Two more shows cancelled…another retail shop announced its closing…and another sales rep left the industry. Brenda and I get our second vaccinations in a week. Angst is high. My mind is running pretty fast…in circles at times. Stay calm. “Calm” is so easy to type and so not easy to execute.
On top of the normal (whatever that has become) events around the studio, we're participating in March Madness with The Fiberworld Show...voting continues. We're hoping we make it to the second round.
Last Friday I fired fresh feather painted pieces as well as new obvara bits. Yarn Bowls! for one…and Extra Large Buttons. Then came the washing of same. Then the attention was all on finishing all those pieces with an acrylic which means breaking down the studio and wearing a mask during the eight spray sessions. So while I was breaking down the studio in preparation for spray, I was also firing some raku works and when those were out, I washed those and set them aside to dry.
One of the crazy things that we get to do this time of year is to juggle the weather forecast (good luck with that), prepping the obvara mixture (it takes several days to get “perfect”) and the drying schedule of pots. Flexibility. I try hard…but…but…what do you mean 40 degrees? Rain…yes? No? The only stable part of the process is that I keep the obvara mixture in the bathroom in the workshop with a heater set at the right temperature for yeast to make magic. The workshop has a yeasty smell in the air for those several days. Yeasty in the workshop…acrylic in the mudroom.
Weird TMI bit…when I’m doing obvara I am usually doing several hundred pieces during a session. The pieces range from 1 inch in diameter to about 8 inches. I’m also doing them in fairly rapid succession…open the kiln…dip…check…toss in water…open the kiln and so forth. I use two “zones” in the kiln so that one filled with pieces warming and one is ready to go…use the ready to go side and then fill it will more pieces…use the now ready to go pieces and on and on. I’m very organized and plan each move. I even know where my feet are placed and never ever cross one foot over the other. The organized process helps to eliminate mistakes. Mistakes can hurt. Remember those pots and bits come out of the kiln at 1200-1350 F. But, that efficient and rapid work pattern means that very hot pots are going into the obvara goo and warming it, nay my friend, cooking it! As in cooking porridge. It becomes a steaming flour soup by the time I’m finished for the day. I’ve had to stop firing when the mixture turns to paste. When I have an extraordinary number of larger pieces, I make up two buckets of the goo. Sticking the pots into paste just does not work. The water bath I use to cool the pieces gets so hot that I cannot stick my bare hand into it, so I use the water hose to cool the cooling bath.
I finished a custom set of plates for a customer back East. They were done in obvara and went out the door a week ago. I was a bit sad to watch those go. They were seriously gorgeous. It was hard not to just sit and stare at them.
…and of course, I did get photographs and the video before the pieces shipped. Once a piece is out the door, I lose the opportunity to capture it.
Is it so bad to find calm in making hot steaming flour porridge? Works for me.
Lickinflames is known for making special yarn bowls, shawl pins and closures along with a line of mugs, plates and wall decor. Lickinflames is proud of it's 45 year history of making pottery using raku, obvara and feather decorations. The beautiful patterns created by saggar firing, especially tin foil saggar simply fascinating. All the work is handmade using stoneware clay.