Monday, May 24, 2010

Swamp of Despair

Unloaded the bisque kiln today, faithful readers. The very kiln filled with- you guessed it- 10” dinner plates. Dinner plates made from my new dark clay, with even darker chocolate brown slip brushed lavishly on each center like large thin Swiss Fudge cookies. They were lovely when they were raw, before they were dried and fired.

But then I unloaded this bisque kiln. Ugh. UGH! Bad plates, bad! Into the trash with you! And you!

The smooth-as-pudding slip in the plate centers crackled and lifted delicately in the heat of the kiln like a finely textured salt marsh on the fringes of the Kalahari. Not. Ideal.

The plates themselves, so nice and light in weight, had dried unevenly. TOO thin! The bottoms of two were cracked all around, ready to drop out.

The rest were okay, maybe… It is so tiring to achieve “okay, maybe” when what I want is “Oooohhh, yes.” I won't even know till they are glazed and fired again whether the Kalahari slip can be compensated for with a glaze layer on top. I can only grit my teeth and hope.

The kiln also contained nice big cereal bowls. So the electricity used to fire this otherwise stinkin’ load will at least be paid for when I finally sell the bowls. People like big cereal bowls. Cereal bowls and nice big mugs are bread and butter.

There is a symbolic kayak waiting to ride me out of this Swamp of Despair. It is a day spent making mugs, and a day or two of trimming and handle-making to complete them. And that, my friends, is this week’s antidote. Then next week, if I’ve gathered up enough Plate Commitment to continue, I’ll have another go.



  1. I'm totally bummed for you :( At least the bowls are good.

  2. Thanks, Cindy. As my mother used to say, "Tomorrow is another day." Another day to try again!

  3. awww- i'm sorry it didn't go well! speaking of mugs, I love my pesadik one so much I want to come over and pick one to buy for everyday :)

  4. Bummer! Hopefully this puts you a step or two closer to the answer, though. You can say that you've learned from the process.

    - Dave

  5. Hey, Anonymous Dave!
    Derived: 10" dinner plates need three AND A HALF lbs. of clay, not just three. They need to be thrown and trimmed thicker. And whoo-ee, it's hard to get the rims exactly so, so they can stack beautifully. And also- it's good to try out ONE plate first, before throwing and firing a dozen, so you can see if the slip will crack all over on it.

    Gee, it felt great to make mugs today. Huge, 14 ounce mugs. One for me, one perhaps for the next mug lottery, and the rest to the finest customers.