We’ve been burning micro-batches all week testing out clay/glaze/slip combos at cone 7 in a small test kiln. I wasn’t intending on getting hooked on firing this way, but there are a lot of upsides.
The big one is that I keep my risk levels to a minimum by firing 5-7 cups per load. That’s right… 5-7 cups tops. So I can make a decision and either get a result that doesn’t quite work for me (like the above piece) or hit the mark and keep rolling, or screws the pooch, swing the hammer, and make adjustments and try again. It makes it easier to accept one off characters of questionable aesthetics for their uniqueness, after all, there’s only one or two of the buggers rather than a sizable chunk of a proper sized kilnload.
The above work is a good example… I really enjoy this piece. It’s readable with a decent composition, but it’s surface is fucked up. Strangely comfortingly fucked up. Because there’s only one of these, rather than a dozen, it’s allowed to be what it is… a very nice piece.
Granted, the small kiln isn’t exactly economical, but it’s a trade off. It is perfect for doing some serious R&D. It’s flexible, and the small kilnload size doesn’t just allow for flexibility, flexibility is its greatest strength, (not a bad strength to have) and in turn, it allows us to be flexible as well.
Frankly, for me, it’s reenforcing a point of view that studio life can and should be more about the joy of passion play rather than merely the pursuit of products. It’s about using the Arts to create a lifestyle that’s worth living rather than a life trapped in a hamster wheel of our own making. After all,we’re not doing this to make a living… We’re doing it to live.
p.s. All the work on this page are collabs with the lovely Lady Fong 🙂