Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Mike's new passion

I'm not jealous, but let's just say Clay is often first on his mind these days...

We collect clay almost every time we walk, the clay is always there, it's the sand that moves, and we are afraid at times we won't be able to find any, so we bring it home, and he's got a stash. I finally found a nice little shovel the other day, that will make it easier, but we still need some kind of cart.

He had been investigating kilns online, and decided to use our grill and see how that worked as a kiln. He took it out to the beach, used sand as insulation, and built the fire on top. It was so windy, it was difficult to get lit, but after the fishermen gave him some gasoline, it was on!

Plenty of kindling around, one just has to collect it. He kept this fire stoked for several hours.

When the fire died down, he covered with more sand to keep the heat in, and let it cool naturally over night. I'm sure he didn't sleep well that night, wondering how it all turned out.

The first firing had moderate success. The sand actually insulated too well, and the items didn't get as much "cooking" as needed. But that's ok, with every new endeavor one gains insight, and it wasn't back to the drawing board, it was a matter of tweaking. Fast forward several more weeks, and fire #2 took place yesterday.

Dark one is "wet" or "green" just sculpted, and the lighter one is air dried for a couple weeks. This is the state of them when he fires them. 

Used sand on the bottom, as a soft bed, then fire on top, with others nestled right in the flames.

You can see the difference in color, the rays of the sun poking thru the kindling is turning orange, and the new ones just added on top are the dried gray color.

This is more like it! Success!!

The "patina" on the sun and moon above is from the gasoline being used as accelerant. Something to note, and watch for. (or go for, because it's kinda cool) Again, the items down in the bed of sand under the fire did not get cooked enough. He needs gloves, and some tongs, but he's very happy with the progression. He plans on playing with paint, stain and laquer to finish them, and some will be attached to driftwood for wall hangings, while others are shelf decorations. 

From beach mud to art in just a couple weeks, what can't we do?! Stay tuned, the adventure continues!

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