Wood Fired Pots

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Wood Fired Pots

Post  prestontolbert on Mon Mar 16, 2009 3:04 am

I thought I would start a post for woodfired bonsai pots. Anyone feel free to post here.

A while back I did a four day wood firing. I fired up to 2300 F and held for three days. In case you were wondering, in places all the cones were melted beyond recognition. There was a puddle where cone 12 used to live. These pots endured a tough environment. I used 2 cords of pine, 1 cord of juniper, and 1/2 cord of oak.

6 inch Semi-Cascade


15 inch round

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Re: Wood Fired Pots

Post  prestontolbert on Mon Mar 16, 2009 3:07 am

8 inch Literati


4 inch

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Re: Wood Fired Pots

Post  prestontolbert on Mon Mar 16, 2009 3:09 am

7 inch Round


2 inch Round

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Re: Wood Fired Pots

Post  prestontolbert on Mon Mar 16, 2009 3:16 am

Are the feet too tall on this one?

16 inch Round


...and a slab.

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Re: Wood Fired Pots

Post  Rob Addonizio on Mon Mar 16, 2009 12:08 pm

Wow, that was a LONG firing Shocked

Could you post pics of your kiln?

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Re: Wood Fired Pots

Post  prestontolbert on Mon Mar 16, 2009 5:59 pm

I am studio assistant to Don Reitz, the ceramic sculptor. I am using his facility. We have four wood kilns and four gas kilns. I was firing the smallest kiln we have; a 40 cubic foot sprung-arch cross-draft. That kiln can be fired up quickly and hold temperature due to excellent insulation. We also fire a train kiln, a japanese dogi kiln, and an anagama. The anagama fires for seven to nine days and can burn 8-9 cords of wood.

Here I am stoking the "Little Soda". We haven't sprayed any soda for a couple of years.


The insulation on this kiln is ceramic fiber board with a thin layer of cement for durability.


The front of the train

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Re: Wood Fired Pots

Post  prestontolbert on Mon Mar 16, 2009 6:12 pm

Side view of the train


500 cubic foot anagama


Inside the anagama

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Re: Wood Fired Pots

Post  Rob Addonizio on Mon Mar 16, 2009 11:49 pm

Thanks for the photos Preston; that is quite an arsenal of kilnage Shocked

Don't know of ANY bonsai potters who wouldn't want access like that to fire with! Unless you are affiliated with a college, wood fire kilns are hard to come by. I know Ron Lang has one (at least) and his work is superior here in the states. He has really mastered the firing process to give just the right amount of ash and warmth to his pieces.

Thanks for sharing!

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Re: Wood Fired Pots

Post  DWThomas on Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:17 am

Hmmmm -- looks like some variant of heaven!

Quite an interesting array of hot spaces.

There are a few art organizations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that have wood kilns and sometimes allow outside work for a fee. I can understand why there's a fee when I hear how much wood is used!

Keep up the good work!

DaveT

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Re: Wood Fired Pots

Post  Stone Monkey on Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:41 am

Preston

Your one very lucky potter Twisted Evil What us potters would not give for kiln access like that !!!

Great pots too!

All the best

Andy

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Re: Wood Fired Pots

Post  Dale Cochoy on Wed Mar 18, 2009 3:06 pm

Preston,
Your boss definitely has some 'kilnage'!

my neighbors would LOVE those!!! Very Happy

Re: your pots.
Are these the first bonsai pots you've made in all your studies and work?

