Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving and kiln firing. November Juniata Anagama anticipation.


Here we are. Its almost time to unload. Take a look at my photobucket for some loading pictures and a few firing pictures. I am waiting for more documentation from other folks with cameras that were at/participating in the firing. We fired for 5 days (or 4.5 days if you count hours)managing to keep it at cone 10 for about 3 days. That is a far more impressive soak (holding at a particular temperature) than any firing thus far. There was a hick-up around quartz inversion and there was definately damage done to some of the green (raw) pots. Next time we have to be more careful and make sure everyone knows whats going on. Other than that it seems like things went very well. I wont really know till this coming Tuesday I guess.

Been pretty busy overall lately. The weather has been fantastic so I was working outside on the anagama behind my studio. I had a sale at my place too. It went ok. I need to advertise better. Next one I will absolutely advertise on the interwebs.

Working hard. Hardly working.

life is what you make.

Monday, October 24, 2011

What is it? October WHAT already...

Oh how time flies when stuff happens. It feels good during the day and is getting pretty darn cold at night. In between bouts of rain I have been steadily working in the studio and out. Firing and refiring. Bricking and unbricking.


I redid the front firebox area today and changed the grate configuration. I started with an arched grate but it was too tall so I lowered the floor and am planning to span the top of the box with long bricks (hopefully two 13" bricks with a support in the center).

My plan is to continue to work on the kiln until the weather is unbearable.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Summers Eve.

The heat is leaving. I have an internet connection for the moment. I dusted off my Photobucket account and added more images than I could have on this site or my website, now you have them. There is more good stuff there too so check it out. It's super easy so as long as my internet connection stays up I have many more photos to share.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Prototype microgama.

Today, after a long set of circumstances ended up at my studio today.  I decided enough was enough and started building a kiln shape with local bricks from the brick yards that used to be in my town (the streets under the eiffel tower were once paved with bricks from mt. union).  Some of them are silica brick so I'm not expecting much for the firing due to thermal expansion and spalling.
I do however have a healthy supply of bamboo that I have been dying to test out for kiln arch forms.  Super old school Asian trick.  It is super slick.  Expect more.  Requires heathy supply of good sized bamboo.  Good thing that right here in the mountians of Pennsylvania, on the banks of the blue Juniata river.  I have the most wonderful patch of it fit for a mammoth panda bear.  What luck!
This comes from my phone.  The image is with a flash after it got dark. We shall see how it looks via blog.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Daylight is burning.


Hello there. I was taking a lunch break and saw that my internet connection wasn't just 'local'. So I firgured I should write. Busy, busy. Making pots, moving scrap metal; your normal everyday me stuff. The weather is beautiful but very humid and hot for the time of year here in the mountains. Check out youtube. There are some new videos there. Just got into my first juried exhibition since college! Its at the Carbondale Clay Center in Carbondale, Colorado. Pretty cool.

*i feel like i should just post this as my connection may disappear at any moment.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

How cellular phones revolutionized the interwebs.

Still no real solution to my internet connectivity issues.  I have been downloading apps on my phone to try and find one that works with my blogspot.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Early Summer.

My computer and my internet have not been getting along as of late so I have not been able to adequately update this blog and my website, or do any clerical business on the interwebs. That being said there is much that has happened and much that is in the works. We did another wood firing at Juniata College at the beginning of April with success dispite the torrential rains that happened that week. I believe there were some major storms all over. We ended up having to bail-out the front of the kiln. Chaos, per usual. There will be an update on the website for some of the goodies out of that. I started running around and pitched my tent at a little first-time annual pottery festival. "Pots in the Park" was the 20-21st of this month (May). It was to benefit the start up cost for a ceramics center in Oil City Pennsylvania. I don't have too many pictures of that event but I'll try and get them on here as well as firing photos. In the mean time check out my youtube page. My Dad has been messing around with a Windows video program and came up with some little informational videos. They have entertainment value as well! More to be added there too.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Or Something like that.

in no particular order, as that is apparently not working.

A new cup form for slipcasting.

