Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wildacres Retreat 2011

I’m back at Wildacres Retreat to meet with “It was a dark and stormy night” Pottery Guild Retreat after missing last year due my big move.  Edge Barnes is leading the workshop this year demonstrating and guiding us in his aluminum foil sager fired burnished pieces and his version of horsehair pots.

Wildacres is a nonprofit retreat owned by the Blumenthal family outside of Little Switzerland, NC.  For an incredible price you can come here and stay with room, board and studio space do do work you don’t normally get to do.  Rising Sun Pottery has reserved the 4th of July week for a group of about 19 for quite a few years now.  The week got it’s name because we share the lodge with a writers group and a story telling group; kind of a spoof on their efforts to write and tell stories. ( Snoopy always sat on top of his dog house to write his great novel and never got farther than “It was a dark and stormy night...”)  The other motto for our gathering is “ It’s always 5 o’clock somewhere.”
Edge and our motto signs

So far, we have done several nice loads of sager fire in the racu kiln.  The process involves using well burnished pots with ferric chloride washed on them. 
Edge demonstrating ferric chloride application
Edge dips them lightly in “swamp juice”, (which is a nasty bubbly mixture that leaves some nice random effects). He then wraps them in damp seaweed, some wood chips, a few strands of steel wool and copper chore boy, maybe some sugar and what ever else you are inclined to try and then wraps it all up like a baked potato in foil and piles them in the kiln.
Like potatoes out of the kiln
It heats to 1250F in the kiln which causes the foil to react with the ferric chloride and burns the combustibles.  The results are wonderful, especially after waxing and polishing.

Edge's fired pots

My 2 best sager fired so far
I have been going cross eyed working on “in the woods” ideas that have been twirling around in my head while I make dozens of mugs, sponge holders, and cereal bowls at home as well as sager firing the prepared pots I brought.

In the woods Puzzle Jug II

In the woods puzzle jug I "Enter Men of Mirth" 

There is lots more going on in the studio, but I’ll save that for another post.

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