Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pots Gone Wild!

Welcome to Christina’s House of Vessels - I promise these won’t hit a reef and crack down the middle and spill tons of oil into the Bay of Plenty. How terrible is that??

I remember reading one thing that the conservationists learned from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was that it really doesn’t help the wildlife if you de-oil them, especially birds, because by the time they are cleaned up, the toxins have already started to soak in through their skin and they just end up dying anyway.

At least the penguins will be ok, but the rest of the wildlife up north is having a pretty hard time of it.

Well, I certainly just killed the mood, didn’t I? Sorry! How about something juicy and salacious to make us all feel better?

I give you: Pots Gone Wild!!!!

It all started off innocently enough: our pots were glazed and then stacked into the kiln as usual. But then, two days into a five-day firing (*cue dramatic music*) the kiln broke. “Broke?!” she wails. Yes, the giant energy-eater committed a wee bit of kiln-o-side.

But all was not lost, for the pots inside were “underfired”, and could be put back into the kiln once it was fixed. So the nice man came with his tools and tinkered with the big ol’ machine and tested to make sure everything was in proper working order. Or did he?

The pots were put back into the kiln and the firing process was restarted. And two days later, what did our lovely Pottery Teacher discover but that the kiln was hotter than it should be! “Hotter”, she said, “how can that be?!”

Here’s the real-world answer: Kilns have a probe (hehe!) inside that measures the temperature, which is connected to an external computer that is programmed according to whatever type of clay is being fired then. That’s important coz different clays fire at different temperatures.

Here’s my answer: Mr Man who fixed the kiln failed to take the rogue nature of pots into his calculations, and when my little beauties were forced (yes, forced) back into that box of hellfire they rebelled and smuggled in some naughty potty juice in their bellies. A party ensued as the pots enjoyed their secret libations, and vessels began to get naked and sassy with each other. A pair of vases were caught necking by a jealous ewer some dishes ran away to spoon in the corner, and a certain overly-tipsy jug began to do a jig. The jigging jug reeled and wheeled all over the kiln, bumping into mugs and spinning into cups, when finally he teetered a little too far over his big juggy belly and fell. It wasn’t much of a fall as falls go, more of a tip over, but a deadly tip-over it was as he tumbled against the probe. He flailed and struggled to right himself, getting tangled in the probe and other pots’ handles, finally getting back on his foot* and settling down. But all his thrashing about had caused a bit of damage to his fellows and to the precious probe that helped regulate the temperature in the kiln.

Suddenly, the heat began to rise as the computer could no longer talk to the probe and the kiln went out of control! The pots began to weep as they overheated and their nice shiny coats of glaze began to darken and run. The terrible heat sucked all of the water out of the air and the poor pots shrivelled up to a fraction of their starting size – big vases were now little bud vases, serving bowls turned into shallow saucers, and cups wilted down to shot glasses. Worst of all, the glazes puddle at their feet, causing them to become virtually glazed to their shelves. They were stuck!

Luckily, the Pottery Teacher noticed the unusal heat surrounding the kiln and turned it off before the pots inside evaporated into dust. But many were quite fragile and most had to be chiselled from their perches in pools of glassy glaze.

*funny, because the bottom of the pot is actually called the ‘foot’

Here are my pots that survived the Kiln Disaster of 2011.

Two of the real survivors: a shrunken bowl and what is now a double-shot glass. I shall call him Shotty.

The Smurf mug that only holds 3/4 of a cup of coffee.

Anyone else noticed that I seem to have a bit of fascination with naming things after the Smurfs?  Must have been all those Saturday morning cartoons.

This mug looks fine, until you closely examine the bottom to discover....
...a broken foot!  How will she ever dance again?
This is one of the poor babies that had to be chiselled, with an actual chisel, from the shelves.  Sad.

This bad boy put on a bit of a belly while in the hotbox, look at those lovehandles!

It used to be twice that size!!  I guess pots get reverse "shrinkage", since they get smaller when it's hotter rather than icy cold.  Heh.

Finally, we have these two, whom I like to call the Fat-bottomed Twins.  Think Queen would approve?

You make my rockin' world go round!

They were supposed to be jars with lids, but the extreme heat melted the wax that was separating each jar from its lid and instead fused them together, like so:

We have seepage!
So they are pretty much just big old paperweights now.  Except I had this problem, see, in my kitchen, see, with my cookbooks that kept falling over, see, so I put these babies on either side of those blasted books and now I don't have any problems with them taking a dive off the bench in the middle of the night.  My pots are like hired toughs, there to keep everyone in line.  Heh.

My brain just realised how this photo could be construed as slightly...wrong.  In a NSFW kind of way.  Or is that just me?

(Sorry for typing like a Jersey mobster, it's how it came out in my head!)

Here's the whole sorry bunch, troublemakers that they are.  I'll put them to use and punish them for the greivous misdeeds.

The Usual Suspects.
Now I just have to come up with things to do with them!  I think the ugly one hiding in the back might just be a cactus planter one day soon.  That'll teach him to misbehave!

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