I am still waiting to pour the foot mould.

Friday, March 18, 2011

now we are walking.

After some time I have come upon fired test pieces. I used two clay bodies and three glazes. There are more pots to be fired but I need more white glaze. I think its going to come to mixing my own recipe but I need to have materials sent in or I need to go out into the wilderness and forage for bags of feldspar...

Probably best going to someone who already found some.

Must make more mugs. Also work for the April anagama firing is underway, I think we will have enough work for a good firing.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

And then the other foot.

Stayed up all night the other night babysitting my first bisque firing to make sure the new wiring was going to hold up and that it wasn't going to burn the place down. Mostly success, nothing caught fire, pots bisqued. The next step is a glaze firing. I also received the clay that I ordered from Alligator Clay Co. It has a purple color to it next to the orangey clay from Georgies. It is also chock full of sand or very fine grog. I am excited to see the difference in the fired clays and how their characteristics are different from each other.

Friday, February 25, 2011

One foot in front of the other.

There has been a bit of preparation for a wood firing in April at Juniata. Jared, Kurt, Nick, and I have been given the opportunity to give it another go after the last firing in November. I have been blessed by the addition of an electric wheel in my space, and after today I now have my electric kiln in place. I hope to do a bisque firing tomorrow and if that goes well a mid range (cone 6 or 2262 degrees F) firing soon after that so I may have bisque fired examples of the Dundee Red clay from Georgies as soon as this coming Monday.
I also ordered a box of MC 214 clay from Alligator Clay Supply down in Louisiana that I hope will be here as soon as tomorrow. My plan after that is to get some Cone 4-6 clay from Standard Ceramic Supply right here in Pennsylvania and see which clay meets my approval. I also am collecting some midrange recipes for clay bodies that I want to try. To hand mix my clay bodies would be the best case scenario because I would know exactly what is in them and I wouldn't have to pay so much in shipping. But if I find a better commercial body then that's what I'll stick with. For instance, Standard 257 is a fantastic porcelain that I just absolutely fell in love with in college. I mixed all my own clays in school but I had problems getting porcelain to that perfect state of plasticity while staying away from Titania, more on that later. What I found was this boxed clay that works like a charm; for me of course, I recommend mixing your own porcelain first and trying other varieties before settling on anything. The point of all of this is that I have been making pots for the next anagama firing in April. Here is an image of some jars that I put together Wednesday. I have a long way to go before I have enough wares to feel comfortable and prepared for the upcoming firing but I am on my way.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Muddy Hands. Muddy Thoughts.

The cold here in Pennsylvania seems to be lifting. Thankfully. I should start off by saying that after the last post about making work I had some new and exciting issues...

While I was in the space I had been running a small electric heater and a kerosene heater in the large space in the front of the building, this kept the chill off just slightly the temperature still hovered around 40 degrees on a good day. When we (my dad and I) left we turned the stove and the heater off, not a big deal. However, I missed a day of going to the building/studio due to work at Boxer's Cafe and teaching an adult ceramics class at Juniata College. The next day I went in to find my pots frozen! Not good. We installed an industrial heater that now keeps the, little space that is my new studio, above freezing when I'm not there and warm enough to work with water and clay when I am.

That being said I have been messing around with some new clays for electric firing... now I know I myself have staved off finishing work in an electric kiln for a long while. But its come down to it. I need to make work and I have a kiln in storage that I picked up a while ago. It is probably going to go in next week. Should be interesting, I'll do my best to document that nonsense.

What clay? You ask. Well I started off with this idea about being as simple and elegant as possible with out being quite so boring as white on white or clear on white (though I may eventually get down to some of that too). I went with the thought of red clay, white glaze. Dundee Red from Georgie's Clay in Portland, Oregon to be exact. I'm crazy, I know. I got a call from them the day after I ordered basically questioning my sanity for shipping clay across the country. "Have you ever heard of Standard Ceramics?" (a supply company n Pittsburgh, PA) was the question I was asked... of course I have but I did my research and for my red clay, white glaze business I was looking for a specific color of clay and their swatch online looked the best.
I have since started to look for another company because unless they have another outlet closer their site (haven't called yet) refuses to let me buy more than 150 pounds at once. This is a problem. If you have any suggestions for a red clay that is a midrange, cone 4-7ish, body and fires warm red (not brown or bright red) let me know. So that's last week in a nutshell. Here are some photos from two days ago that can kind of give you an idea of where I'm going with the red clay. Oh and that red thing in the upper right corner is the heating unit. Pretty nifty.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

New Things.

