Sunday, May 29, 2011
A new kiln!
I got a new kiln! I ordered an Evenheat Studio Pro STP with an automated controller and an 8"x8" chamber. My old kiln is an Evenheat and I felt very comfortable buying a new one. Plus I got a great price on it from Fusion Headquarters in Newberg. It's really different having a controller so I can actually follow recommended firing schedules with the required precise control of temperatures for multi-layered full fusing. To start with I had to do a few experimental firings to figure out the schedule for the type of pieces I've been doing, but I couldn't resist the opportunity to make one bigger than I've been able to do before.
I made a big 2-layer ring of mixed opal and transparent glass scraps, 6 inches across. It came out pretty good, not far from what I expected, and is now hanging in the garden.
Once I got the firing schedule figured out, I started doing multiple pieces at once, and that worked great too. I've been really happy to see how consistent and repeatable the kiln operation is. Now I can start doing different types of pieces, lots of things that would have been completely impossible in my old kiln, now that I've got that controller.
One of my multiple firings, I did 3 pieces using the same color scheme of shades of green with amber, browns, and touches of cranberry. I had been previously siezed with this compulsion to add metal bells to some of the glass pieces, so the short icon that came out of this firing got belled:
It has found a home hanging off my front porch, where one late afternoon sunbeam has been coming through the trees and lighting up the lime green and cranberry, during afternoon sunbreaks. The bell's only going to ring if the wind hits about 40mph, but I love the warm shine of the tin, and I do love combining the metal with the glass.
I also went on a blue binge, layering a cold light cobalt blue on top of a warmer medium blue—I call it pthalo—it's as close to a summer blue sky morning as I can get.
I had been looking at my garden before the first leaves appeared and thought a lot about how I can add interest to my winter garden, and I decided that some more complex installations would go a long way toward giving me the visual treats I crave during those bare months. The first idea I came up with was to fire single-color rectangles and hang them between the rails of the wood fence between the house and the barn, where they'll catch the morning sun when it's out. The first pass of six pieces took me two firings, and I decided to hang transparent cranberry, orange, and yellow pieces on each side of the gate.
This is how it looks facing the house in the afternoon light. The orange is the only color that shows up brightly unless you're quite close to it. I'm thinking of putting some lime green pieces next to these. I'm also wondering how opal glass will work, if it's fairly light. It'll show up better against the dark barn and shadows than most of the transparent will. But every now and then from the house, when the sun's in just the right place, I can see all three colors, and it's a nice surprise. As the season goes on, they'll mostly become obscured by the foliage of the hydrangea, dogwood, and grapes planted on the fence. But when the leaves drop in November, they'll be back with their bright colors to light up my winter and spring mornings.