Jim fired the kiln last Monday. Last Wednesday, I went out in my bathrobe and opened the door. It’s what we live for – to see the results of a firing. How are the glazes behaving? Are we getting the Kaki red that we like? Were there any glaze runs or bubbles (that we don’t like). I found a couple of nice pots that had specks of kiln wash on them – my fault for not scraping the backsides of all the shelves well enough. For the most part, it was a successful firing—and there were 7 new masks to Ooooo and Ahhhh over. I brought one in and laid it on Jim’s pillow while he was in the shower.
The masks aren’t perfect, but they are interesting. Here’s our favorite. Before you look, let me explain that this lady’s face had semi-circular cracks on both cheeks. Jim filled the cracks with black metal epoxy. Then he painted her face tan with acrylic ceramic paint. And lastly, he covered her face with black shoe polish, followed by brown shoe polish. With all that cosmetic surgery, she will belong to us.
I laid out the others on the sidewalk. These did not require touch-ups. Some have insignificant cracks; others are perfectly sound. When you make sculptural masks such as these “from scratch,” there are thick and thin places in the clay. If the clay is more than about an inch thick, it will crack unless you punch holes on the back side to let the gases escape. Jim is still practicing making them and I am still practicing glazing them.
Here are the masks from the previous firing. No cracks in this batch – we lucked out. I’m fond of the three middle ones. They may go to our Georgetown gallery.