Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Horsehair Demo

pot smoked with feathers horsehair and dried orange peel.

Horsehair Demonstration

Yesterday, Edge demonstrated his horsehair and feather technique.  He heats the pots to 1250F and pulls the out one at at time not with tongs but fiberfax pads. Edge had brought his small kiln with a digital pyrometer which was not working so the pots were not heated as accurately in the Wildacres kiln as his are at home  Some sugar gets thrown on the inside so it isn’t stark white inside the pot.  He uses the pads to apply dried orange peel which leaves white spots with smoky halos.
sprinkling on sugar or orange peel
He gets hemostats that are thrown out by the medical industry to hold the horsehair and feathers, getting several ready in advance.  The feathers are applied for a second and pulled away for better results.  Holding the horsehair with the hemostat helps position the hair for the best aesthetic. All this decorating has to happen in 2-3 minutes while the pot is hot enough to leave the perfect smoky impression of the combustables.  The temperature discrepancy was obvious when all of the ginkgo leaves he puts down before placing the pot on the fiberfax pad burned up to quickly to leave an impression.  He goes to great lengths to make his pots perfectly flat for this.  (We got a demo of his burnishing and trimming technique that all happen while the pot is leather hard on the wheel in different sized pvc fittings with padded rims and altered potato peelers that trim and burnish at the same time.)

Edge’s clay is a custom body that is smooth yet thermal shock resistant.  I made pots out of white earthenware which were OK for  the slow cooling sager but is expected to crack if used for this quick cool process. Edge bisque fires to maybe cone 09 and we all bisqued our pots to the 05 or 04 usually used.  It made a difference in the results on the sager firings for sure.  I haven’t decided whether I should sacrifice one of my remaining pots yet.  Other students have been using his inspiration to do horsehair in the traditional Wildacres manner which is more trial and error testing hairs until they are cool enough to leave a mark.  I think the crack rate has been pretty high.

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