Dale

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Re: Wood Fired Pots

Post  prestontolbert on Wed Mar 18, 2009 5:07 pm

I am very lucky.
Dale-
I have been working with trees for about three years and making pottery for 8 years. I've only made bonsai pots since last fall. I think my biggest problem is putting too much texture and interest into the pot. It requires a very strong, gnarly tree to harmonize with such a pot.
-PT

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Re: Wood Fired Pots

Post  Dale Cochoy on Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:59 pm

prestontolbert wrote:I am very lucky.
Dale-
I have been working with trees for about three years and making pottery for 8 years. I've only made bonsai pots since last fall. I think my biggest problem is putting too much texture and interest into the pot. It requires a very strong, gnarly tree to harmonize with such a pot.
-PT

Preston,
It was good to meet you at Ashville last October.
I asked about the bonsai pots because I hadn't heard you mention actually making any. I knew you were well studied in ceramics and worked for Reitz.
Since you said the above I'll comment. I wanted too before but was afraid someone would take it wrong. I like the rustic pots ( In fact my favorite to make) and I usually love the effects of wood firing. Now, I know you said these went way over cone AND it's tough to control, but, the two combined made the pots 'Too much'! The thickness, clay body additions, and rustic construction combined with the over-fired ash coating was just too much, IMHO. I think even a strong, gnarly tree couldn't compete.
but....
I'm STILL jealous of the kilns! Very Happy

Dale

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Re: Wood Fired Pots

Post  Jay on Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:14 pm

Preston very impressive. May I ask what 'size' you are using for measurement of a cord of wood. Some call a face cord a cord and other require the full 4x4x8 foot measure. Just curious, not questioning.
Jay

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Re: Wood Fired Pots

Post  irie1 on Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:37 am

Preston,
I myself love your work. I think that a long fire adds so much to a piece. In my small odd little world the more texture and ash the better. It is a far cry better than some very expensive molded pieces from a famous town in you know where. I also like'em thick (the pots that is). If your tree can't compete, grow better trees.
Thanx,
Jim

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Re: Wood Fired Pots

Post  Rob Addonizio on Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:34 pm

irie1 wrote:If your tree can't compete, grow better trees.

I like that one! Cool

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Re: Wood Fired Pots

Post  prestontolbert on Thu Mar 19, 2009 3:07 pm

Jay wrote:Preston very impressive. May I ask what 'size' you are using for measurement of a cord of wood. Some call a face cord a cord and other require the full 4x4x8 foot measure. Just curious, not questioning.
Jay
Jay-
A cord is a cord. 128 cubic feet. Before and after every firing I measure out all of our wood to determine exactly how much wood we use. In the Arizona desert, wood is expensive. Juniper and pine are $250-$300 per cord and oak is $350-$400. This wood is usually low quality, as it can only be taken from the national forest after it is on the ground. My wife and I are from North Carolina where her father has a sawmill with unlimited slab wood for firing. Rolling Eyes

Dale-
Thanks for the crit. I'll take any more criticism or advice you have to give. I didn't, however, over fire. I raised to cone 11-12 (the temperature for which I formulate my clay body), and held temperature for 3 days. The cones are eroded and almost eliminated by the wood ash. In areas where the cones are shielded from ash, cone 12 was at a nice bend.

Jim-
Thanks for the comment. I like some pots thick, but thin pots are easier to lift! cheers

When a pot is made thin and flat, and fired to proper temp, it WILL warp if it doesn't have support in the middle. Tokoname potters have custom made setters that fit under pots that allow the feet to touch the kiln floor and the center of the pot to rest on the setter. I've been experimenting with wadding that performs the same function. In wood-fire you have to separate pots from shelves. That normally means little balls of clay on the foot of a pot. I've been using wads the size of a fist to almost cover the bottom of my pots. It functions like the Tokoname setters, but allows for some freedom of form. That could also help if you have warped kiln shelves.
-PT

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Re: Wood Fired Pots

Post  Dale Cochoy on Thu Mar 19, 2009 4:32 pm

Dale-
Thanks for the crit. I'll take any more criticism or advice you have to give. I didn't, however, over fire. I raised to cone 11-12 (the temperature for which I formulate my clay body), and held temperature for 3 days. The cones are eroded and almost eliminated by the wood ash. In areas where the cones are shielded from ash, cone 12 was at a nice bend.

