Ah, those lovely bean pots in the photo to the right. They stand there awaiting their first firing, slowly drying in the warm late-summer air.
Well, they got their first firing a couple weeks ago. Not one of them made it out intact. All but one cracked so badly that they are only good for landfill or plant drainage. The one that was still in one piece had a small crack in the bottom that isn't easily visible and does not go all the way through. Still, I would not sell it as anything but a second and I would never advise using it in the oven. All the same, it makes a nice display piece.
That's the way it goes in this business. Pieces crack even under the most watchful circumstances. You can't take it personally.
The glaze research continues. The first attempt at a craze-free white disappointed but showed that I was moving in the right direction. The first attempt at a craze-free turquoise was upended by my failure to add tin oxide to the batch. Well, I can still check it for crazing, but it looks bizarre!
I am now looking closely at the moss agate red. I have discovered that it likes to be applied very thinly indeed. One coat is all it requires and it is a rich brown color. I'd like it to be more red, and that is the goal of the next test. If I can achieve that, I will be happy. For now, it remains a work in progress.
On the immediate horizon, the plans are simple. I will be focusing on jam jars and coffee mugs and will be turning those out for the holiday gift-giving season. They are the most popular of the Rowantrees line, and make excellent gifts. I hope to have them up on the web site next month.
In addition, I am planning a special limited edition, numbered series of ornament tiles for Christmas. These will be Lowell Hill pieces, not Rowantrees reproductions. They will measure roughly 3 to 3.5 inches square and will have a Dove of Peace done in a stained glass motif on them. I am planning an edition of 250 and they will sell for $20 each.
But I get ahead of myself. There is still a lot of testing to do and the weather is getting, well, downright autumnal. Cold weather is my nemesis and I am struggling to maintain my schedule to stay ahead of things. Tiles I can make in my kitchen and still fire at the pottery, water or no water. So the thrown pieces will be the priority for now.
I'm off and running...