Friday 28 June 2013

Pots That Pour: New Pouring Jugs and Bowls

New Pourers

Just a quick blog about pots that pour! I do enjoy making pots with pouring lips. There's something about adding a lip to a shape that instantly transforms it into a pot with purpose. It seems to say 'look, you can pour stuff out!' and that makes people identify with them, and imagine all sorts of ways of using them. Also, a pouring lip gives a pot a sense of character - a bit of personality.

Above are my newest pouring jugs. These are a variation on my 'tip jug' - in other words jugs without handles. These are a bit taller and straighter in design and measure about 6.5cm high (that's about 2.5 inches or so). Dispensing with the handle makes using these jugs an even more tactile experience - they feel so nice in the hand and they're easy to grab and use. Sometimes handles can actually get in the way of function; because you have to turn the jug around to get at them. These little jugs are just grab and go! They're available for sale now in my Etsy Shop.

Freshly Thrown Pouring Bowls

And here's my latest 'pots that pour': some new pouring bowls. These are a larger size to go with my drizzle bowls and 'medium' pouring bowls. As you can see they're freshly thrown in the picture - still on their batts. Since then I've turned the bases and they're now drying in the studio. But in the meantime, here's some photos of my smaller sized pouring bowls. I took these recently for listing in my Esty and Folksy shops. Hope you enjoy them!

Pouring Bowls, Drizzle Bowls

Sunday 9 June 2013

Packing Kilns and Thunderstorms

Kiln, shelves, mask, tongs, gloves and packed pots.

I wonder how advisable it is to pack an electric kiln during a thunderstorm? This was my exact thought on Friday around 7am during a very atmospheric summer thunderstorm that lasted most of the morning.

Lightning flashed and thunder rumbled around in the distance or crackled close overhead. And I was out in my studio under a flimsy wooden roof, packing a bisque kiln. This requires leaning deeply over into it headfirst to place pots on the lower shelves. An electric kiln remember, encircled by elements made of coiled metal wires and encased within a metal jacket. Like a huge circular toaster…

I finished packing the kiln and closed the lid. Wearing a more sensible hat, I decided to leave firing the kiln until much later in the day when all threat of thunderstorms was over. So now perhaps I should add another safety check to my list when packing kilns.

Bisque fired pots ready for glazing.

Here’s my kiln-packing safety checklist:

  1. Make sure the kiln is switched off. Obvious perhaps, and in fact my kiln has a safety feature which cuts off the electricity supply when the kiln lid lock is opened.
  2. Clear all the space around the kiln. So I don’t trip over anything.
  3. Wear a mask. My kiln has a lot of ceramic fibre around the top rim, which is an irritant, and harmful if breathed in. (Yes, thank you manufacturer for warning me!!) It’s horrible stuff so I wear a P3 mask, an old long sleeved shirt and even gloves so it can’t irritate my skin. I also drape an old tea-towel on the kiln edge when I lean over it to minimize brushing any fibres up into the air.
  4. Mind your backs. Here’s the dilemma: trying to carefully lower a heavy shelf down into a deep kiln with only a narrow gap for fingers and without breaking fragile pots beneath or damaging the sticky-out thermocouple at the side. Oh yes and without any possibility of bending the knees! The answer – do yoga.
  5. Remember the pots. Pots that are ready for bisque firing are brittle like chocolate eggs and sometimes the mind starts to obsess about placing that last extra pot into a tight awkward space. It’s easy to take a chip out of pots this way or make a crack. I use my tongs (which I bought a long time ago!) to place small tricky items lower down in the kiln or between gaps.
  6. Don’t load a kiln during a thunderstorm.