I have just opened the kiln to inspect my first reduction firing of 2014. I had been very nervously waiting for the kiln to cool down because the firing itself hadn’t seemed to go particularly smoothly. So this morning, when it was cool enough to open, I inspected the results and found there were some winners and some losers in there, as can often be the case in any firing.
In this case, the terracotta pieces came out the best. The reduction process transforms the soft orange of the bisque fired terracotta to a dark purple-brown-black, without the addition of a glaze or engobe, just using the iron in the clay body itself. The temperature I fire to also pushes the clay to its limit, creating small bubbles on the surface in the process. I enjoy the texture it gives to the vessels and like the way it enhances the ‘metalic’ quality of the pieces. Here is a ‘before and after’ shot of some of the pieces in Sunday’s firing.
I also put some stoneware tests in the kiln. I’m exploring some new ideas with different clay bodies. It’s very early days yet, but I like how some of the results look so far, particularly how they look in combination with the dark terracotta.