The GREEN kiln was fired on Monday and unloaded on Wednesday. It was another good firing with some really nice work; but also some carnage which was so disappointing.
There was a lot more work on the shelves for firing than we could fit into the kiln. Some of this work is left over from last year. My intention is to load all the outstanding work in the next couple of weeks so the shelves are empty, and then to top up the kiln with new work as it arrives. I will set the next firing day as soon as the kiln is full and expect to fire in about 3-4 weeks.
Special thanks to my ‘Cooking with Gas’ team who helped with the loading, firing and, along with some other club members, the unloading and cleaning up. I specifically mention the cleaning up as there are a few issues to bring to members attention.
Glaze selection: some of the club glazes are proving unsatisfactory in the gas kiln. Rob will be revising the list of OK glazes in the glaze room. Particular glazes being removed from the list are Van Guilder’s Ash and Matt White. Please be careful to select only glazes from the downdraft green kiln list. These 2 glazes in particular are melting excessively leaving work stuck to the shelves. The work then has to be removed with a hammer and cold chisel, breaking the base from the pot and leaving a lot of grinding to be done to remove the shards from the shelf.
Glaze thickness: the thicker the application the more likely the glaze is to run. Be careful when double dipping or pouring. Excessive thickness of glaze is causing some of the melting on to the shelves.
Footrings: I prefer to see a footring of 6mm minimum that is fully waxed. If you trim to a definite footring it gives a clean line to wax up to and makes sure there is no residue on the base that in the cone 10 environment can melt just enough to stick a little to the shelf. Sponging the foot of the work clean runs the risk of some residue remaining in the base to bond with the shelf and usually results in a very narrow margin, often not wide enough to accommodate even a small glaze run.
Setters: it is pleasing to see some work being supplied on setters. If you have a new glaze, a test or have concerns about the glaze melt this is a great way to protect your work. In event of a run the setter and excess glaze can easily be ground off the bottom of the pot and the shelf is unaffected.
Identifying your work: We need to know to whom each work belongs as it needs to be weighed and charged to your account after firing. Your potters mark is ok though relying on this potentially requires us to recognise the mark of every club member. That is a lot of marks. SO if you chose to use your member number that is very convenient for the kiln room team. A little dab of wax on your mark or number will save it being filled with glaze and becoming illegible.
It is really disappointing for those involved with the kilns to see work irreparably broken when unloading so the notes above are just a few observations to keep in mind so we can make a great job of each firing.
NEEDED - BATHS for Recycling Clay
Does anyone have a bath (or two) that could be used for our clay recycling. We need two of these and they need to be pretty sturdy to hold the weight of the clay. Please contact Jojo Hare at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This workshop will be held at one table in the glaze room on Monday afternoon. We apologise for any inconvenience to members.
As you are aware, Kaye Stead has stepped down from being the Rooms Manager. To make the role that Kaye filled a much more manageable one, we will be splitting the workload up. These are the jobs that we would like some of you to take on, on a regular basis:
Taking the towels, tea towels and occasionally the canvases to the Laundromat. 1 person - this should be done, as required.
It is up to the Tutors to clean up after each class and return everything to its rightful place. This job is just a follow up to make sure that everything is as it should be and the classrooms are clean and tidy. 2 people, 1 for each classroom - this should be done, at least, weekly during term time and after each workshop.
Making sure the member's workroom is kept clean and tidy. 2 people - this should be done on a weekly basis.
Mary Begbie (thank you Mary) has taken on this role of keeping the kitchen clean and tidy and buying the milk each week.
Vicki Russell has taken this role on but another pair of hands to help her will spread the load. This should be done on a weekly basis.
Recall - PW20
Decopots are recalling a couple of batches of PW20 because of slumping and cracking. The batch numbers are #789 to #798. Please check to see if you have any bags with these batch numbers and we will exchange them. Please contact Rod Graham to exchange email@example.com.
First firing for 2023, loading 9am Saturday 18th March, firing 8am Monday 20 March, unloading 2pm Wednesday 22 March.
The weekend loading has been scheduled to allow the involvement of members who are not normally free during the week. I hope some members will come to the loading to assist and learn for the future. There are more learning opportunities with the Monday firing and assistance with the Wednesday unloading is also appreciated.
The most underused facility at the club is the gas kiln installation. Over 2021 and 2022 we tried to set up firings 4 weekly, seldom achieved, and have often had to reschedule firings out to 8 weeks or more apart. The reason for postponing firings is simple, about 200 units are needed to fill the kiln and that volume of work has seldom been available. I am sure the long delays between firings have disappointed members who have put forward a small number of pots only to see them languish on the shelves. There are just 4 members who contribute a good number of pots on a regular basis and there are just 3 members who have been assisting on a regular basis with loading and 2 with the long all day firing.
The club wants to get more member involvement with gas firing. This would reduce part of the heavy load on the electric kilns and the members who run those firings. The big advantage I see in more member involvement is in developing skills and collectively advancing both knowledge and the excitement of reduction fired glaze finishes.
I am setting up a gas firing group, under the title COOKING WITH GAS. Other than club membership, there are no prerequisites to joining this group except that you should have pots available for each firing and share in and learn the firing duties on a rostered system.
ALL CLUB MEMBERS PLEASE NOTE there will be no restriction on the general membership putting pots forward for any of the firings, these will continue to be welcomed.
COOKING WITH GAS will feature a series of Saturday morning instruction sessions covering
The group will be established with a manageable number of up to 10 members. Additional members may be invited to join once the group is established. Initially firings for the year will be scheduled at about 6 week intervals. I am asking for a commitment from the members who join to provide a minimum of 5 pots for each firing.
We can get COOKING WITH GAS underway on Saturday 18 March with the kiln loading, on Monday 20 March, split attendance 8am to 12 pm for start of kiln firing or 1pm to 5pm finish of kiln firing, on Wednesday 22 March unloading, then schedule our discussion Saturdays after Easter and the club raku firings in the first half of April.
Please register your interest through firstname.lastname@example.org or by mobile 027 443 9796. Please also contact me if you can assist with any part of the March firing.
I look forward to starting this journey with interested club members.
Neil Hey - Kilnmaster
You're invited to view the students studying the NZ Diploma of Arts and Design in Ceramics end of year work.
16th November at Otaki Pottery Club Class Rooms from 3 - 6pm
Nibbles and drinks provided. All welcome.
PUBLIC RAKU - 3 DECEMBER 2022
For those of you who don't know, the Otaki Pottery Club has run this community event each year for many many years. COVID stopped us from doing this for a couple of years and we are excited that we can now welcome back the public to this event and of course to our new venue.
The event is where members of the public buy a piece of bisqueware, decorate it with Raku glazes and we fire it on the spot and they can walk away with a lovely piece of pottery.
This is a particular favourite event of the local children. Sue Wilson is organising this and would like to get together a team of volunteers to make this happen. Please contact Sue if you are interested in being involved.
CLASSROOM BOOKING MANAGER
We have created the new role of "Classroom Booking Manager" which Derryn Robson is taking on. This role will begin at the beginning of next year. If you are looking to use one of our classrooms for anything, please contact Derryn.
The club is looking for someone who will take on the role of Promotions/Publicity Manager for our events. This will involve arranging newspaper ads, radio coverage, TV coverage (if you have connections although not necessary if you don't) and generally in getting the news out there to advertise our upcoming events etc. Our Social Media coverage is already covered by Wendi Lindsay.