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Fired Earth Pottery

Pottery by Sarah Parent

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Well its been a while.  Im pumping out pots right now in the hopes that i can meet demand when the shows start.  Ive got a quite a few bisque pieces, maybe 75, but my last few firings have been tragic so those new bisque pieces wont all turn out as well as i might hope.  Why tragic?  Well it was really time to change my elements.  So two firings ago the kiln was very over fired because it took so long to get up to temp, then i changed the elements ($1000) and the next firing took so much less time to get up to temp that everything was under-fired. ug!  So now i'm testing testing testing to find that sweet spot again.  I hope i find it soon.  losing pots is is like watching puppies suffer.  Heart Breaking.

Here is one that wasn't bad, just a little over fired.

On a side note i finally got the new soda kiln all assembled and ready to go. I'm excited to make some new soda work.  I've got quite a few pieces ready to go, mostly cups.  Unfortunitely it rained all October and i felt zero insentive to sit out in the rain.  California is looking better and better after a month like that.


Wow its been a crazy few months.  I've been working very hard making lots of new stuff.  I've still got bows of all shapes and sizes but have added in a few different shapes as well.  I made some long, handbuilt boatlike items, and was very happy to see them sell quickly  :)
I have also been reworking my glazes and had an epiphany around two in the morning Monday night.  Aparently the Zinc-Strontium balance is just as important as the Zinc-Silica-3110 balance.  Since most people don't use strontium, this is something i had to discover for myself.  Hopefully i now understand the nature of this glaze better and can tweek it to give me more results that i love.  My next goal is to incorperate more colors as well.
Thanks to all who bought and appreciated my work.  Those openings where i get to speak with my pottery fans (and critics)  make all this work worth it!!! 
Thank YOU!
Well Another season is upon us.  I've been working hard making new pots and coming up with new ideas for my work.  I have added some flat christmas tree ornaments as well as some pendants.  I'm working on some new glazes and have to make three new ones today.  Thats always kind of nerve racking, especially too close to an opening so i had better get on it.  I had to change out some elements which i believe is what was causing the bubbles before, so hopefully now, things will work out without too much mishap.  Hope to see you all soon.
having bubble trouble!

April 24,

Well the Transition to microsoft 365 totally sucked.  If my husband didn't work for microsoft, it wouldnt have happened.  I could not have done it without him.  Thankfully i do still have my site, and though its not fully functional yet, I have high hopes.

My work is coming along.  I've been making lots of plates for shows.  Hopefully I will have some come out with some amazing crystals.  I am also in the process of changeing up my glazes a bit to make them a bit more predictable, at least so I know they wont have fatal flaws.  It hurts so much to take hours on a piece only to have a few glaze bubbles ruin it.

On another note.  I did pick up a new "old electric" for soda firing and crystal glaze reduction.  Now i just need to get off the golf course enough to have time to put it together :)



April 2,

Well Hello everyone, on the other side of NCECA 2012. It was very busy here in Seattle, thats for sure! I learned a lot, met some wonderful people and had a great time. It is good to rest now and catch up on some sleep. But forward ho, many shows a comin'.....

I will be working on my crystalline glaze formulations as well as some new forms, with more handbuild additions. I also plan on hunting down a new "old electric" for my new soda kiln. Bigger and Better is the plan. I want a 12/27 if i can find one. More room around the outside of the shelves will give more Soda flow is my thought.

New pictures will be up soon hopefully. Plus my web host is making me move to a different partner, i hope not to lose any content.

December 3rd.

Thanks everyone who came to the Seward Park Clay show. It was packed with lots of good pottery and lots of good people, fun was had by all (weird saying, i'm sure someone wasn't thrilled, oh yeah, that was my kids who had had just about enough of pots for the day) Anyway, moving on. I was very happy to meet many of the people who admired my pieces, and a large 'THANK YOU' to those of you who were able to make a purchase.

I am still making more pots for the redmond schoolhouse show on December 9th. Hope to see you there.

