Bottom to Top

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Form bottom to top. There’s a quite a lot of difference in between the two extremes in a gourmet atmospheric kiln. Just a few inches this way or that way, or maybe a kiln shelf or two up or down makes so much difference in the final results. Figuring out what to put where for best results, and more importantly, what placement would condem a piece of work to the shard pile is the most important question that I need answered. (I just don’t get the opportunity to put work in soda kilns often enough to casually fuck around. If and when the opportunity comes up again, I won’t be walking into this as blind.) As far as results go, the new Cobb Mountain Soda kiln didn’t disappoint. With what came out of the kiln, separate designs can be now created specific to the different zones in the kiln.

A few studio notes regarding the work that we had came out of the Cobb Mountain Crossdraft Soda kiln two weeks ago. From bottom to top, the different levels fire completely differently. …Duh… Zones.  The design of the kiln allows for firing with both wood and gas, topping it off with soda, and the crew that fired off the inaugural kiln load used all of the options to good effect. After starting with wood, they brought it to a flat eleven at the top and 9 at the bottom with a heavy dosing of soda as it came to temp.

I used a Helmer Flashing Wash exclusively  on the exterior surfaces of the Rooster Yunomi, brushing it on restively thinly, and a Bell White used as a liner glaze.

The image below is a piece from the bottom shelf. Sitting in the coldest zone in the kiln, it under fired. Cone 9 dropped but the design muddied up to the point of being non readable. Thuddy is an appropriate adjective to use with this piece.

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The piece below is from the next level up from the bottom and successfully dropped the 10 cone. It appeared to have gotten a huge dose of wood ash as well as a healthy dose of soda which pretty much obscured the design, but a little bit of wet sanding and the rooster started to peek back out from under the rivulets.

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The  work from the middle shelves hit cone ten and reacted well with the fuming soda. These came out of the kiln beautifully. From this moment on, this is the sweet spot I’m going to go to sleep dreaming about.

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But the place that I’m already plotting a return to is the top shelf. It’s the thunder bitch spot. The work needs to be set with the wood flashing and a heavy cascade of soda vapor in mind. Both will obliterate any design that’s facing the onslaught directly, but knowing that… the things we can do! Oh My!!

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