Reduction Firing

milehigh_7

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My parents were very into Southwest culture when I was young. They spent much time in Santa Fe and Taos and the surrounding areas. There was a very famous artist who passed away some years ago that made a certain style of pottery quite famous. Now mind you I am extremely ignorant with regard to pottery but I was wondering if anyone has tried or thinks they could try her style of pot. I believe it is a type of reduction firing. They would make stunning bonsai pots for the right plant.

Here is the link to the story of these pots:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/archive/200401A42.html
As you can see this set is valued at $45k-$50k

Please respond with your thoughts regarding the suitability of this technique and look for bonsai.

If you don't know what I am talking about here is an example of her work:

Edit-- Just to be clear, I am not talking about the style of these jars. I am talking about the black coloration of of the pot which is due to the firing technique used.
 

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Boondock

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Maria Martinez is famous for her blackware. Maria and her husband created a technique using burnishing with a fine/smooth stone and firing with cow dung to produce the reduction. If you've ever seen raku fired pieces where a piece of pottery is removed red hot from the the kiln and place in a closed container with combustible material and closed off from oxygen, it produces similar black surfaces.

The American Indian pottery with burnished finishes inspired me to learn about the burnishing process. Here is a piece of greenware I am currently working on showing the effect of burnishing. It is smooth and shiny like polished steel. Look at the lower right of the first picture and the reflection of my finger on the sidewall of the pot






I love the idea of the black pot, but I believe it is not for high fired pottery
 
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Boondock

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BTW this is a unfired, greenware pot, burnished with the back of a spoon. The mirror-like finish will disappear during firing, but the smooth texture will remain.
 

milehigh_7

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As I said I am totally ignorant about pottery I knew a bit about Maria as my parents have one of her pots. If it was possible, I think it would be cool. In all seriousness there must be many cultures with unique pottery techniques and styles that could somehow be utilized for bonsai pots. I would love to see culturally inspired works.
 

milehigh_7

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that makes me want to produce a pot with authentic Mayan petrogylphs covering the sides of a pot.... I will research that

That would be sweet! I look forward to seeing what you come up with. I hope others take up the challenge as well. Pottery is nearly as old as humanity. I would assume there is something for everyone.
 

ketoi

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At stoneware temperatures the sheen will be no more, to keep the shine you need to fire no higher than ^02. From what I've read blackenware firing is at ^017, here's a little how to.
http://www.handmadetileassociation.org/MexicanBlackwareFiring.htm
I've tried this in an old weber BBQ, had similar results as the above link. The pot still feels like bone dry green ware, it probably won't hold up to the rigors of bonsai.

Tokoname pots have a similar finish but not a high gloss shine like the examples above.
 

ketoi

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New I had some photos. Burnished and bone dry


Black pot was fired in the weber, 2 on the left burnished, the right not.
 

Boondock

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ketoi, I love the burnished pots. You understand that time it takes. I spend 3 hours buliding a pot, and then over the course of the next 5 days I keep the pot in a plastic bag to keep it wet and spend 30 minutes burnishing it once a day
 
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pjkatich

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ketoi,

There are cone 10 reduction glazes that will give you similar results.

Attached are a two photos of a pot a made several years ago using a glaze called Satin Doll Black.

Regards,
Paul
 

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milehigh_7

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That is real nice! Did you do any burnishing like BD is talking about?
 

pjkatich

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That is real nice! Did you do any burnishing like BD is talking about?

No burnishing.

The pot has been glazed with a satin matt, black glaze.

I have used it on a few bonsai pots with some success.

Cheers,
Paul
 

Boondock

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Cone 6, but I hardly ever fire from green to cone 6 straight--One firing. Usually I bisque first and apply oxide washes. This is raw clay, no wash, no glaze.
 

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