Saturday, November 5, 2011

Out of the Frying Pan

Muted light in the Canberra Store today. Repainting in next few weeks!
Today was the first real taste of summer in Canberra.  The studio was particularly balmy owing to me deciding to fire two kilns on a hot day...never a good idea! Our kilns are fired up to over 1200 degrees Celsius to make the stoneware clay and our glazes reach maturity. In winter this makes for a toasty space to work in. Summer, however, is not great for comfort but is amazing for productivity. We never force-dry clay pieces at Bison. That simply leads to cracks forming and warping which we clearly want to avoid. The ambient heat of late spring through to autumn means our shapes dry quickly and efficiently. Vases that would take a week before we could bisque fire them are now perfect in several days. 

This week has also been a watershed moment for Bison. One of the biggest problems we encounter is the lack of people who have a background in production pottery. We had six people contact us who have started at the Canberra studio and hopefully decide we are a good place to remain. Some are graduating students from ANU, several potters, and a couple of people who have extensive experience with slip-casting. Just as we head in to our busiest time of the year this has been an enormous windfall. I have always enjoyed training people and showing them how complicated (and meticulous) the processes can be.   There's something quite rewarding when you see a person who was unsure and awkward initially become a dynamo who never misses a fault. That and a good sense of humour make our workshop a great place to be. At least in my humble opinion...

Cucina Bowls with Large Milk Bottles.  Photos: B Tunks

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