Tuesday, October 8, 2013

St. Pete Clay- first two months

After two months in Florida I've determined that it's hotter back home in Illinois, it's more humid in North Carolina, but it's definitely weirder here in Florida...where else would you see a 60+ year old woman riding down the street on a bubblegum pink scooter with sparkly pink and silver handlebar pom tassels, wearing a bubblegum pink top, pants, and shoes, hot pink socks, and a bubblegum pink helmet with hot pink fake hair pigtails coming out of chrome "scrunchies".  Nowhere else, I tell you, nowhere else.  There are some pretty good old hotel signs from the 50's and 60's too.

Now for the real reason I'm down here- making pots and firing kilns.  The first firing, in the train kiln, was a test firing for me- I had never fired in a train before, so I tried lots of different slips, and several different clay bodies.  The firing was a reminder of the lesson I learned firing Rosie the new wood kiln at Penland during Spring Concentration, namely that I just don't have the stamina for multi day firings... I'm fine for a 16-20 hour sprint in a fast fire, but days 2 and 3 are not pretty.

Jeremy holding the door closed during a mid-firing repair

I did get a few nice pots out- this little baby casserole has a cobalt slip test of a recipe I got from Elisa Helland-Hanson...

...And this creamer was a test of Michael Schwegmann's porcelain body from back at Boneyard Pottery (with a little Shaner Oribe beauty spot).

Unfortunately the success rate was only about 40%...most of the slips alligatored and buckled, and came out looking like concrete.

Since then I have been making pots for the salt kiln, and I'm also gearing up for two firings with Kim Kirchman, Mark Fell, McKenzie Smith, and Jonathan Barnes up at Hidden Lake Pottery in Odessa.  If these guys sound familiar, it's because I helped them fire last Fall.  After Christmas I'm going to start looking at the little Olsen Fast fire wood kiln too.

Here's the stack of my first salt firing with the door down.

These are some of the pots from that firing- they (and more!) will be up for sale soon on St. Pete Clay's online gallery.

This little frangipani vase I'm saving as a potential show entry.


I have also gotten back into baking down here- two recent adventures were Banana Ginger Cake...

...And a layered strawberry shortcake trifle: homemade sponge cake spread with a strawberry reduction, and layered with whipped cream and fresh sliced strawberries.

Pippa "The Squeak" Corgi

Pippa had been sick all Spring, and unfortunately shortly after coming down here Pip's illness became much worse and I had to put her down.  I miss her very much, as do all her friends.

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