Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pit Fire, June 22nd Seattle with Barbara Dunshee and her students

There were 20+ pieces in the pit fire, but I was able to photograph this small sampling. These are unscrubbed and untreated and already show very nicely. They were first bisqued to cone 06.

Pit Fired Piece (Elizabeth's slab and texture bowl). Unglazed porcelain, fired to cone 6 (usually one fires pit bound pieces to bisque temps, but this was a late comer and needed to join the cone 6 glaze fire I was doing). Curiously, this and at least one other cone 6 piece in the pit fire showed cracking (as did some cone 06 pieces). But the luster was quite stunning.

The pit was already smoldering when we arrive so Jan takes on the embers. We need a cold pit to start.

Amanda loading in the layer of sawdust to the pit fire. You can see a glimpse of the chicken wire off to the left, waiting to layer on top of the sawdust.

Elizabeth wrapping pot in rafia and leaves. She'll then wrap with a layer of newspaper.

Wrapping pottery to go in pit fire. With random organic matter, then with newspaper.

Nestled atop the sawdust is a (barely visible) square of chicken wire, to keep the pots from sinking fully down into it. We start to layer in the pots, already wrapped with materials and finished off with newspaper.

Booty shot.

Getting close to 7pm, our ignition time, so all are quickly stuffing balled up newspaper in between pots wrapped in newspaper.

Placing wrapped pottery into the pit

Stuffing balls of paper in around the already nestled pottery

SURPRISE IGNITION! A stray ember has ignited our newspaper and we've got no kindling down! Time to load it, FAST!

Dash to load lots of kindling so we get a good intense burn going rather than a quick poof of just newspaper!

We had to throw in lots of kindling very quickly as the paper ignited unexpectedly (previous fire ember). It was reclaimed, untreated cedar and burned very quickly. The larger wood we had was also very nicely aged so that burned quickly. Being that we could only fire a little more than an hour that's what we needed. A quick burn.

Plenty of dry kindling thanks to my friend Emily!

Using tongs to gently place large dry logs on top of pottery.

Tongs and Gloves.

Wire grating to partially suspend pottery above sawdust. And the reclaimed cedar plank for kindling.

Adding a log occasionally, but we can only let it burn about an hour (our time constraints, not the pit's) before having it die down. Time to eat, back at the other grill.

Coated with glow, grit, soot, sand.

Corn and mystery foil packets. Beans I think and some steak.

Karen can stand it no longer. She pulls one of her footed orbs from the fire.

Pit Fire Paparazzi!

Removing more pieces throughout the evening, as they reveal through the embers.

Still rosy cheeked from digging around in the pit fire, Karen surrounded by warm pieces, hers and one of Jan's I think.

We're loosing the light, time to go home soon.

Bob captures the evening sky.

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