Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Touched by an Angel

One of the joys and challenges of atmospheric firing are the surprise additions by the kiln. In every firing there will be a couple of pieces which the kiln gods singled out for special attention with a splash of green or brown or gray soda glass. This occurs when the soda vapor glaze builds up on the underside of a kiln shelf to the extent that it finally gives in to gravity, and a drip of it falls off, often onto a pot.
Sometimes it will be bubbly or fizzy, and brittle: in those cases, the piece is obviously a second or refire. I used to call any kiln kiss as a flaw even though I always admire them, but I've changed my mind about it. In December I unloaded a large bowl from the kiln, with a bright aqua drip of soda on the interior. Instead of relegating it to the seconds shelf, I composed a tag for it which began, "This piece has been kiln-kissed..." with a brief description of what caused the mark. That bowl got a lot of attention and sold before its "perfect" companions.
So now I will be labelling all my kiln-kissed pieces (the ones that are not functionally compromised) as such. I may even charge extra for them, since they are by necessity a rarity. I could cause more by not cleaning my kilnshelves, but that would result in far more loss, as most soda glaze drops are not of the smooth sort.
This load produced four of the kiln gods' favorites, an unusual lot. It feels more honest to tell the world the irregularity is what makes them special, and if I'm lucky maybe the world will agree.
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