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picasso_of_lonliness

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About picasso_of_lonliness

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  1. picasso_of_lonliness

    Question About Alternative "Pit" Firing Technique

    Wow, thank you so much for the detailed response -- this is so, so, helpful. It makes a lot of sense to think of the barrel in this method as a saggar, and for whatever reason, thinking of it that way helps clarify the process a bit (in my mind, at least). I am definitely hoping to try this a couple different ways, perhaps even using more than one "saggar" (with different combustibles in each) in a larger fire . I figure that might improve the odds of the blaze getting up to a high enough temp. For now, I am using a white stoneware clay body, but I plan to try this out with sturdy, relatively small pieces to see what kind of results I get. Hopefully at least a handful survive, but even if they don't, I think even shards will still provide a good learning opportunity. One follow-up question: I wasn't planning on cutting any air holes in the saggars. Do you -- or does anyone else -- have an instinct as to whether or not cutting a hole or two is a good idea? I have been laboring under the (perhaps misguided) assumption that a "true" reduction would be most effective here, but maybe letting a little oxygen flow through would be good. And I could always try to devise a safe way to plug them midway through the firing. Any thoughts? Thank you again for your advice -- I really do appreciate it. I'll bring a bunch of pots and a bunch of materials with me, and see what I get. Fingers crossed I stumble across something cool. -I
  2. After several years of working exclusively with electric kilns, I finally find myself with an opportunity to try some alternative firing methods. (I live in the city, so finding a place where I can burn a smoky fire without attracting the cops, or worse, the ire of neighbors is a challenge.) In addition to attempting a "pit" firing in a barrel (as seen in many instructional videos/guides), I was intrigued by a method for creating rich blacks outlined here (https://www.swkiln.com/non-traditional-black-black-firing-jo-ann-weldon), in which a reduction atmosphere is created inside an upside down metal can lined with sawdust/wood shavings (and filled with pottery) by burning a fire around the outside of the can. In the post linked above, the author mentions that using too little sawdust will result in some areas of the pots staying white/grey. I am wondering if it would be possible to achieve a colored surface if I were to use this method with only a little sawdust mixed with colorants -- or perhaps with only colorants (seaweed, banana peels, copper carbonate, etc.) and no sawdust at all. I am a complete novice when it comes to any sort of alternative firing (and the chemistry involved, for that matter, so I have no idea if this might work -- or if it's a stupid question). I'm also wondering about coating the pots with ferric chloride and firing using this method with limited fuel inside the pot. My assumption is that there needs to be enough organic material in the kiln to consume all the available oxygen, but basically I am wondering if colorant-laden fuel alone would yield colorful pots. Or would they be likely to come out black either way? Thanks in advance for any advice -- as always, I'm grateful for those willing to share their experience and expertise with a newbie like me.
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