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Prepping bisque wares
Painting slip onto bisqued pots to deny the smoke trapping and firing effects on some areas of the cooking pots. This will be scrapped off after the firing is complete.
Two "Cooking Pots" with different surface treatments ready to be fired. Banana peel and sea salt are used to add minerals to the flame. Not sure if this worked. For instance, the banana peel is a good source of potassium to help produce color. A good source of copper sulfate helps to produce greens and reds. Miricle Grow has been used for Copper sulfate, but I wasn't crazy about burning that material in this firing. This was my first "experimental" sawdust firing.
Placing the wares and materials
Sawdust, sea salt and banana peel are placed in a brick "box". I also packed leaves and branches to help the fire make its way through the combustable material. It was packed full with material.
Covering the wares completely
Just packiing material in, being careful not to put too much pressure on the wares. the material is inside and out of the pots.
Ready to light
I stacked a nice source of small logs, tree limbs and sheets of bark to feed into the fire.
Warm fire on a cold day
Firing begins. I made sure the branches stayed in the fire and feed the firing with the limbs and bark material. The idea is that the more coals you have on top of the firing, the better the opportunity that the fire will travel through and burn out the sawdust completely, all the way to the bottom of this "kiln".
It must have been 3 a.m. when I took this photo. I had stopped feeding the fire some time earlier, but I was too excited to see what was going on. i dont have a photo of this posted but I had covered the top of the bridck structure with a sheet of metal to prevent cold air from blowing in, potentially creating thermal shock to the vessels. These were still too hot to remove from the brick. This firing is similar to doing a 'pit' firing, where a hole is dug in the ground instead of using bricks.
Scrubbing the finished wares
I used comet and a scrubbing pad. I don't like the feeling of comet on my hands.
I took breaks. Its not really hard work. It was just cold that day. I can still taste the hot chocolate on my breath.
Set out to dry
These are still only bisqued fired so they are not technically "functional wares", but this project was done for a presentation to a 4th grade class studying Native Americans, who would have used bees wax on the inside of the vessel to make them less porous when cooking. Three rocks in the fire and three rocks outside of the fire and you could make a stew with these round-bottomed cooking pots.