The first day – 1500 time-lapsed photography

Hi everyone!  Here are the time-lapsed images of 1500 from the opening night of Glass.Fiber.Stone.  We had a great turnout (around 450 people in 3 hours, I think).  It’s hard to see the changes in these photos, but they’re there, I promise!   Tomorrow I think I’m going to zoom in a little closer.  I’ll also space the photographs farther apart – an hour between each instead of a half-hour.  Thanks for joining me as I learn how to present and document an interactive piece like this.  🙂

Newfangled Lights

Hey!  Where are you and what are you doing?  I’m back in God’s Country and I’m a bit behind on my blog…

I wanted to write tonight for two reasons:

1) My Kickstarter project is funded.  Thank you to everyone who contributed; you’ve made an impact on 1,500 other people as well as my life and future!  I’ll be working on Backer rewards soon.  There are still some rewards left, if you’d like to donate and push the project over 100%.  Click here to check it out.  It closes tomorrow night at 11:59pm.

2) I ordered the lights for said project a couple of days ago.  Now, I know this is probably not very exciting to the rest of you, but the UPS man brought them this evening and to put it simply: they made my night.  They are SO COOL.  I don’t know nearly enough about lights and lighting systems to completely geek out over them, but if I did, that’s what would be happening right now.  My original plan called for regular light ropes to wind under the 1.500 individual ceramic pieces on the floor.  I was a little worried about the thickness/bulk of the rope in comparison to the size of the heartstones, but I figured I’d make it work somehow as I didn’t know of any other options.

That is, I didn’t know of any other options until Amazon.com, that creeptastic genius, kept track of what I was clicking on and suggested “micro LED string lights.”  These lights are on two superfine silver wires that can be bent and rebent to any shape.  They’re small and bright and battery operated, which is perfect because the Feed & Grain is going to be running on generators during the show, and my other piece (Invincible Summer) is going to be an energy suck.  Beautiful, but definitely in need of strong halogen lighting.

At any rate, after opening the packages tonight and rigging up the batteries, let me tell you something – this is one time I was glad my so-called internet privacy was non-existent.  I promptly went back online and ordered another string, one that’s longer with more lights per foot (20′ and 120 lights vs. 7′ and 20 lights).  Here are some pictures of these sweet sweet babies.  I hope they’ll allow you to at least partially join in my joy… 😉

Micro LED string lights

Flexible light rope (my other purchase for experimentation) – probably not quite as usable in my work as the string lights, but still pretty neat.  I wish it retained its shape when bent, like the string lights.

Okay so maybe I did geek out, just a little bit.

See you soon (probably from Colorado!).

Into the Fire

Ready to fire!

Well, peeps…  Here’s my first major project of the semester, in the kiln and ready to fire.  These particular pieces are for the show we’re having in NYC at the Thomas Hunter Projects in a couple of weeks.  If you’d like to come to the (closing) reception, it’ll be from 6-7:30pm on Friday the 24th of February.  It would be nice to see you there!  The show itself opens on the 13th.  I believe it’s open to the public free, on weekdays.

This load will be fired to Orton cone 11.  What does that mean, you ask?   Cones are little tall skinny pyramids that melt at different points in the firing.  Notice them in the upper right and lower left of the photo above.  You can think of them as temperature gauges, even though that’s technically not correct – they measure the heat work done inside the kiln, not the temperature.  For example, cone 11 will melt somewhere between 2359 and 2394*F, depending on how fast the kiln is fired.  If the kiln is fired really slowly, the cone will melt at a lower temp than if it’s fired quickly, because there’s more heat work done in the slower firing.  [Please see comments below for more explanation of heat work.]

So, to cut to the chase: you place cones in specific areas of the kiln, typically where you can see them throughout the firing.  This kiln has two peepholes (or spies) in the front door.  When the kiln is going, I can take out a peep (little refractory -non-melting- plug) and look in the hole to see my cones.  As they melt or “fall” I can tell what’s happening inside the kiln.  I can see if it’s firing evenly, from top to bottom, and adjust it accordingly.  I can also tell when to start the reduction process (starving the kiln of oxygen to produce certain color response from the clay) and when to lighten the reduction.  [To read more about reduction, see the comment section of this post.]  The cones also tell me when my firing is finished.  When cone 11 falls in this kiln (it’ll look like it’s bending in half and touching its toes), I know to shut the kiln off.

These pieces are paper-thin porcelain, so they should be super duper translucent after they’re fired (and changed from ‘clay’ into ‘ceramic’).  I’m a little worried about the kiln itself though, because the last person who fired it had some problems with it randomly shutting off when it got to the higher temperatures.  So, I might end up babysitting it on a nearby chair with a book for several hours tomorrow.  Good times!  Hopefully it won’t come to that, though.  Wish me luck!

Orchid update. Because I know you were dying to know! 9 blossoms and 2 itty bitty buds 🙂 Also, please enjoy the pictures of my family and friends in the background.