Tag Archives: Pottery

From The Centre To The Edge – pottery par excellence

 

In 2011, the Archie Bray Foundation held a live auction called From The Centre To The Edge to celebrate 60 years of innovation and creativity in the ceramic arts at their wonderful facility. Based at Helena in Montana, the foundation offers residencies and specialized workshops to ceramic artists from around the world. Over the years it has become a premier testing ground for ceramic artists working together to share ideas and techniques. Some prominent ceramicists have studied and lectured at this colony for potters. I think the pieces that were on  offer at this auction are a testimony to the quality of ceramic arts and artists that have been influenced by Archie Bray.

 

Gail Kendall

Tureen, 2011
earthenware, slip, glaze, china paint,gold luster

  Gail Kendall

 

 

Eva Kwong

The Immortal Peach, 2006
stoneware, wood fired

  Eva Kwong

 

 

Sarah Jaeger

Dinner Plates, 2011
porcelain, glaze

  Sarah Jaeger

 

Kevin Snipes

Datz Hot, 2010
porcelain

Kevin Snipes

 

 

Warren Mackenzie

Platter, 2011
stoneware

 Warren Mackenzie

 

 

Peter Voulkos

Anasazi S13, 2010

 Peter Voulkos

 

 

Gustin

Platter #1019, 2010
stoneware, gas-fired reduction

Christopher Gustin

 

 

 

Shaner

Four-Square, 1987
stoneware, maria crystalline glaze

David  Shaner

 

 

 

Antemann

Happy 60th Archie Bray, 2010
porcelain, decals, luster

Chris Antemann

 

 

 

Ayumi Horie

Cherry Blossom Plates, 2011
porcelain, gold luster, silver luster

Ayumi Horie

 

 

 

Matthew Metz

Covered Jar, 2010
porcelain, salt glazed

Matthew Metz

 

 

Sunkoo Yuh

Untitled (Candle Holder), 2010
porcelain, cone 10, salt fired

Sunkoo Yuh

 

 

 

Josh Deweese

Jar, 2011
salt soda fired stoneware

Josh Deweese

 

 

 

 

C

East West, 2010
porcelain, cobalt inlay, glaze

Steven Young-lee

 

 

 

Ken Ferguson

Tri Udder Ewer with Mermaid Handle, 2003
stoneware, chrome slip

Ken Ferguson

 

 

 

Sandy Simon

Gathering Green, 2011
red earthenware, porcelain slip, Orr’s green glaze fired in oxidation to cone 02, nichrome wire, red “lucky” seed from the Amazon, wax thread or reed

Sandy Simon

 

 

 

Jun Kaneko

Untitled, 2009
glazed ceramic

Jun Kaneko

 

 

 

John Utgaard

Sentinel, 2007
glazed earthenware

John Utgaard

 

 

 

Randy Johnson

Large Bowl with Black & White Trailed Pattern, 2010
stoneware, wood fired, kaolin flashing slip

Randy Johnson

 

 

 

473px-473px-patti-warshina

Pouring Ewer Woman with Crocus, 2004
porcelain

Patti Warshina

 

 

 

Wayne Higby

Skywell Falls, 2009
ceramic, stoneware tile, earthenware glaze

Wayne Higby

 

 

 

Victor Babu

Small Footed Cannister, 2008
porcelain

Victor Babu

 

 

 

Gail Busch

Portraits, 2007
terra cotta, terra sigillata

Gail Busch

 

 

 

