Monday, October 28, 2013

Scene’s From The Life Of A Potter

Ever wondered what the life of a Potter was like? Today we show you a glimpse inside the life of Lynn Isaacson from New Prospect Pottery.

Firing the gas kiln at New Prospect Pottery is usually a group effort. Potters from the tri-state area come to the pottery and use the pottery's glazes which are mixed by me. People come early as it takes a bit of time to individually glaze and prepare pots for the kiln. Each potter must wax the bottom of their pots so as not to have them stick to the kiln shelves. Each pot must then be wiped clean of any glaze that adheres to the wax.

It seems like a daunting task to place everyone's pots in the places in the kiln that create the effects each potter prefers. This kiln holds about 80 pots. Some firings have many more pots that will fit into the kiln. It is necessary then to hold two firings back to back. I start loading the kiln as soon as most of the work is glazed. Each potter can help with the loading process. Once loaded, the kiln is sealed so none of the spaces between the door, brick and spy holes contribute to extra air being introduced into the reduction atmosphere. I begin candling the kiln at 3 AM. This process removes any moisture from the pots, kiln furniture such as shelving and shelf supports.

After about an hour and a half of candling with one burner, I light another. An hour after that all four burners are lit. The firing then begins. At approximately 9:30 or 10:00 I put the kiln into what is called 'body reduction'. This deprives the atmosphere in the kiln of oxygen. The flame seeks oxygen from the glazes and the clay. This gives the ware an unreproduceable effect that is different in each area of each specific pot. It is always a surprise to see what comes out after the 36 hour cooling.

Just another day in the life of a potter.

Lynn -

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