New Barrel Fired Work and Thoughts on Burnishing

Results from our first barrel firing of 2019.

We had wonderful results from the first barrel firing of the year! All new work is up for sale on the shop here. This is one half of the work I have prepared for barrel firing currently and I’m itching to get the second half fired as soon as I can (that will probably be in a few weeks though because May is a busy month).

This time around I put in the extra effort to do a very old technique called burnishing on these pieces and I really couldn’t be happier with the results. To burnish a piece of pottery I wait until the work is completely dry, at what is called the bone dry stage, and then wipe on a little water and rub the pot with a polished stone to smooth the surface. I go over the whole pot, bit by bit, three times with this process. The end result is a shiny, soft to the touch, surface that shows the coloring from the atmospheric firing beautifully. Here is a link to a video on my facebook page that shows the process.

The pot in the foreground is before burnishing with the polished stone, the pot in the background is after.
More pieces I burnished, the tallest piece to the back right in the picture is yet to be burnished and has a more rough texture than the rest.

While burnishing is a time consuming process that requires patience, I feel it is very much worth it. I will continue my work with burnishing in the future.

After burnishing I bisque fire the work to cone 018 in my electric kiln and then the pieces are ready to be barrel fired. This time around the weather was dark and a little rainy so I didn’t get any photos of the actual firing, hopefully next time. In case you’re interested, here is a post I wrote last year that talks about the barrel firing process, and here is a post I wrote a few years back about the process of pit firing, which is pretty much the same as barrel firing.

We have been adjusting the way we layer things in the barrel and the different colorants we add. We’ve also learned that getting the fire as hot as we can has a very positive effect. After getting such lovely results this time I think we’ve got things figured out. I am very proud to say these pieces are my work, and if you know me you might know how rarely I give myself props. I am certainly my hardest critic, but having my name on these pieces makes me feel good 🙂 The following are pictures of my favorites this time around.

As always, I want to give a huge thanks to my husband for all the work he puts in to helping me with my pottery. I wouldn’t be able to make these barrel firings happen without him. Thanks to everyone else that shows me love and support as well. <3 take care all <3

Lots Going On

As the heading says, there is a lot going on here 🙂 I’m preparing to take my work and go sell at the Cheeseburger in Caseville festival this Thursday-Saturday at the Wooded Island Sports Grill. Last year and the year before I set up there as well. I’m getting excited to share all the improvements I’ve made both in my work and my display.

Since the last time I posted I’ve been making, making, making!  It has been a lot of throwing, trimming, hand building, puling handles, decorative carving, and all that jazz. My lovely husband helped me set up my kiln and with that my studio is now fully functional 😀 Over the last few weeks I’ve done 3 bisque firings, 2 glaze firings, a barrel fire and a refire. It feels awesome to be putting my studio to work and finishing up pieces that have been in the process for months now.

My kiln set up

We’ve decided to move to barrel firing instead of pit firing here at the new house. It’s very similar in both method and result. Although, there has been a learning curve for us. In the first fire we didn’t get things quite hot enough to see much color on the pots. After that, we decided to refire some of the pieces. In the refire we had issues with some of the additives I put in the barrel sticking pots together and making a mess in general. The good news is we’ve learned a lot. We had lovely color results in the second firing too, and that bodes well for future firings.

The barrel on fire during our first try.

A look inside the barrel after our refire.

My favorite piece from the first firing.

Two lovely pieces that survived the refire.

While the barrel firing is a work in progress, I have had great luck glaze firing the electric kiln. Over the last two weeks I’ve glazed and fired 14 piggy banks and 45 cups/mugs. I am very pleased with my results, the piggies especially. They just catch my eye and make me smile 🙂

Kiln loaded before being fired

After the firing

All the piggies together

Now that all my work is completely through the making process I’ve been busy taking inventory and pricing things.

I will also have some paintings for sale with me up at Cheeseburger. I was even able to frame most of them up. These little iris paintings are a few of my favorites <3

I think that’s all I have to share for now. I’ll update more when we’re in Caseville selling. As always thanks for the love and support. I’ve been getting lots of great feedback on social media and it means a lot to me. <3