So I updated my website a bit. Those photos of anagama fired work can be found there, go now. Check it out I am pretty happy with the results. It was a good firing.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Images of progress and woodfired pots...

I set up a photo area in the building that I've been working on turning into a studio space. Over the last couple of days I shot some of the work that came out of the winter 2010 firing of the anagama at Juniata college. Normally I'd post all the pictures here but in lieu of having to share info and such with my .com I am going to tell you that they live there. I shot some 9 pieces so far and did multiple views of each. There are some really quality works that came from the firing. The pots are made from stoneware and porcelain, some were coil built and some thrown. I really enjoy making larger pots with coils. It allows for a different feel; more architectural in nature I guess.

I picked up a new camera as well. A Nikon S8100 coolpix (I think that is what is called). Seems to be a pretty good little number. Takes some high quality images. I want you all to see what I've been up to so I started taking images of the space that is to be the studio, gallery, and whatnot. The photos are of the last day or two as well and, to be honest, don't give a great indication as to where we started about 8 years ago. To a new viewer the spaces and places seem quite messy when in actuality they are quite empty. Still to cluttered to get down to the utmost serious business they are beginning to take shape. I came across an AMACO No. 4 treadle wheel over the new year and have just begun to throw on it. (*Remind me to write all about my thoughts on that later... So you will see a few pics of me throwing and that is the unit I am using.) I will continue to document the clearing and retrofitting of the space as we (my dad, a few friends here and there, and I) keep moving along. I hope you joy the photos as it has also taken much to become comfortable enough to want to share photos with you. I was going to omit all of the process here but it seems a shame to let it go as it has been quite an endeavor and a true labour of love.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Busy In Boiling Springs

Its cold in Pennsylvania.
And I just spent the last few days at Kurt's studio prepping and firing some collaborative work (collaborative? I know its definately a new concept in clay for me).
I started slip decorating my own pots last year around April and Kurt saw some pieces and asked if I would do some decorating on his pots. I said I would and so we set out to do this a few weeks before the new year. We fired in his wood salt kiln (the one that I posted pictures of from this last summer) for two and a half days. Candled with propane on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning and added some larger burners, as we started with his weed burner, and did turn ups over the lunch time hours. The real deal started around 4 in the afternoon. We had help and visitors through out the firing as Kurt's home and studio tend to be a very active place (people are always popping by to see what he is up to, to lend a hand, or just to share conversation). Apparently he also had a visit from the cranky neighbor lady from last time (remember her, she needs to find a hobby other than terrorizing Mr. Brantner and his pottery) who didn't have anything nice to say, she even went as far to say she wanted to have him fined! Which we all know is nonsense... Kurt fired the kiln solo from about 3am to 11am Thursday morning. It reached a temperature of cone 11 (about 2400 degrees F). We also set up the door with a port so hikidashi could be performed. Unfortunately I wasn't there to help but from what I heard Kurt pulled 4 pots out of the port.

We are unloading this Sunday, the 23rd of January and I will try to document then. We did get some folks to take pictures while they were there and Kurt had some video footage taken at the end. There is a small preliminary trailer that is about 1 minute 45 seconds (actual footage is over a half hour). It was filmed by Nate, a friend of Kurt's. This video will most likely be replaced by another one but for reference its pretty interesting.


Well here is a new video by Nate of the unloading that happened the 23rd. Its a pretty good little film. Gives you an idea of what kinds of things came out and shows a little bit of Kurt and I in the flesh.

Kurt Brantner Winter Sale Film from Cinemoxie on Vimeo.