Robert Archambeau

Bottle, 2011
stoneware, wood fired, shino glaze

Robert Archambeau

Ed Eberle

October 8th 2009, 2009
porcelain

Ed Eberle

Oshiko Takaezu

Three Closed Forms, 1995
gas fired, porcelain cone 10

Oshiko Takaezu

Linda Sikora

Covered Jar, 2010
porcelain, polychrome glaze, wood fire

Linda Sikora

John Glick

Stoneware Plate, 2009
stoneware, multiple slips, glazes, reduction fired

John Glick

Robert Brady-sm

Bomb, 2007
clay, cone 3

Robert Brady-sm

Don Reitz

Jar, 2008
anagama fired stoneware, 7 day fire with oak, hickory, pine

Don Reitz

vase in window

Vase in window – Archie Bray Foundation

photo – Tharwell

The keeper

The keeper – Archie Bray Foundation

photo-Tharwell

More info on the auction here

Ceramics and pottery kilns

yucatan-pottery-kiln
Purchasing a pottery kiln is no inexpensive undertaking. It is the largest investment a potter has to make. But which type of kiln should you buy.  In this article, I will take a closer look at different types of kilns available and a history of how pottery kilns were used in the making of handmade pottery and other ceramic pieces.
Primitive kilns were no more than the simple hearths used for cooking, based on warmth, light, and protection. In fact, pit kilns being  easy to create are still incorporated in hand made pottery and ceramics. Clay has been used since prehistory for decoration and function but it is unknown how the actual firing process was discovered. It is thought that the first fired pots originated nearly 10,000 years ago, when agriculture began. These early farmers needed  containers and fired clay to produce storage and cooking objects which served these needs well. The earliest kilns were pits dug into the ground and the pottery loosely stacked on top of each other. Flammable materials were placed around the pottery and the fire was allowed to burn down. After cooling, the pots were cleaned of the ash and residue and were then used.
Another early form of pottery kiln, the beehive kiln, was the first kiln constructed that looks like what we consider a kiln. The pots are stacked in an arched chamber retaining greater heat than the pit kiln and making the pottery more durable. An alternate type of the beehive concept was built in China around 500 A.D., and called the stepped kiln. This kiln used the simple form of the beehive, but had multiple chambers in a terraced pattern so that the kiln capacity could be increased. This worked well in villages where pottery making was a primary activity, and where a large volume of pottery was needed.
A well known kiln  that is used today is the natural gas kiln. Rather than using the flammable materials of the pit and step kilns, natural gas is used for the fuel. There are both updraft and downdraft natural gas kilns available. The advantages of natural gas as a fuel is that it produces very low levels of pollution, and that the fuel is relatively inexpensive. In some areas propane is more commonly used as a fuel; however care must be taken as propane is heavier than air and if the flame should get extinguished, the gas can settle and produce a potential for explosion. Natural gas will disperse on its own since it is lighter than air.
Kiln Selection :
Since all manufacturers use the same bricks and the same element wire for all but certain specialized kilns, there are not significant differences in price or performance from one brand to another. In addition, since the bricks are available in one 9″ x 4  1/2″,   kiln sizes and particularly the popular top-loading electric kilns, are standardized.
Gas or electric :
electric kiln
The first decision to be made in the process is whether you want–or specifically need– gas or electric. Gas means either propane, butane or natural gas, the only difference in the kilns themselves being the size of the inexpensive orifice on each burner. Generally, firing costs for similarly sized kilns are not significantly different for gas or electric. In fact gas is often more expensive because kilns do not burn the fuel efficiently and because a great deal of heat is lost through venting. The advantage of a gas kiln is that “reduction” firing is possible. However, there are many significant disadvantages, especially for the relative novice. Obvious examples are that bisque firing is best done in the relatively clean atmosphere of an electric kiln, gas kilns require significant venting, and as they are generally placed outdoors,  they require much more attention and care to properly fire.
When larger kilns are contemplated (l5 or 20 cubic feet or more), gas is the choice because it is often easier and less expensive to install  a gas service than the electrical lines necessary for such large kilns.
If a pottery or ceramic artist chooses to glaze fire in an oxidizing atmosphere, an electric kiln can also be an excellent choice for glaze firing.
If reduction firing or salt soda glazing is desired, then a gas, oil or wood fired kiln is the tool of choice, because it would ruin the electric kiln.
Top vs. Front loading :
The second basic decision concerns top loading versus front loading configurations. Although front loading kilns are more desirable from the ease of loading standpoint, they are generally much more expensive. Usually, front loading kilns are built with 4 1/2 inch thick walls and top loading kilns with the bricks set on edge so the walls are only 2 1/2 inches thick. This reduces the number of bricks significantly and since the bricks themselves are the main cost of the kiln, it keeps the price down.
Round vs. square :
On a per cubic foot basis, the “round” (and the similarly designed “oval”) kilns are less expensive than the square kilns because they are easier to build and use fewer bricks (refer to “Top vs. Front Loading” above and “Kiln Sizes” below). Depending on the size and shape of the ware to be fired, a square configuration may load more effectively but that must be balanced against the initial kiln cost difference.

The only new kiln technology is the electric kiln. Unlike other methods which utilize a fuel for operation, electric kilns run by coiled wires that bring about heat. A toaster operates on the same principle. A lot of the modern electric pottery kilns are equipped with electronic shut off devices, called kiln sitters, to monitor the firing process. Still, any kiln must never be left unattended.

So there you have it, a brief history of the kiln and the different concepts behind it and its construction.

Firing a Large Gas Kiln

Alan Frewin talks us through the process of firing his pottery as he packs, fires and unpacks a large 'walk-in' gas kiln. - excerpt from "Pottery On Video" by Alan Frewin, Master Potter, Millhouse Pottery, UK - http://www.potteryonvideo.com