Soda Ash & Baking Soda 2

On Friday I dropped Al off at his Port Moody exercise class and he was the one without a car later – so walked home, checking out the Ribfest in Rocky Point Park en route.

I arrived back at the soda kiln at 3pm and the group were just preparing to start introducing the soda mixture into peep holes. Cone 10 was already down in the top front and cone 8 was over at the lower back. When we unload it we’ll be able to see how they compare by the end – but certainly we’ll have ‘well-done’ glazed pots. 1 kg of Soda Ash and 1 1/2 kg of Baking Soda were dissolved in hot water and strained into a pump. To apply the soda to this firing (in which, as in all salt and soda firings, many of the pots have no exterior glaze at all) a team of two do the work. One, wearing heavy duty gloves, removes the peep brick and moves the bucket of cold water and the other, wearing protective headgear and heatproof gloves inserts the spray nozzle into the very hot kiln and squeezes the trigger while rotating the nozzle so that the soda spray can spread in all directions. The nozzle is then dipped in cold water to preserve it for the rest of this melty procedure.

Jay introducing soda spray

Linda removes a brick, Jay inserts soda.











Cheryl removes a brick

David L has removed a ring and dropped it in water

Cheryl Stapleton took a video of me doing this but I don’t know how to upload a video to a blog. I can share it from my iPhone but not from computer.







Gill introducing soda, with Franz holding the brick

It’s hot around the back!

After the removal of several draw rings it became clear that we already had lots of melt and some orange peel. Some were grey, indicating a fair bit of reduction. In no time at all we’d used up all the spray, but not before we’d already decided that there was lots of good glaze and orange peel so there was a short period of clearing fire and the kiln was turned off at about 5pm.

I’m about to drop a very hot ring into cold water

The rings were drawn from top and sides. The first had small orange peels but subsequent rings showed bigger bumps and also just glaze – so it’s just tantalizing to imagine what we have behind these indicator rings which get the most soda.

That was the most exciting day so far. At first I was a bit intimidated by the spray application. It’s a bit different from inserting burritos of salt but I was determined to take my turn, and also remove a draw ring or two. Now the thing is to distract myself with all the other clay projects I have under way and not think too much about the cooling pots in Burnaby. They were, after all, simply the first I had made for what I had hoped would be a larger group for the next salt firing. So I shall take a good look at how the soda reacts to my slips and then decide if I should run down to the office and put my name on the waiting list for further firings! Of course I’m hoping that we’ll have marvellous results but I must not expect everything to be perfect.

This kiln won’t be opened until next Wednesday morning so I’ll let you know how it went after that.



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