Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Back To The Drawing Board

In this case, it's back to the slab roller, so to speak.

This was the result of my planter after Cone 10 reduction fire. It collapsed and "ate" two other pieces in the kiln. Sorry!

I wrote an earlier post about needing a new planter for my succulents which are overgrowing the current planter they are in. I decided to use some left over paper clay mixed with coffee grinds. The concept was good but the kiln gods and Cone 10 temperatures taught me a thing or two.

When everything turns out well after a firing, we seldom give it much thought. More often than not, it's a sigh of relief that the piece turned out well and came close to expectations.

I learn a lot when a piece does not survive a high fire. I begin to ask why it did not work and sometimes the answers stare back at me like, "Yea, you should have known about this all along." I learn more from my mistakes than my successes.

So, why did it fail?

Not a person to waste my coffee grinds, I used too much and the strength of the form where it contacted the base was compromised. At Cone 10 temperatures, it did not have enough vitrified clay left to hold its shape and hence, the slump. Moreover, the edges of the planter were rather thick so there is the weight factor.

When I redo this piece (because my succulents really need a new home), these lessons will come in handy for a successful second attempt.

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