Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Still up for trivia? I promised you information on celery dishes. They are about eight to ten inches long with sides that curved up from a flat bottom about three inches across. Celery dishes were popular in the late 1800's and the early part of the 20th Century. Celery was a novelty then, a fresh crunchy texture in the fall or winter. Hello, Califoria. Refrigerated cars made celery a possibility for upper middle class hostesses; so you had to have a special dish. Those celery sticks at Thanksgiving have a history going back at least a hundred years. Who new? Your mom was being upscale.

The class is still busy working on painting in their decals on their tea cups. It will take us two or three more weeks to finish this project. One of the two kilns at Irving is filled with cups and saucers so it has proved to be a successful project. We are lucky at Irving, we have two large kilns. One has an electronic touchpad and the other has an old-fashioned cone-sitter.

Cone-sitters have two prongs or stilts that a pyrotechnic (heat sensitive) cone rests on and then a bar that rests on top of the cone. The bar is levered or caught by a lead weight. The cone will start to slump or bend at set temperature, which lowers the bar and causes the lead weight to fall, which trips a stitch to turn off the kiln. It's really an elegant little device.

The temperature range for china painting is from around 1350F to around 1550F: or cone 018 to around cone 013. For ceramics, these are low temperatures. Typically, our kilns take three to three and half hours to reach the temperature range for china painting and about six to seven hours to cool enough to remove the china.

More about firing later...

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