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neat, joe.

 

i built my old house in what had been an overgrown pasture.  i had walking sticks visit several times a year.  i became interested in them because there were clear differences between the male and female bugs.  most of the males were on the back of the house while the females were on the front.  i had to introduce some of them to each other.  

 

isn't it great to be able to enjoy the natural world instead of the office world?

Marcia Selsor and Joseph F like this

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Joseph: that is so cool. You have a living "prayer-for-a-good-outcome". Thank you for sharing!

 

Oldlady: in my Italian home we have walking sticks too. They are so very intersting. Are thay bugs? Do you know?

 

Rakuku: well, you can make as many as you like, but you have to believe in them! Otherwise they are just a lump of clay...

 

Roberta: I love it! Did you invent the powerchant yourself, or is it a real language? An African dialect maybe??

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Evelyne,

 

Walking Sticks are indeed insects. They are pretty good sized,mwhich frightens some people, but are harmless. Even a Praying Mantis like the one Joseph posted above, can't hurt a person. They just look, and act fierce.

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Oh, yes, I believe in kiln gods--and Minocki, too!  My father, a potter and professor of 60 years' experience, made kiln gods when I was small, and while he was teaching.  After he retired, he stopped--but copper reds always worked anyway.

 

Now, when I do a glaze firing, I thank the kiln gods, and ask my father's spirit to watch over the kiln so I can get copper reds, too.  So far, they, and my dad, are smiling on me.

bciskepottery likes this

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My kilns are named Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego--Three men of faith who were forced into a kiln rather than deny their faith in the one true God and bow down to an idol. Daniel Chapter 3...  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel+3

 

And, while in the kiln they were protected from the fire by that one true God in whom I believe... Jesus Christ, no I don't believe in kiln gods, luck, charms, or idols. 

 

I do believe in science... AMPS, Heat, chemistry, process, most everything that happens in a kiln can be explained with a little study and experimentation.

 

I remember our copper green kept shifting color into this unpleasant olive drab color. I could not figure it out. Some of the potters kept saying firing schedule, but that was a constant from before the change. Elements going bad, but the AMPS being drawn were normal and constant from before the change. Others said glaze cross contamination, but we remixed the glaze over and over and the same thing kept happening. Then someone came up with the bright idea that the chemical source changed, and we launched into a series of tests rotating out chemicals in the recipe--no effect. 

 

Weeks went by, and some of our unbelieving potters starting blaming the "kiln gods". I started praying for an answer. Then after about three days of prayer I was running our drill stir mixing a bucket of glaze. I picked it up to clean it. For some reason I turned it upside down. There was a cap on the tip that had worked loose and fallen off. The inside was hollow. Glaze was being forced up into the cylinder and not getting cleaned out. So, every time the stir was being dipped into one bucket, cleaned on the outside, then into another the stir was still cross contaminating other glazes. 

 

So, we would remix the green glaze, and over the course of normal operations add to it an ounce of our walnut brown glaze a couple of times per week. This constant cross contamination would cause a gradual color shift, so in a few days we ended up with olive green--Every time we remixed. So, it WAS cross contamination. No "kiln gods" it was simple chemistry, and we would have never found it had we not been pointed in the right direction.

terrim8 likes this

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mike, when i was at your studio, i noticed the most important thing any potter could have.  especially in a shared space.  could you please post a picture of the top of your kilns so we can all see the secret to long kiln life?  not clay kiln gods, it is wood.

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I missed this somehow on the first round of QOTW postings...so meet Leif - Guardian of Mugphlutes and Horns that sets above the gas kiln door:
 

Leif the Guardian of MugPhlutes & Horns

 
I do like the tradition, but I'm not much on leaving things to chance, luck, or tingling hairs on the back of my neck.
Peace
-Paul ;)

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mike, when i was at your studio, i noticed the most important thing any potter could have. especially in a shared space. could you please post a picture of the top of your kilns so we can all see the secret to long kiln life? not clay kiln gods, it is wood.

 

You were at Potter's Fire? Oh wait, was that you bobbing up and down in our kilns about two years ago? Are you talking about the kiln rim guard we fabricated?

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I think it's a fun tradition, but I don't put much stock in it beyond that.

 

It makes for a good story, tomtell the students, and having them make a kiln god, gives them more of a connection to the process. They are doing something that potters have been doing for centuries.

 

But when it comes down to it, the only force that has any impact on my firings, is the idiot hitting the switches.

Ben;

So, who hits the switches for you? :P

TJR.

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well, it was just as you were getting open.  the physical space had not yet been finished but you were well on your way.  the streets around your building were torn up at the time.

 

yes, the kiln guard, not god.

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Hey,

I'm not superstitious, but I do believe in kiln gods. The results speak for themselves!!

For the nonbelievers, somewhere in or near your pottery shop or class is a hidden kiln god that allows the proper programing or the turning of the switches! :-)

And even though I'm not superstitious, keep in mind that Friday the 13th, falls on Saturday this month! :)

Didn't salt glazing start because a potter tossed a pinch of salt over his left shoulder for good luck and it happen to land in the kiln? It could happen! ;)

See ya,

Alabama

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Guards not gods...

 

My buddy Steven made this for our kilns. One of the best ideas we've ever come up with. OldLady saw them when she visited the studio during the our buildout. The place looks completely different now. But the kiln guard still looks about the same:

 

 

IMG 1948

IMG 1949 2

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I do it in the quiet moments while pieces are air drying enough firm up so I can continue to work. They're more good luck pieces to me and not dieties. Making them relaxes me, helps me organize the next step in the current piece's  build and doodle maquettes for future work in 3D

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In my mind, kiln gods come under the heading of superstition. And superstitions are something I don't bother about. The number 13 doesn't bother me and the only time I won't walk under a ladder is when someone is up there with a pot of paint or a heavy hammer. So, if other people feel kiln gods are important and contribute to their success, that's fine by me. After all, there is the argument that one person's religion is another person's superstition and vice versa.

 

So when I walked into my studio after reading this question, I was surprised to notice something. On the wall, above and to the right of the kiln, is a photograph of a woman's face. She has flame red hair and a cyan face - all very blurred and abstract. She is called "Scarlet Muse" and I put up the picture because I like it, and it felt right in that position; a purely instinctive placing. But her face is angled down as if she's looking at the kiln, overseeing it, watching over it.

 

Which reminds me of Voltaire. On his death bed, he was asked by the priest to renounce the Devil and all his works. Voltaire refused and, with his dying breath, explained that this was no time to be making new enemies.

 

Just a thought...

 

Girts

bciskepottery likes this

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I taught a little about the superstition of kiln gods when I was a teacher. It was an interesting subject to the students and so I would show them what a crude one was, and placed it on top of the kiln. I also explained at the time that it came from a time when much of firing was left to chance and experience. When kilns were fired using the senses of eye and touch, and the experience of what colors different heat displayed, and how the kiln was packed to get the best effect, how the kiln was built and as much else as I could add to explain that all in all it took a ton of experience and a lot of luck for successful firings. So for those folks doing trying to make the best of things any bit of help-whether it be a kiln god, fairy or other such creature couldn't hurt for the help.

 

Don't you wonder, how myths came about. So often of late we find that some of what was thought to be myth is tied to some event in history long forgotten. Are these myths just things we have lost down through the ages?

 

best,

Pres

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