Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fire, Glass, Soft, and Hard

I've been up to my ankles these days in trimmings. The 80+ bowls of the last few weeks have finally been turned upside down, turned round and round and had their shoes put on.

It's one of the more enjoyable tasks at this time of year. Especially enjoyable because at this time of year I have the luxury of time to keep the bowls under plastic for several days. When I can do that, the moisture content in them gets evened out to such an extent that turning them is a pleasure.

During the hurried pace of the rest of the year, with the next show right around the bend, I'm often trimming bowls when they are too soft or too hard or...the very worst....too hard on one side and too soft on the other.

Here's a band I happen to like a lot. They call themselves "Crooked Still"

You may ask, "What's Crooked Still got to do with Bauman Stoneware?"

Good question.

I've often related to my customers that when stoneware and especially porcelain are at the peak temperature to which I fire them, they are temporarily in a state that is a bit less stable than "solid".

"Get OUT!" is what they reply.

And I patiently say, "No, really. At 2300 degrees fahrenheit the clay is sort of glelatinous. Like a Church Potluck dessert. If I stuck my hand into the kiln at that point of peak temperature and poked a pot with my finger, I could dent the side of a pot."

My customers then ask me not to do that reaching-into-the-hot-kiln thing. My customers are a compassionate lot who watch after the welfare of my hands.

Anyway, here's what can happen to a pot that's just a little weak on one side when it goes into that gelatinous state at 2300 degrees...

This pot was crooked when I took it out of the kiln, and it's crooked still.

There is only one human being alive on this planet who I think might see nothing wrong with the casserole in that picture...

David Caruso.

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