Time Matters

I worked all day yesterday decorating 20 or so pots.  It was a nice day so I worked out on the porch.   I  had the layouts penciled in on most of the bigger pots so it was just getting down to the etching and carving.  Spending 8 hours just on decoration for 20 pots seems like a lot but I've realized that I have to spend this much time to get what I want out of my work.

I've always striven to make good pots and I feel like one of the things I learned early on was that I have to put the time in so that I can  good pots out of the kiln.  Where the time is spent varies on the pots and the firing.  I have friends who put in hours and hours of work in developing glazes and testing them before they ever go on a pot.  Likewise, some woodfire potters spend days stoking wood into their kiln.  Hours of cutting and stacking wood and loading the kiln have been spent before the fire is ever lit.

When I was making salt glazed work the firing dictated the end look of the pot.  I spent time on the wheel to prepare for the firing and little happened between the pot coming off the wheel and being loaded into the kiln.  The firing was very important and I payed a lot of attention to atmosphere, how much sodium went in the kiln, cooling time and other factors.

Now with an electric kiln I spend so much more time on the pot before it ever goes into the kiln.  The kiln is really giving me nothing, I'm setting up what I want to happen before the pots go into the firing.  These days I can pretty much see what the pot will look like before it's ever fired.  I know if I like the pot soon after I make it and decorate it.

My point in saying all this is that time matters.  Where you spend that time working on your pots matters.  Whether it's in the making,  formulating the glazes, applying the glaze, stacking and firing the kiln, post firing effects, etc you have to dedicate some real time and effort into getting good pots.

The kiln is clicking away out in the studio as the bisque reaches temperature.  Tomorrow I'll unload and spend a good part of the day glazing the pots to go back into the kiln.  My main glaze has to be brushed on to avoid any problems and get the final look I want.  It takes so much more time to brush the glaze than it did when used to just dunk the pot in a bucket.  It's time I have to spend though to get what I want and I'm happy to do it.