Monthly Archives: January 2012

All packed up – well, nearly.  More egg boxes than I thought possible to fit in a case, bubble-wrapped to protect against the usual flinging around that hold luggage gets during international flights

And time will tell whether they all arrive in one piece.

I am hoping to be able to post to the blog while I am away, but it all depends on accessing the internet, and I don’t think our guest house in Pondicherry will have Wi-Fi.

So the blog may go very quiet for the next week or so.  I will certainly do some posting of images and updates once I return to the UK if I can’t keep posting while I am away.


I have examined the results of my very last firing.  Well, as the caption on the last image below indicates, sometimes you are best advised not to meddle.

Opening the kiln after the very last firing for Kala Kendra 26 Jan 2012

Fumes from the new metal props have discoloured the eggs. Oh dear!

Here are my experimental unfired eggs after 3 days soaking.  Not surprisingly they are looking pretty shapeless.

I haven’t posted anything for a couple of days because I was preparing a brief presentation for  a research event which took place at Baltic Mill in Gateshead yesterday. It was a very useful event, but it did make me have to think hard about how far I had got in my research into impermanent ceramics.

The event was organised by the two universities locally involved in a Block Grant Partnership – mine (University of Sunderland) and University of Northumbria at Newcastle. And it was great to meet up with about 30 fellow researchers and to hear presentations from about 12 of them.  So many bright, keen and industrious people! The message from the event for me is that I had better get on with writing up some of my research.

Well, it will really have to wait until I get back from Pondicherry – but I might take a theoretical text or two along with me.

Soaking test after 3 days - both clay bodies losing their integrity, but still looking a bit like eggs

Well, trying to insert more images didn’t work in the last post, and I’ve tried again to no avail in this post.

So here is the first image of the test with unfired eggs, to see how long they keep their integrity when soaked.

Starting the 'wet test' -Porcelain egg on left and paper clay egg on right, before water is added 23 Jan 2012

The very last firing is now done, and the kiln is doing a slow cooldown, and should be ready to open on Wednesday or Thursday.

I have been making the very last paper clay forms today. These will not be fired and I should be able to transport them by air without them being damaged, because I intend to burnish them. This will give them a fine, pretty tough surface and the egg form itself is pretty tough too.

As most of my work these days is impermanent in one way or another, it has been important for me to find a way of showing something impermanent at this exhibition. So today I am testing a theory I have, that these unfired, burnished, paper clay eggs will gently dissolve when water is applied. I want them to last at least a couple of days in a recognisable form once they are on display.

So, as well as the promised image of the kiln packed for the last firing, there are also a couple of images of my ‘wet test’ using a porcelain egg which was just fettled and smoothed, plus a paper clay egg which was highly burnished. The latter should survive longer in water than the former. Time will tell whether I am technically competent enough to post more than one image…

Anyway, the first image shows the kiln packed and ready to fire yesterday.  I have been using a smooth black stoneware body for these forms and have put some of them on props to keep them away from any loose batt wash there may be on the kiln shelf.

General view of stoneware firing before firing 22 Jan 2012