OH, ok.
It didn't sound that way in your first post. puddles? Sorry, I guess I misunderstood.
BTW, these were just my opinions on the pots. I'm absolutely sure you could sell any wood fired bonsai pots you make.... too Jim for instance Very Happy

"If your tree can't compete, grow better trees." Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes


Last edited by Dale Cochoy on Sat Mar 21, 2009 12:18 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Wood Fired Pots

Post  Dale Cochoy on Thu Mar 19, 2009 4:36 pm

Thats a long time to fire. Lots of coffee. etc!
How many helpers do you have throughout the firing?
I would sure like to find someone near me that does wood firing. I'd be glad to try the experience.

It appears my critique was thought too harsh by at least one ( below) . I shall refrain in the future.
Looking forward to seeing some more wood fired more stuff!

D.


Last edited by Dale Cochoy on Sat Mar 21, 2009 12:27 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Wood Fired Pots

Post  irie1 on Fri Mar 20, 2009 3:27 am

I'm not even going to go there! I was simply giving an atta boy to Preston.
Why is it that we talk about "growing our art" but every time someone does something a shade different we need to point out that it doesn't fit the regularly scheduled programming. The better trees comment well.... a sense of humor goes a long way.

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Re: Wood Fired Pots

Post  Jay on Fri Mar 20, 2009 10:55 am

Preston..... thanks, of course a cord is a cord. Just some people use the term in different ways. WOW that is a lot of wood to load into a kiln. It will surely keep you busy.
Thanks again
J

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Re: Wood Fired Pots

Post  rock on Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:40 pm

[quote="prestontolbert"]
Jay wrote: In the Arizona desert, wood is expensive. Juniper and pine are $250-$300 per cord and oak is $350-$400. This wood is usually low quality, as it can only be taken from the national forest after it is on the ground.
-PT

Yeah but the boss Gets a preety good price for his work, eh?

check out...

http://www.lacostegallery.com/dynamic/artwork_display.asp?ArtworkID=376

Does your pots get to "go along for the ride" Preston or do you have to fire your own ??

Must be a very stimulatin' job, very jealous !!

He I could bring you some fire wood, like a semi truck full and he could pay with one teacup. lol

affraid

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A month gone by

Post  rock on Fri Apr 24, 2009 12:04 am

prestontolbert,

buddy.. did I say something wrong... come back , I love your imput !

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Re: Wood Fired Pots

Post  Rob Kempinski on Fri Apr 24, 2009 2:01 pm

prestontolbert wrote:
Jay wrote:Preston very impressive. May I ask what 'size' you are using for measurement of a cord of wood. Some call a face cord a cord and other require the full 4x4x8 foot measure. Just curious, not questioning.
Jay
Jay-
A cord is a cord. 128 cubic feet. Before and after every firing I measure out all of our wood to determine exactly how much wood we use. In the Arizona desert, wood is expensive. Juniper and pine are $250-$300 per cord and oak is $350-$400. This wood is usually low quality, as it can only be taken from the national forest after it is on the ground. My wife and I are from North Carolina where her father has a sawmill with unlimited slab wood for firing. Rolling Eyes


Wow, have you considering converting to nuclear? Surprised

Rustic pots are ok, but thick pots, to me, are a turn off. Most trees, even sumo style, will look better if more soil is showing and if the pot merely frames the soil and tree. If the pot overpowers the tree then its a different form of art. For an example go to the national gallery and look at the paintings. Even the "elaborate frames" take second place to the painting. Some of the modern paintings don't even have frames.

Here is a wood fired pot by Ron Lang underneath my Pink Trumpet Tree (Tabebuia). Very well done in my opinion and I'm glad to own it.

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Re: Wood Fired Pots

Post  Stone Monkey on Fri Apr 24, 2009 3:46 pm

Rob

I love Ron's pot. Beautiful Cool

Regards

Andy

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