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Short Wood Fire Thinking

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I am very excited. I have an invitation to join in a nearby woodfiring in October.

 

It is a two day firing in a climbing kiln. My first firing.

 

I have found a lot of info about the firing itself but not about making. What are the things different about making ware that is woodfire?

 

For instance I assume that since this is just a 2 day fire there won't be much of ash deposits.

 

I have been checking out old clay art threads that talk about Clay bodies available in stores here.

 

Should I throw a little thicker? What options in surface treatment could I have? What carvings and ledges make more interesting surfaces?

 

What are the unspoken wood Fire manners as a newbie. Make small not large pieces? I will have duties I am looking forward to. Potter friend says anything goes - large or small and they usually try to accommodate as many pieces you have brought. My personal goal is twenty. Personally I am still not very good. So don't want to make big pieces to use up a better makers space.

 

We will be taking bisqueware there and they will provide glazes and oxides.

 

Any words of advice would be most welcome.

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If you are new, I would stick to smaller forms like you mentioned. You are more likely to get lots of small pieces in than larger ones. You may want to bring one or two large pieces just in case it is ok with the kiln lead. 

 

I sprinkle wood ash on my glazes if it is a short firing. That way even if you don't get much ash buildup, you will get some movement in the glaze. In general Shinos are good choices for glazes. Most woodfires get between cone10 and cone 14 so make sure your glazes are cone ten. 

 

Most people do a liner glaze on the pot interior. You can leave the outside bare, or dip the rim and maybe the top third of the pot in glaze so when the glaze drips it won't go all the way down to the kiln shelf.

 

Use cone 10 clay. Ask your supplier what they recommend for wood. I've used Highwater Phoenix clay and liked it, but most people use stonewares with iron in them (Phoenix is a white stoneware.

 

Delicate textures and carvings may get covered by ash, so you may want to use bold textures and carvings that can stand up to the ash deposits if you get them. Good luck and post photos when you are done.

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A fun thing for wood firing is to take small balls of clay about twice to four times larger than your thumb, and squeeze out 'characters' from the clay.  Bisque them and place on wadding where ever you can find a small spot in the kiln that is not taken.  You will learn a lot by using different clay bodies and different surface treatments or stains.  Don't bother to glaze, let the kiln do its own thing.  Keep track of where they are placed.    Even put some in the fire box if you can. 

 

Call them abstract sculptural arty-facts.

 

lt

Joseph F likes this

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Communal wood firings tip #1:  The "standard" posting for a lot of shelves in any firing is the 9" long hardbrick soap.  Add to this a bit of shelf wadding on the ends... and you have about a 9" high space top fill in the vertical dimension.  EVERY communal woodfiring I have ever been involved in is ALWAYS looking for more and more pieces that fit under a 9" post.  Those that have them..... get them in.  Some of the issue is about having that spacing for flow in the kiln.  There are areas where about 9" high spacing is necessary so the kiln fires well.

 

Communal wood firings tip #2: Plan your pieces for height so that they just fit under the standard brick post sizes (without wasted vertical space).  13.5", 9", 6.3/4", 4 1.2", and 2 1/2" high.   If it is "off" this typical stacking module..... they tend to get overlooked as people are gathering work to hand to the loaders. 

 

Communal wood firings tip #3: Get someone who knows how to wad work correctly show you how.  Do not pre-wad too far in advance.  You want the wadding slightly soft as you load.  if you are wadding LIDS....... really get someone who knows how. 

 

Communal wood firings tip #4: make a lot of small "filler" pieces..... about the size of sake cups (guinomi).  Pieces like that are always needed to fill holes.

 

best,

 

.....................john

D.M.Ernst likes this

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one of our potters has a wood kiln and makes such a variety of things of all sizes from tiny animals to huge bowls.  see these photos of her christmas sale 2016 for ideas.

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post-2431-0-89294400-1501545486_thumb.jpg

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thank you all for all your inputs. exactly what i was needing. I answered promptly but somehow my answer disappeared in the electronic world.

 

We just got the confirmation email that the wood firing is definitely ON!! 

 

Thankfully Richard Hotkiss (Woolman Kiln firing) is providing the glazes so i dont have to worry about that. 

 

i had access to a friend's wheel so i've been making some yuonomis and guinomis. They are terrible. John i so need your class to sorta understand the philosophy of tea bowls. i am hoping after the fire they will look interesting rather than a 5 year old made it.

 

i did a lot of research on clay bodies found here and i was grateful to note that there are two that definitely goes upto ^12. so yeah. IMCO is researching some of the local wood firers to see if their 811 series can go beyond ^10. i vaguely recall they can. i am for sure hoping they can so that i can apply their wood-fire clay which has helmer kaolin in it. otherwise i have no access to any red clay.

 

Magnolia I love the abstract sculptural arts. Its an area my prof. wants me to try out and i have a hard time NOT being critical about my creations. but I really need to challenge myself and see where it goes. i have held balls of clay in my hand but havent made anything to my liking. 

 

Oldlady thanks for the photos. it gives me ideas. 

 

John from the email i infered there are not too many people showing interest in the wood fire this year (last year they could not have one due to fire conditions). He is inviting more beginers. and I feel i can make more pieces. Your height guidance is very helpful to make the pieces. 

 

i am also thinking about adding gypsum to encourage pin-holing. instead of kneading it into the clay i am thinking about rolling some on the outside of the pot. is that a ridiculous idea?

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LT you sound  like Paul Soldner whom i have never met, but know students of his who quote him all the time. 

 

aaaargh. this is the hardest to do.............................

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I made all my pots from Royale Porcelain for Potter's Camp, where we were firing wood, salt, soda and gas reduction.  Even put them in raku and smoke firings.

 

I was really pleased with the results from the wood firing.  Using porcelain gave similar, but better results than the gas firing!

 

Try a mix of clays, and styles.  Use this first opportunity as a test-run, then next time you'll have lots of "test-tiles" and can then choose the clays and glazes that you liked best.

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chilly those are all the firings i will be doing this coming semester. looking forward to that. 

 

i enjoy trying out different clays to see how they behave esp. during throwing and drying phase. i was hoping to use porcelain for wood fire but the one i have will slump and the other porcelain that i could mix it with to prevent slumping is only available 90 miles away which i can't get to before the firing. 

 

it is interesting that all the clay bodies (using ^10s for the first time myself) announce they can be fired from ^4 to 10 just like the UK clay says. upon closer look i found our mid range clays also say ^4-6. the words are can be fired to instead of vitrification. 

 

presently trying to find through other wood firers if the ^4-10s will not slump between 10 and 12. 

 

what do you mean by styles? sgrafito vs inlay, etc?

 

I've organized my clays by reduction color. 

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Preeta,

 

In a short 2 day firing, the cone 12 thing will not be as much of an issue as you start getting with possible cristobalite development on long duration (5-7-10 day) firings.  Most "cone 9-10 bodies" should be just fine.

 

best,

 

.............john

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