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In the past few months, I’ve posted pictures of some of our pottery here on the blog and on our web site, now here is a little info about it.
All our raku vessels, are individually formed, carved, brush-glazed, and fired, using an American variation of the Japanese firing technique known as raku.
A glazed pot is heated to approximately 1825 degrees Fahrenheit. Its then taken from the kiln while its still red-hot, gently placed in a bed of pine shavings, and then covered (as you can see in this picture, we use a wheelbarrow or on other occasions in a metal wash tub as our pine shavings receptacle). When the oxygen in the air surrounding the pot is depleted by the flame, the flame then looks to the glaze for more oxygen molecules to consume. A chemical reaction may take place in the glaze, causing spontaneous and random flashes of color and metallic lustre. As the pot cools, a random crackling (or crazing) of the glaze occurs as the clay and the glaze expand and contract at different rates. What also happens is the carbon from the burning shavings fuses to all the unglazed surfaces and cracks in the glaze, turning them black. The piece, still hot, is then extracted from its bed of shavings and is quenched (or rapidly cooled) with water. Doing so not only cools the pot to the touch, but sets the colors before theglazes have a chance to reoxidize. Some of the results can be quite spectacular and its easy to understand the allure of pottery fired in this way. No two peices ever turn out completely the same and every one, in its own way, is one-of-a-kind.
The majority of stoneware clay we use for our functional pottery is from abundant native Alabama clay deposits, usually found within just an hour’s drive of the studio right here in Baldwin Country. The deposit Lowell working on here is right along a local roadside. The clay that seems to work best is whitish or, better yet, almost a bubble gum color. It fires the highest and has the least amount of impurities which is perfect for durable functional ware. Our functional pottery is individually formed, most of it on a potter’s wheel, is individually decorated, and then high-fired in a propane fueled gas kiln to approximately 2400 degrees Fahrenheit.
I’ll have to cover in future posts some of the primitive-fired pieces we do as well as the ongoing journey of the building of our small wood kiln using recycled materials…
Just opened, our new Webb Pottery CafePress store!
Shirts, hats, aprons, custom postage, and other paraphenalia with the Webb Pottery name and images from our original artwork (as you can see here).
Also available, apparel and accessories including bumper stickers, hats, etc. with fun pottery mottos and messages, as well as some others meant to motivate and inspire.
Visit often as we add new stuff!
We buried Riley, my dear and devoted friend, Sunday evening beside Rebel, Winston, and Elvis, out behind the studio. Suffering from advancing congestive heart failure and nerve damage, he was unable to raise his head to eat let alone stand to go to the bathroom. As I lay beside him quietly listening to him breathe and stroking his side, his heart beat abnormally fast, and seemed to jump out of his chest with every single beat. He couldn’t even wag. I said goodbye to my dear, dear friend and let him go in the most peaceful, comfortable, and dignified way I knew. He is sorely missed.
First of all, my apologies for not updating the blog more often. Some people really have a real knack of updating their blog regularly and seem to always have something interesting to say. I hope to have more news, updates, and reflection, more frequently, now that summer is here.
We’ve just undergone a bit of a down period here at the pottery, what with equipment problems and too many extraneous things going on. The kiln part we have been waiting for has finally come in and has been installed, and the clay mixer (made from parts from a WWII anti-aircraft gun) had some minor repairs made to keep it going, and is once again staggering along.
So we are slowly starting back at getting things fired and moving along again. We should have more raku pots with some different designs up on the web site shortly.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is one of those overuse injuries that plague, among others, potters and surveyors, both of which Lowell has been over the years. So last Tuesday, he surgery for it on his other hand. He had surgery on the first hand some 5 or 6 years ago. Hopefully this latest surgery will be a success as well. The pain that extended from his hand up into his shoulder, as well as some frequent numbness in his fingers, is starting to subside, so hopefully that is a good sign.
Rick Tino ‘s Fine Art & Frames in Gulf Shores, AL, who I have mentioned in some of my previous entries, finally has a web site up: tinosfineart.com. While it is still in its preliminary stages, please feel free to check it out and make a point to drop in if you are in the Gulf Shores area.
We had a sad week this week. We lost 2 good friends: our bloodhound, Rebel, and our dachsund, Winston, both within a day of each other. Then yesterday we had a mishap in the driveway and accidentally ran over my 12 year golden, Riley, who had been, unbeknownst to me, sleeping under the truck at the time. He survived, and miraculously his back wasn’t broken, but he has some problem with his leg/shoulder. Still waiting on news on him from the vet this morning…