Friday, May 8, 2009

May 8, 2009
We finished firing the anagama on May 2. We get to unload tomorrow. It was a wonderful and yet stressful firing. Since we started the wood kiln research project, the firings have always been challenging. This time we wanted to do our opacity tests again. We recorded the smoke coming off the stack every 15 seconds for six minutes every hour. This gave us 24 consecutive readings each hour and since we did the test for 24 hours we are able to see that we have been able to keep our air quality good throughout the firing. We did the testing from the time we started seriously raising temperature to our highest temperature. That was the time we were adding the most wood and stoking almost constantly. The challenge was getting good reduction without a lot of smoke. We had a few times that the smoke was so black and thick that we exceeded the desired opacity, but it cleared quickly and looking at all of the readings, the testing shows we are well within the 20% opacity range.

On top of that, the pots look fantastic. We haven't unloaded but I have peeked in and we have the best reduction we have gotten out of this kiln. We have wonderful color, yellows, oranges, greens and very little gray. It is rewarding to see that we can change the way we fire without losing the surface that we want.

We have also just finished gathering information to compare a gas bisque to and electric bisque for our carbon footpring calculator. Mike has the information and he will make the necessary calculations over the week end. Hopefully I can post more on the carbon footprint calculator early next week.

I will let you know all about the unloading. Wish us luck!


Louise Boscacci said...

Hi, ceramics and the broader context of ecological responsibility as makers in the 21st century is now an unavoidable discussion. So I welcome your blog and add a personal austral link as a studio artist:

In the recent Australian Ceramics Triennale (Sydney, July 16 - 20, 2009), some attention was directed towards this context, but it is still an add-on more than a starter position. Perhaps we need to 'start from scratch' and re-think what are the 21C needs and conditions, and then locally and regionally design ceramic practices and educational courses out from that? Local specificity, past and future temporal awareness and planetary/ global networking. I have termed my era as the "emerging Greenhouse Age", not to be alarmist or pessimistic, but to daily 'ground' myself about what and how I do things in the name of creativity and income. I start from a position of possibility. I love ceramics, my practice and the life I have made around these, but I am deep in thought now about the true costs and benefits - to other species, other systems, other humans. Best wishes, and I hope to send new links as they ripen.

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