Nov. 20, 2011

Hello everyone, I have been steadily working on making lots of crystalline wear for my three shows here in Seattle. I will be at the colombia city Gallery, the Seward Park Gallery, and the Old School House show in Redmond. My bisque wear stage is almost done, I've only got the biggest nicest ones left to glaze, i wait for those to see how my glazes are fireing up these days. So much can change the outcome. Just when i think i have it dialed in, it changes on me, forcing me to change ingredient ratio's. Sometimes for the better, and unfortunitly sometimes.....NOT!

But its been a few firings now with the new recipie and i'm hoping/praying that those big much cherished bisque pots turn out to 'be all they can be'!

Come see for yourself.

May 9th 2011

Hello Ceramic buddies, Well winter is officially over and i've started firing again!!! yay. I've got about 75 pots in different stages of being; some wet, some dry, some bisqued and even some glazed and ready to be cooked. I've even got a large bunch of cups ready to be bisqed and soda fired. I'm moving in a few weeks so i'm going to try to get that in before i have to take apart my baby soda kiln. Sad to take apart, but i definitly have some ideas for upgrades on the new one :)

I've also been working on my crystal recipie, and i think...i think, i've got it better than ever now, which means less running, more and bigger crystals and no (hopefully) bubbling. I hate the bubbling. Sometimes i really have to push myself to glaze because i know i'll lose some nice pots to flaws :(

But hey, it wouldn't be as exciting if it was easy. Thats was makes these pots so special

October 29th 2010:

I will be in a cup show at KOBO which i am very excited about and looking forward to the opening on Nov. 13th at 6pm. I found my two favorite cups from the last soda firing i did and i'm somewhat curious to see how they are recieved.

It is time to start making work for all the December sales and auctions coming up before i know it. Time to get out the extra table and start pumping out good work. I'll probably focus on crystalline firing for the holidays as that is what i sold most of at the seattle center show. I also have some new ideas for that glaze, and want to try them out. I'm glad i have a few directions with clay to persue, so if i get frustrated or unmotivated with one, i can turn again to the other.

July 2010:

Well i wondered if i'd really be able to keep a regular blog. Now i guess i know the answer to that. Not really. But I'll keep trying.

I did my 9th soda firing in my little converted old electric kiln last week. I've learned so much from having it, but it still isn't perfect. I've gotten some amazing pieced from it, some of which are in the North West crafts center gallery right now, until July 25th 2010. When/ if i get them back i'll take some pictures and put them up here. Lately i've been doing a combination of crumble and spray and that seems to work best. I also learned to make sure to soda ash is LIGHT soda ash or it just seems to melt all over the bottom of the kiln and not get into the atmosphere.

I've developed a few flashing slips, but its always good to make new ones, they can do so much for a pot.

I've got a street fair coming up this week, in west seattle at the junction. I'd love to see you there.

Hey all,

Well I've done a few more firings since i wrote last. Today i did my fourth. Number two cam out very nicely tho i still managed to learn more than i wanted to. aka. stuff went not according to plan. But I did learn a few nice things. Like a slip i made up from some grolleg clay I threw (cone 6) plus a bit of zircopax and neph sye came out really wonderful, with some peaches, whites and blacks. The bottom of the kiln was a bit too coated for my tastes, too much soda bleaches out the reds and browns leaving just glassy grays, blacks or whites depending on reduction. In this case lots of glassy grays on bottom shelf cups.

The middle was very nice, not too much soda, lots of reduction, some great colors from my flashing slips. The top was too dry. I should just put glazes up there... and i did do some, but glazes just don't seem to do it for me, i really just want lots of lusious soda all over the kiln!

So on firing number 3 i sprayed in the top and middle. Actually onto a bowl i made to sacrafice just for that, but no dice. It really didn't seem to work at all. Which is weird because i used to only spray to great effect. but there just doesn't seem to be enough room in this small converted electric to have to soda spray really get into the atomosphere. Plus i didn't put in lots of soda at the bottom because of the last firing being too coated. sooooo this third firing didn't really come out as well as i wanted. The bottom was pretty nice... everything else was too dry for my tastes.

