Thursday, June 6, 2024

Rings of Fire

My loopy little friends

Since I built my first soda kiln in 2010, I kinda got out of the habit of using draw rings. I had the old kiln so dialed-in, so I didn't need them, then it seemed like too much trouble after we built the new kiln. 

My last firing, though? was not great. Everything was gray, and there was some pitting & blistering of the soda glass. The pitting is its own problem - Jeff Zamek has some thoughts on that - but the gray coloration is simply too much soda. Though I (obviously!) weigh out the material so I use the same amount each time, last firing I used my new, snazzy sprayer, which unlike the old one was able to spray all the liquid into the kiln, instead of leaving a few inches in the bottom. Also, without thinking I used hot water, which can hold more soda in solution, so I may have inadvertently sprayed more soda into the kiln than usual. 
I have some ideas of how to correct my unhappy result, but instead of just guessing & hoping, I'm going to employ a technique used by smarter potters than I am: draw rings! These small, looped-shaped bits of clay are placed near a spyhole so they can be drawn out during the soda process, to assess how heavy a coat of glaze has accumulated. I actually have not used draw ring since graduate school, so this should be interesting.
They are cooling in the bisque right now, along with the pots for the firing. I plan to make a little video of this process for my Patreon page - click here to subscribe

No comments: