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Kiln firings in April.

I 'm nearing the end of a batch of firings of some new work. There's been some urgency on my part  to supply  3 galleries asking for work- and another wanting replacement stock. A nice problem to have- but a problem nonetheless when you've got no work left to sell.

Once again copper matte has proved as frustrating as ever- but I am confident that  I know exactly what I am doing- and what I am doing wrong! This time- the pyrometer played up.  Two kiln firings went "kaputt"- the pots went too hot* (above 1050) -(*soaked too long in the kiln) and the copper matte begins to burn out or flux too much- too low- and the reduction happens too quickly and drab colours result in reduction.  The pots need to start showing a very slight sheen - this is a good sign. Too little- and the colours are unstable and drab- too much and the colours will also be drab and burned out.

For me 1030-1040 gives the optimum result. I keep stating this- because its so easy to  forget when you fire periodically like I do. It's crucial to  seal the base of the reduction bin with earth- burping the cannister after  15 minutes.  So is watching  the copper matte surface begin  to "bloom" it's colours -not too much- then  re- sealing for between 8-10 minute.  Finally whether to reseal or not- and  expose to the air. Sometimes this develops the fabled golds and pinks.

 That's all there is to it. Even so I still  managed to cock up!   Despite this some nice pots have emerged.

Note: Some of the glazed raku has worked well- I even managed to achieve some gold...





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Mo Jupp

My connection to Mo was as a student at Middlesex University in the dog days of the ceramics course during the 90's. He was my personal tutor for four years. Diminutive of stature and blinking in the funny way he did, we all came to love him as a tutor.
Middlesex then,  had a reputation  for slip casting and mold making, and I was awful at both! Instead I had more of an interest in sculpture rather than functional tableware. Mo seemed to take an interest in my progress. He was very perceptive of individual students' abilities and offered guidance without ever dominating the discussion. He could be critical of course,  but in such a way that was constructive and not "dead ended." 
At times he played down his reputation ,when we  first year students twigged what a great artist he really was. He simply claimed that he was a big fish in a small pond unlike his heroes - Giacometti or Modigliani. Modestly he said his income nearly all came from teaching. Yet here was a g…