So onto Todays work and Soda firing number 4 in my converted electric. I made up the crumble mixture. i made a plate out of wadding and put that in the middle of the kiln. I put 2 lbs of burritos in the bottom of the kiln and about 3/4 of a lb in the middle. I really have high hopes for this giving a better coating to the middle and top. But i am apparently an optomist because i'm always surprised when things don't go according to my plans, and they almost never completely do.

I open tomorrow. Hopefully i'll actually take some more pictures and i will put up some of the cups i've been talking about. and maybe even a video of me firing.

thanks for reading.

Feb 1,

Well, Its been a while and yet i've not done my next firing yet, but now i'm almost there. I'm going to throw a few more things today to finish fillingup the bique kiln then i'll do the firing next week hopefully. The weather has been great so i hope it stays nice for the firing.

Jan 6th 2010

Well, it really is 2010. wow i feel old. That was supposed to take forever to come and now... here it is. Oh well, at least i have my own soda kiln, that makes it ok. :) I'm making tons of simple cups to do my next soda firing. I figure if i don't care whats in there, it should come out great. I have some ideas for the next one. I'm going to do a really good body reduction with wood (its an updraft and needs help reduciing) then i'm going to keep adding wood every ten minutes or so till cone 7. Then put it in nuetral and add soda. That way i'm hoping i'll have really good color from all my slips but i wont get grays when i add soda. I don't mind some gray, but i also like the nutty colors.

So now I just have to throw 25 more cups. And hope the kittens don't knock them over at night. I may just have to make a damp box, just to keep them safe. So hopefully next week, we'll have our next installment of what i didn't think would go wrong with my soda firing :)

Dec 14th,

Doing a show in Redmond this week at the Old Redmond School House. The show is in the new clay classroom with Damian Grava and his wife Jackie. My Crystalline work is in the very back of the classroom.

Dec 9th,

Well, i did my first soda firing at home in my own kiln today. It was very successful as a learing experience:) I made a soda kiln out of an old electric 10-27, i wadded the old electric element paths. Coated the whole thing with ITC 100. I made up some new slips... and wondered what would go wrong. Well everything was going along fabulously, all the way to 1850, cone 06 was justing getting soft when it was time to change tanks of propane. Well the new one wouldn't start the burner. It was an old tank and maybe a spider crawled into the nozzel or something, so i hooked up a different one, still no go. I was freeking out.. it had been about 15 minutes, the kiln was already down to 1600, and i couldn't get the d*** burner lit again! Finally, with some special finageling, everything had to be off, even the pilot, then the regulator would regester pressure and finally the tank would read pressure. I could turn on the burner... but not too high or it would blow out and it would be another 3 minutes before i could try again. I wanted to scream and cry. In the end, that happend twice more. It was 22 degrees out, and i was frustrated as all get out, but with my husbands help we managed to finish the firing. Results? So-so. I definitly needed a stronger body reduction, that was right when i had my first issue so i only did 15 min then

Dec. 5th

Well, the opening was amazing fun and exciting. The unloading went relatively fast and we got some awesome pots:) The front and back were awesome, the middle top was a bit dry right behind the second stoke hole, i think next time we'll put glazed stuff there. I had quite a few nice cups and one bottle i just love. There were some others who had some truely remarkable colorations. Please see my gallery to see some pots from this firing, most are not mine, but i figured its always fun to look.

Nov. 20th

Well, my husband and I are on Lopez Island for the weekend.We are here for his 40th birthday, but also to unload a woodfire kiln I worked on last week.It was so exciting.I love to woodfire.It is a very community oriented way of firing.You certainly can’t do it yourself.(although I dohave a teacher who did, but he wasn’t human, Jamie Kirkpatrick, awesome work)There were about 30 people who came to this Lopez firing at some point or other, but wait I get ahead of myself.

So I went out to Lopez Friday the 13th of Nov. 2009.I’m on shift when I get there at 1:30pm.Josh started the fire at 4:30 am after candling over night with a leaf blower.Were only trying to gain 150 degrees and hour so we go slowly.As we approach 1900 the kiln slows down and it takes more effort to increase temp.I finally went to sleep at 10:30 because I had a 4am shift; I believe we were almost at 2000.I dream of ways to increase temp.Finally I wake up at 4 and they are still about 2100, having gone up then come back down.By 8 am we are almost at 2200.Its just a slow process for the bricks toheat up.

