Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pick of the Litter

Sometimes the kiln gods really do me a favor.
I rarely keep my own pieces. I want to sell them, of course, and I get satisfaction out of knowing they are out in the world, nudging the quality of someone's life ever-so-slightly in the positive direction. Also, I think there is a danger in falling in love with your best pieces, that the potter may get sort of stuck in one mode. I'm not a fanatic, however, and I have to drink my coffee out of something, so if a piece emerges from the kiln flawed but not fatally so, I often keep it.

Upon unloading the soda kiln, I immediately noticed this mug. I had been conservative with the Owen Oribe, as it had come out rather pebbly in a couple of firings (still don't know what's up with that, but I think it is related to bisque temperature.) I had no trouble with that glaze in this firing, however, and in fact it came out exactly as I always hope it will - matte green-to-black where it is out of the direct path of the soda, glassy turquoise where it is in - and this mug was the only all-over Oribe piece in the kiln. I was so pleased...and then I turned it over, and saw a big star crack on the bottom. Actually a few mugs cracked like that this time. Bottoms too thin? I don't know. (Weigh in if you do, or if you have thoughts on the matter.) 

The good news is, the crack doesn't go through, and it doesn't leak. I can't sell it - it's a really big crack, and I suspect a couple of turns in the microwave will do it in - so I guess I'll have to keep it!

Forgive the crap photo (no, the mug is not that blurry in real life!) When I shoot the other pots from the firing, I will set up the tripod and do it up right, but it's too dark today to get really good shots anyway, so I made it optional. 

Update: I replaced the blurry photo with a better one. Sun on snow makes perfect light!


thorazine said...

A star crack? Hmm, S cracks are usually from a lack of compression or leaving water in the bottom of the piece. I can't tell if this was hand built or thrown though, and what is the clay body? I would wager compression to be the issue. It is a beautiful mug though.

Hollis Engley said...

Looks a bit like the cracks I occasionally get when a runny glaze has stuck to the shelf and stresses have been set up by the pot cooling. Doesn't look like you've had that problem with this mug, though. And yes, a lovely mug in spite of that.

Linda Starr said...

Charcoal grey and turquoise, beautiful.