On Monday, May 13th at approximately 8:30 AM I began to set up the fire pit at Alki Beach for a pit firing. The pit firing was to coincide with my 42nd birthday. I often like to celebrate my day of birth with an art event of some sort and I was eager to introduce some of my students to the process of primitive firing.
|The fire pit at Alki Beach looking North. Filled with sand, these iron hexagonal pits are first come --first serve at the beach.|
|Box of pre-bisqued pots for the fire. I fired them in an electric kiln at cone 018, to keep them from exploding.|
|Dry wood is essential for having a great fire, you want the coals to develop so the fire gets hot enough to leave various colors|
|Dried moss, sea weed, driftwood bits, saw dust and kelp also enrich the color spectrum.|
|For reds and yellows we sprinkled some copper oxides and sea salt onto the pots|
|At Alki there is an abundance of dried seaweed, which I used to line the bottom of the pit. I also layered the seaweed and driftwood bits between and on top of the pottery.|
|I used some butcher paper scraps to help ignite the fire. I also brought some wood chips leftover from my carving projects and some thick fennel stalks from the garden.|
|I start off with lots of smaller sticks stacked in a tee-pee style, then I ignite.|
|The fire burns and larger boughs are added. When there is a bed of coals, the pots are possibly ready.|
|Pots that have their bodies exposed to the open air tend to come out lighter, while ones that are buried in burning debris often come out blackened.|
|Here is a terra cotta coaster of an owl. I used white terra sigillata for the accents|
|An owl vase and a primitive skull|
|Many of the were made with found and recycled earthenware. I used clay from Beacon Hill and Ellensburg both as slip applications and as a sculpting body.|
|On the way home from the firing I was elated. I was looking forward to rinsing the pots in the sink, but sadly things took a turn for the worst.|
|The entire box of work slammed into the dashboard on impact, crushing or chipping about 40% of the work|
|Shattered plate: Kittitas earthenware with various slips|
|Floater: Beacon hill earthenware with Terra Sigillata and kittitas slip|
|Top: Bull Plate Terra Cotta mic with Terra Sigillata and terra cotta slip,Below: Owl Coaster Terra Cotta/Terra Sig, Moon Platter Beacon Hill Earthenware with various slips|
|More damaged work|
Easy come easy go, luckily the guy had insurance. Since a bunch of the pieces are ruined I'll just have to make more. After all the potter's motto is:
Make Another One!
Special thanks to Elaine Haegele and Ted Johnson for their participation. I couldn't have done it without their help and enthusiasm.