I love bisque ware. I know many potters who hate clay at this stage, finding it anemic and lackluster. I love how the fired clay takes on a new character and a new strength. Yes, you can almost hear it exclaiming “What Now????” but to me that is a challenge, not an affront.
I fired my eighth bisque firing (the first for 2010) Wednesday night and unloaded it yesterday. For those non-potter readers, bisque firings take the clay (air dry but still containing some moisture) up to around 1900 °F. By the end of this firing, there is no chemically bonded water left in the clay. Bisque is a true ceramic material, although the clay body has not yet reached maturity. This happens in the next firing, which is a glaze firing (the bisque is coated with a glaze and fired again to a higher temperature).
You can fit more pots into a bisque firing than a glaze firing, as pieces can be places very close together (even touching). As result, with each bisque firing I’ve been accumulating more pieces than I can glaze fire. Finally, I have enough bisque for two back to back glaze firings. As it is still high season here in Rincón, this is a very good thing. I’ll miss having bisque ware kicking around in the kiln room. No worries, more production going on in the studio…Bisque number 9 is just around the corner!
First Bisque Ware for 2010
Drying wheel and handbuilding work in the studio