Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Making Tetrax in GBP, Pondicherry 2010

It was a 19 n 1/2 hour firing. There are gas ports in this car kiln, we supplemented the firing with gas through quartz inversion, which homogenized the heat in the kiln.

There is one big crack at one arc which is disturbing the line of the arc. except for that I think achieving this work has been a leap.

After reaching a partially successful piece the one and only thing I can say about it is that

"Only if it was even a little simpler...... it would not have been fun.. :)"

All the people who helped me with it, know; how grateful I am to them; for, without them I could not have come this far, ever.

Making Tetrax in GBP, Pondicherry 2010

We know in theory that the whole kiln is black with carbon around 300 - 400 deg C.
Had never seen it though.

Another hurdle was the door didnt open easily.


Making Tetrax in GBP, Pondicherry 2010

We carefully lifted the piece one side at a time to change the wads, and apply the slip at those spots.

Inspite of the fact that anytime I have fired the piece I have raised the back part so that it may not crack from the centre top of the arch.

But we were wary of moving and lifting the piece much. so we settled for only changing the wads.

Cones were placed and car pushed in, then started the firing.
After six hours of preheat, wood was started,by four in the morning when the temperature was around 400 on pyro, I was to reach the kiln.

After relaxing at home and thinking over, while the fire was going - Ray and I unanimously felt the courage to lift the piece from the back part, and curtail the chances of cracks.

By lifting the back part, it makes all the weight of the piece to be pulled on any one side of the base arch! hence the piece can move while it is shrinking during the firing, avoiding being pulled away from each other.. and cracking.

Talking over the phone we decided and stopped the fire.

Making Tetrax in GBP, Pondicherry 2010

Well, clay n cracks are synonyms in my case, I guess.

A lot of artists do, and I have also exaggerated cracks out of aesthetic choice.

Though in this piece any deformation in the shape is not acceptable.

It bisque-fired successfully.

There were a few surface cracks.

We decided to barely move the piece and glaze it on the kiln bed.

I had prepared a pattern which I sketched and glazed it.

Making Tetrax in GBP, Pondicherry 2010

The piece did successfully get into the kiln.

It was preheated on gas for 12 hours.
Then slowly fired with wood for 36hrs.

When there was colour in the kiln and I could see the piece, I thought Hussh! atleast it did not blow up!

In the last few hours of the firing I could see a crack on the piece through one of the peeps, which did not seem fatal.

Anyway stopped firing at 900 deg C on pyro, a hundred deg above cone O12 dn. frr various reasons.

I waited patiently for the kiln to cool and then opened the door to see several more cracks.

After the piece cooled further we pulled out the car and goosh there were so many more cracks.

Underneath also there were cracks and some of them were connected on the three sides.

The wood of the drying mold might have been the catalyst for this. who knows....

Anyway, the second piece was brought to the kiln and all the wood sawed out.

Making Tetrax in GBP, Pondicherry 2010

Now, this was a looooong wait.
Frequently I changed sides of the plastic as it would gather water droplets, at the top part .., carefully not letting them fall on the clay, ha ha. oh! that was soo much work. I hope you understand the irony here.

During this time I got involved in pillar making, and firing 40 hour long bisque firings, making large quantities of glaze, and 18 hour glaze firings.

I did the initial part of glazing on Rays 22feet size sculpture, which is in 17parts.
Though these were to be fired after my tetrax, there were series of pillar firings going on.
And they had be to finished and moved out of the way before I could bring my piece to the kiln.

So, the piece (tetrax) had to be moved from its station to the platform where the kiln is.

For the same, a concrete ramp was made, almost connecting the two areas.

Then the D-day for lowering the piece from its position and shifting, CAME.

I have no words to express what was going on within me before we actually did this.