Friday, May 29, 2009

Taming the Fire

Firing is the crucial stage in the process of clay modeling and pottery. When I started off learning clay modeling I would often consult experienced potters regarding the firing process and I remember Valentino Gasper an experienced clay artist from Verna (Goa) who once told me that FIRING demands ‘sweat and blood’. Sweat part I could understand but not the blood part, at least not then!

The Kiln is sealed and temperature probe is place

Now, I do understand the blood part! This is experienced when the Kiln is opened the next day of firing, as I anxiously remove the bricks on my kiln and the fired pots and sculptures come into view my eyes dart from one pot to another and slowly the blood starts to curdle when I notice a lot of the pots have cracks on them. I loose at least 4 out of 10 pots per firing, and coincidentally the best pots are the ones that have lots of cracks, blood……..

Sweat only pots

The firing process takes anywhere between 8 hours to several days, depending on the type and size of the kiln. The kiln that I use is Fast Fire Wood Kiln and it can reach temperature of 1200OC in 8 hours, increasing the temperature gradually is the skill that has to be mastered, else loose blood the next day!!!!!!!!

Sweat and Blood pots ha ha.....

I have fired my Kiln only four times in two years, controlling the gradual increase of temperature in this kiln is a tough task, as the name suggests it is meant for rapid increase in temperature and I think this is the cause of pots cracking! I am looking out for alternative designs of kilns……to save my blood…..

1 comment:

Kaustubh said...

do you actually bleed while removing those pots??