Pots that have been fired in a wood fired kiln, often retain a signature of that firing. Flames and wood ash will leave their own mark on the pots, that will be quite as unique as our own finger prints. It is fun to spend time with a pot, and to get to know it.
Where the pot is placed in the kiln, is often as important as how it has been glazed.
This little teapot has freckles of wood ash on one side, but not on the other.
The side of the pot that has been freckled by falling wood ash, was more exposed to the flame than the other side. This has made subtle differences to the colour of the glaze as well.
The glaze is a shino glaze and one I like to use in the wood kiln. If I fired the same glaze in my electric kiln, it would come out an unattractive pasty white. A lot of the colour in this shino glaze comes from the iron that is in the stoneware clay that the pot is made of. The iron colouring is drawn into the glaze when the pot is fired in an oxygen starved atmosphere. Where the glaze is thickest it is palest, and where thin, more of the iron percolates through.
The recipe for this glaze is from the New Zealand potter Len Castle, with a slight tweak.
80 Nepheline Syenite
5 Ball Clay
15 China Clay
+ 3 Salt
+ my tweak which is 0.5 yellow ochre.
The yellow ochre does impart a definate golden tone to this glaze, and without it, the glaze tends to be gray and red in my kiln with less lustre and complexity.
I took the camera to Dunedin with me on Tuesday when I went in to look after the Stuart Street Potter's Co-operative gallery for the day. I catch the bus just before sunrise now, and I had a go at trying to record the sun coming up over the estuary at Karitane, and at Blueskin Bay as we went past. My camera is pretty basic, so its tiny lens had problems catching enough light in the early morning, but I quite like the results.