. We had our last freeze of the year last week (fingers crossed) and the trees are starting to bloom again. Great waves of pollen are falling all around usits like orange snow on your car windscreen. I've never been anywhere with so much pollen. The ants and flies seem to have noticed the warm weather and are flooding back into our house. We put up the first sticky fly tape of the year and Jasper (one of our cats) managed to tear one down and get himself tangled up in it last night. The point of this tape is that it's so sticky that flies land on it, get stuck, and die: it's extremely nasty stuff. So we had to take him to the vet for a haircut.

But enough of our springtime woes; I have lots of pictures to put up of our recent kiln loading. This week we are firing Mark's new kiln (built in 2009). It is the 11th time: the firings are stamped alphabetically so we're up to firing 'Kay.' We had a lot of bisque-ware to glaze due to all the experimental glazes we have formulated, so glazing took us a few days, but then the loading went pretty fast. Having an extra pair of hands has really helped. Stillman Browning-Howe has been working with us for the last few months, mostly laboring, as he will replace Adrian as a full-on apprentice when he leaves in a few weeks. So it's been like having three apprentices rather than two. He has helped a great deal with all of the laborious tasks needed to get ready to fire, like cutting wood, grinding kiln shelves, moving wood, mixing clamming, and rolling wads.

We stacked the kiln quicker than anticipated so now have extra time to fire. I am on the night shift tonight which will be a pretty slow easy rise in temp, then we'll take turns tomorrow bringing it up to top temp by midnight. Saturday is when we really fire it off and work the temperature back through the second and third chambers. Here are some loading snaps:

Mark-ware

Fat jars and two part vases

More of Mark's pots

Some of our glazes

One of Adrian's platters. Love this decoration.

Some of my casserole dishes. I was pretty pleased with how these took shape and am excited to see them fired.

Casserole from above

Adrian-ware

All lined up and ready to go

The kiln. Expectant.

First row of shelves in the back chamber

We raise them off the floor to allow for ash and ember build up

Cones! These bend at specific temperatures to show you how the firing is going. We fire to cone 12 which is over 2400 degrees F.

Mark's pots ready for wadding

What next?

Starting the back stack. This is much more awkward.

Back chamber of the kiln done. The path down the middle is for stoking thin strips of wood.

This is where Adrian and I spent several days glazing all of our pots.

Stillman; master wad and coil roller!

Mark and Adrian carrying precious cargo.

Big ribbon pot by Mark Hewitt.

Stillman squeezing through a tiny gap to help pull the last big pot into the kiln.

Its in! Relieved faceswe didn't chip or break any big pots despite the tight squeeze.

Ready to be bricked in

Side view of the second and third chambers

One of Mark's medieval pitchers from the salt kiln. We were using this as a water jug during loadingslightly excessive as it holds about two gallons!

The beginning of stacking the front chamber

Pitchers, jars and small pots ready to be put in

Carrying boards into the kiln

Starting on the front stack of the front chamber
 
One of the final shelves goes on

Almost done!

We have a good amount of wood ready

Firebox door

We decided to build a bag wall to prevent the flame rushing under the shelves straight into the second chamber.

Bricking up the third chamber

View of the kiln all clammed up and ready

The kiln gods are watching

Firing Kay

The kiln is lit: we start with gas up to 600 degrees F.





The beast awakens!

Test Firing Results!

In my last post I wrote about the experiments we have been doing with new glazes using local raw materials. We fired just the front chamber of Mark's new wood kiln (built in 2007) with a whole bunch of test glazes and glaze combinations. Now all of the pots have been sanded down and put out on the shelves for this weekends pop up sale. The results of the firing were pleasing on the whole. We learned a lot, figuring out which glazes work, which don't, and which to use slips under each.

Below are a smattering of pots, not necessarily the best of the bunch, just a sampler to show some of the different results. It was getting dark when I took these snaps so the colours aren't as bright as in real life, but anyway first up here are some of mine...

Shino yunomi.
Celadon yunomi on left, ash glaze on right.
Ash glaze sppon holder on left and celadon on the right with red slip trailed under.
Celadon barrel mug with red slip dots, ash glaze dipped over on the rim.
Shino tumblers with iron and manganese slips trailed under.
 Now some of Adrian's...

Albany slip vase over wiped red slip.
I am actually unsure of what glaze combo this is. Will have to ask Adrian!

Various mixing bowls.
Celadon mixing bowl with red slip decoration.
Small bowl with nuka glaze over red slip swirls.
Pair of tumblers with white glaze swishes over celadon (plus 1% iron oxide).
Same as the tumblers above.
And a few of Marks...

