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The 2007 Barrel Fire Research Project got a great start this week. On July 3rd we had two firing projects at Pioneer Craft House. Artists brought work for the Barrel Fire (See Barrel Fire - Week 1 post) and the kids at the Tuesday Farmers Market made BBQ pottery.

BBQ Pottery:

Red iron oxide sprayed onto shavings, clay on top, then fired.A $17 table top grill was purchased for this project. It is the kind that takes the little LP gas canisters. I would guess the covered temperature reached 500 degrees. The kids wrapped heavy duty tinfoil around terra sig’d bisqued tiles with wood shavings & potato chips sprayed with 2% (more or less) red iron oxide mixed with water (1 or 2 sprays). Spray the wood shavings then place the tile on top or spray the tile directly. Random other ingredients were then added. We tried: cherry tomatoes, cherry pits, soy nuts, copper wire, and cat food. Other ideas: horsehair (available at Tandy Leather), berries such as raspberries, string/yarn, masking tape or paper stickers cut into shapes.

After wrapping the tin foil tightly around the ingredients like a camp fire dinner, they were placed on the hot grill for 15 minutes. Best color came from work fired for about 5 minutes after smoke started. Quick hint for the kids project - open the tinfoil while still hot. If color is not good, use 4-5 spays of the red iron oxide spray to start to cool the piece. It will stain it pink/red adding color to a piece that did not do much. Even without the post-fire cheat, we got reds, lots of lovely grey/white/black variations, some peach colors from the tomatoes, and dots from cat food and soy nuts. We even had some deep purple hazes, but I do not know what was making them.

We then washed the the tiles in a bucket of water to cool and clean them. Silver Sharpie pens were used to add the kids name. The tile was then sprayed with a high gloss clear spray paint. Finally, a magnet was stuck to the back (business card magnets purchased at office supply stores.) Yes, the magnet is strong enough to hold the pottery. We tested them.

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