Finally at about 4 or 5pm we are at 2350, the highest temp we want to reach, we hold it there, a little higher and a little lower but around that till 10pm…then the fun part.Throw as much wood as will fit into the kiln, every stoke area, every nook and cranny, then close all the air holes and throw it into serious reduction, fire spitting our every orifice, the temp drops rapidly in such heavy reduction, going from 2335 to 1975 in one hour.But then the air starts to creep in and the wood starts burning efficiently and they temp rises again.I went to bed at 12:30 and the temp was back up to 2050.We wanted to down stoke to promote crystals, but everyone is exhausted and the kiln is just getting hotter, no way am I staying up again to wait for 1850 to hold it there for 3 hours.It’ll cool slowly all by itself!

I can’t wait to see if it comes out well, this kiln has only been fired 4 times, seems to get better every time.This time we had more alder wood which seems to have lots of ash build up on the pots with nice colors too. Well, we’ll see. Stay tuned. Tomorrow is the big reveal!

Nov 9th 2009.

Hey all. Ok so here i go, real bloging. Hope i can keep it up. Do real bloggers have a day and time that is blog time? I know i'm just not that organized. I'm more of a "i feel like blogging now" type.

Any way. So whats on my schedual right now? I've got a few things in the works. I've been working on putting together a small soda kiln, built from an old electric i picked up. I still need another canister for gas and shelves and i'd like to fill in all the old electric wire spots with wadding, but i've got the burner (100) and the holes drilled. I also would love to have some form of roof, but that might be asking too much.

What else? Well i've got two wood fires to attend this week. One at shoreline community college, I've got nothing in that firing, but its with Toyodasan from Japan and Brendan Fuller, so i'm hoping i'll pick up some good info. Then this weekend i'm going out to Lopez and doing a firing with Jim Stout and a few other Lopez potters, There i've got work in his beautiful kiln and i'm looking forward to seeing some great results. I've got some helmer, some kenzan and some b-mix woodfire in there. I love an experiment :)

I really need to get some new crystal glaze made up and tested. I have a bowl i was supposed to have to someone two weeks ago, but ay, i'm behind. One of these days i'm going to make 100 bowls and keep them just for testing.

signing off, keep loving hand made stuff,


West Seattle July 10-12.

west seattle was loads of fun. I really enjoyed meeting all the new people and actually had my best street fair ever. Hopefully now i'll have some time to make new work and put it up on ETSY. I'll let you know when that is available. If you bought a pot from me I hope you are enjoying it.


Shoreline street fair.

Well, what can I say, the weekend was beautiful! The shoreline street fair was a wonderful way to spend time meeting new people and selling more art/pots. People really seem to like the wonky bowls i make, and seem to think they are really unique and beautiful. I'm so glad and will be making more for the upcoming fair in West Seattle.

Freemont fair.
Once again the weather was great. Ok, perhaps not as warm as University street fair, but when you expect rain all weekend and instead its dry and partly sunny, well, its perfect weather.
The location was pretty nice, a wonderful view of the channel with some awesome boats and some naked/painted bikers...crazy i know, but thats Freemont solstice.
The pots were moving! Lots of crystalline bowls and platters found new homes. Some great cups are now in new hands, and some of my soda fired ceramics are now in new locations. Yeay, now i get to make more! gotta love that.
Thanks to everyone that made the fair a wonderful event, people are so friendly at streetfairs!
Thanks for looking, and keep art in your life.
University fair.
The Weather was amazing, the crowds were flowing, and lots of great pots found new homes!!!
I'm so glad to those of you who bought a pot from me and i hope you are enjoying it. To those of you who would like another opportunity i will be at the Freemont fair, the West Seattle fair, the Shoreline arts festival and likely some others, stay posted.
Also I am selling through ETSY, I'm working on my photos now and plan to put up a batch of new work in a few days, check back if you don't see it right away.
Thanks again and please,
Keep art in everyday life!

Artist Statement
How they are used