Large platter with one glaze on top of another with wax resist rings.
Celadon vases. These look super in the sub: a shiny light translucent blue. Very nice.
Celadon serving bowls with red slip trailed and dotted underneath.
Celadon over sgraffito decoration.
Celadon over red slip.
Ash glaze stein. Look close and you can see the head and arms of a sgraffito lizard.

This glaze is called Rocky 12, believe it or not.
Close up of the Rocky 12 surface.
Celadon serving bowl with red slip dots under.
Getting ready for the sale.
Four medium sized pots from the salt kiln, out on sale this weekend.
To end on here are a few pots in progress in the studio. Mark has been making some gigantic pots for the next firing as the side door to the second chamber of this kiln is larger than in the salt kiln. Each of these pots take four people to move and weigh between 250-350lbs!

Big unfired pots.
Ribbon vase (unfired). I'm excited to see how this one turns out.
 And finally here's one of my fishy casserole dishes. First attempt at a slip trailed fish!

Fish stew anyone?

Testing. Testing.

It's official: we are in the bleak midwinter (well, we were when I started writing this post anyway). Precipitation from the sky is no longer liquid. It's whiter, colder and you can't see through it. Riding my bike down to work has become treacherous so I've been walking instead; carefully following the paw prints of one of the neighborhood felines....

We live worryingly close to the Carolina Tiger Rescue.
Its been an exciting couple of months at the Hewitt Pottery. The workshop is in a state of flux. Our normal routine has been abandoned for the moment in order to pursue new materials and glazes. Before Christmas Mark was recently awarded a United States Artist Fellowship which came with a significant chunk of prize money. Some of the funds have been appropriated for research and development into new glazes from local materials.

View of Mark's house and the pottery from across the pond.
Just before thanksgiving last year Mark and Adrian went on a mission into the NC countryside, coming back with several different types of granite, feldspars, and other potentially useful materials such as apatite and spodumene.

Raw materials.
Since then, Adrian, Mark, I and Stillman Browning-Howe (the next apprentice who will be replacing Adrian) have been processing these materials to make them usable: transforming them from rocks into powders. First we calcine them in the bisque kiln, then tamp them to break the pieces down to pea-size or smaller. Next they go into the ball mill with water for eight hours or so, which breaks the peas down to very fine particles. We empty this out and dry it in large shallow beds. Some of the material settles out badly, which makes it more challenging and time-consuming to transfer to the drying beds. The process is considerable. Lots of moving rocks and digging slurry out of plastic bins!

Apatite out to dry in the sun because we needed some to mix a glaze ASAP.
Close up of the apatite.
Mark came up with various triaxial blends using the new materials, mixed up small batches of them (50g) and applied them to test tiles. We performed a couple of test firings in the small gas kiln and tinkered with the recipes. Whilst all this was going on, we were making pots and bisquing them ready for full tests.

Test tiles galore.
Test tiles.
These were some shinos I tested (most of them not applied thickly enough).
Next stage was mixing up 5lb-20lb batches of the glazes we liked best and trying various combinations on our pots. We are also experimenting with some raw glazes but for these you need approximately 25% clay which tends to muddy the glaze quality. The granite celadons especially look better with less clay making them only suitable as bisque glazes.

Glaze measuring station
Some of the new glaze tests.
Bisque pots awaiting glazing above, raw glazed pots below.
 Bisque-ware
Some little yunomi I made for tea or whisky, or whatever tipple you prefer.
Mixture of mugs and yunomi.
Some of my tumblers.
Some of Mark's bisque pots. I love these--they remind me of Greek or Roman wine vessels.

Mark in the midst of a Sunday morning's glazing.
Mark's mugs. Slip trailing in progress.
This past week we loaded the front chamber of Mark's new kiln (built in 2007) and fired it through Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Despite being only the front chamber, it fit a significant amount of pots. We placed different glazes all over the place to see how they react to higher and lower temps. Its very exciting. Now all we have to do is wait and hold our breath! We unload in four or five days and I'll post some photos of the results then.

The new kiln.
Different angle on the new kiln.
Before firing the kiln we re-did the front of the floor to make it nice and flat.

Re-doing the floor of the kiln.
Now here's just some more snowy pictures...

Big pots in the snow. Love the shadows!
Big pot in the snow
The melt is on!
Our vegetable garden is not looking very happy.
The chickens don't like getting cold feet.
Happiness is a bowl of kitchen scraps.