The Soft Firing

For this firing I was using more of my new flashing slip, now called Karangahake Flashing, testing it on more pieces to see how it performed in different places in the kiln and on different clay mixes. I also had my new shino glaze on a few tea bowls to see how it would look. In addition I was trying out a new soda sprayer, similar pressure pump as the old one, but with a longer arm, a different valve and a finer spray head. My theory was the longer arm would mean I could reach deeper into the kiln and thus spray more evenly across the width of the kiln. The finer spray I though would carry better into the quiet areas into the lee side of pots.

So much for theories – what confronted me during the unloading was an interesting exercise in figuring out what actually goes on in a soda kiln. The longer arm did work as expected and the soda loading across the kiln was even, but the finer spray meant less of those soda punches that I used to get on the work, lots of colour, blushes and small flashed patches, but no key hits. Turns out the spray works better if a bit splattery as the droplets get carried by the heat and flame and explode into a steam cloud that collides with the pots and deposits a heavy soda load. The fine mist quickly disperses and is carried in the quick moving flame path and ends up in the chimney. So more work needed on my sprayer. More images are available in the different galleries.

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