search  current discussion  categories  kilns & firing - misc 

magic in the electric kiln and the tressiemme partiere

updated fri 22 sep 06


Elizabeth Priddy on thu 21 sep 06

Please forgive my french, it is an expression
referring to the third part of life, specificly to the
third part of women's lives, when the kids are gone,
the husbands may be dead and the life is again your
own with the wisdom of experience and the means to
attend to your own desires...a good thing, not the dry
death of menopause. It is a philosophical rebirthing.

And I am in it, figuratively and intellectually, for
various reasons, although the baby is an interesting
kink in the flow.

Dolita is absolutely correct in what she is saying
about the nature of an electric kiln. With the caveat
that you also can fling ash on your surfaces and do
other things as means to add randomness to your
surfaces, and that there are electric glazes that look
looser than ones you may be using, I agree.

And that is why I buy glazes. I do not even wear a
watch, I balk so quickly at little increments of
anything, like minutes of time or micrograms of salt
or grams of chemicals.

The knowledge of myself and the acceptance of the
reality of precision measuring in electric kiln glaze
manufacturing means that I learned to do it and now
pay someone to do it. And my work is plenty varied
and controlled.

But I wing it on my raku glazes and have a chimney
kiln where I put whatever is around ina tinfoil packet
with the pots and come up with magic.

What I actually smell in that post, though, is
alternative and gas fire envy.

There is magic in the electric kiln.

Glaze some pots with a glaze that is a bit forgiving
and that layers. Throw powdered stuff across on and
over it, like ash through a sieve (with a mask and
goggles). Yoiu can also toss on granulated glass,
powdered mason stains, stains mixed in a spray bottle
with veegum and water, Bits of ground kiln brick, salt
solution or granulated salt. The only thing you have
to lose is about half your pots, again, just like the
gas and wood folk. (hee,hee) And yes, it will shorten
the life of your elements. So what?

Just assume the role of the magic kiln God of
Randomness. Then fire it all to the correct

The magic moment is the anticipation of what will come

And you will have it, just like the gas and wood folk.
Your work-style will have to change, your chemistry
will have to change. And you will have to invest in
kiln wash heavily. But your kiln will remain the same
and in loads that you do not do this stuff to your
pots, it will be trusty and tru and just the same as
it ever was...

The absolute best of both worlds.

I think I have moved over a hump in my artistic life.
I no longer am constrained by the recipes. It shows
and it feels good.

I recently threw with porcelain again after a 15 year
vacation from that hellish mistress. I know two
things now that I did not know then.

1. I am now a good enough potter that I can make that
evil substance do whatever I want. And my lack of
skills was my problem, not the clay.

2. I have not got room in my life for anything that
high maintenance, not people, not string instruments,
and certainly not clay. (Only my son can require that
kind of effort, not even me...I am as they say in the
movies, too old for that shit.)

See, I turned two pots that day. One to ooh and aah
over because it was porcelain and another that came up
like a dream and took 15 minutes and was a better pot.
No drying persnickityness, no throwing cream cheese,
no slimy slip instead of water to throw with.

And if I want a porcelain coating to paint on, there
is slip.

I have moved on to the part of the show where I have a
level of mastery over my materials and myself that I
am finally truly free to work however I please. And I
have to tell you, it is sweet not having to wonder if
I can do it anymore.

Aroogance isn't arrogance if you can back it up. It
is confidence and self-assurance. And at some point
in your life, you just have to decide that you are
there and hold on tight for the bucking ride you are
in for when you boldly go where you have not gone

And that is the journey I am on at the moment.


Elizabeth Priddy

Beaufort, NC - USA

Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around