11 August 2008

more problems with pots

Throwing pots is never a straight forward exercise. From the outside it seems simple - you create a form on the wheel, it dries, you fire it, glaze it and fire it again. A simple series of processes.

But every stage of the process is littered with problems and pit falls.

Creating the form is perhaps the easiest and most satisfying part of the equation. The drying stage reveals problems, a too think base will give you nasty S cracks in the bottom. Turning done too dry will reveal hairline cracks in the rim.

There's some tidying up to do - spongeing, application of a dinky transfer if I'm in the mood. Then it's time for bisque firing. Usually fairly uneventful.

Then glazing. Glazing is a horror. Getting the glaze at the right consistency. Choosing the right glaze for the form. Applying in a not too think not too thin fashion. Then gently dusting the surface to fill in any bubbles and smooooooth it all down and a final dry sponge of the base and it's ready to be fired.

That final firing is when everything can come undone. S cracks that didn't exist will suddenly appear, a too late reminder to keep the base not too thick. The glaze will miss behave, turn an ugly as sin colour with horrid texture... who knows what can happen.

But it's those elements of the unkown. The random and unconqurable nature of pottery that makes it so enjoyable and so frustrating.