Monday, September 12, 2016

Upriver Ceramics is Up and Running!

This past week I didn't work out at all because I was sick, so I can't really write any kind of weekly review post. Instead, here's an amazing update on Matt's ceramics studio!

Last time I posted about Upriver Ceramics, Matt had gotten his new equipment and was making pieces. He hadn't fired anything yet. I think he was nervous about the kiln. Would it work? Would it destroy the cottage? Would it destroy the pieces? Would it leak poisoned gas and kill everyone who came near it? (These are all very real possibilities, by the way.)

Over the last few weeks, he's been testing that out. First he did two test-firings, which means he heated the empty kiln up to about 1700 degrees F and then let it cool down. The cottage got up to 100 degrees even with the AC set at 75, but otherwise nothing went wrong.

Then, he put the pieces in. Time to fire them. Obviously we were nervous, but everything turned out beautifully!
I made that ugly cup! See my initials?! Go me! I'm so talented.
The next nerve-wracking test was glazing. The glazes Matt bought are new to him, and it's been a long time since he's glazed anything. He had to put on the right number of coats and make sure the glaze didn't run (thereby making the pieces stick to the kiln shelves). Then, he had to fire them, which meant heating the kiln up to 2000 degrees!

Yesterday we went in to see how it all came out:
He put all the sea horse mugs on the top row but he did make other designs, too!

I am so freaking proud of him. This is the first time Matt has fired a kiln himself and been fully in charge of the entire creation process from start to finish. (His ceramics master used to fire everything for him.) It's a huge deal that everything turned out perfectly the first time around! Soon, his Kickstarter pieces will be done and he'll be able to work on his bigger projects and take custom orders!
I picked out the dark blue and red glazes. Clearly I have an eye for this sort of thing.
Side note: Most of these pieces have a "Florida" theme (sea life/water) but usually Matt's designs are very abstract. I think he wanted something that would appeal to tourists and would be cute and fun for his Kickstarter backers!

While the kiln runs, Matt stays in the cottage, so he's been leaving the house at 6am to start everything early. It takes well over 12 hours. I'm hopeful that now that we know everything is safe and in working order, he won't feel the need to be there the entire time.

As if that's not exciting enough, Matt had another big success this week!
Matt and his pieces!
He entered three pieces in a local gallery and one of them won first place! (The curator admonished me for taking pictures in the gallery but that's not stopping me from publishing them here! I'm a rebel and too proud to care!)

Do you prefer functional or abstract art?
Fun fact: many people don't pronounce the "n" in "kiln"! Pronouncing it either way - "kill" or "kiln" - is considered correct.



  1. Go Matt! Did they really yell at you for taking pics in the gallery? I did not know of the two kiln pronounciations. I am not into art unless it is something someone I know makes. I just don't have an eye for it. But that doesn5 mean I don't appreciate it because I am in awe.. I am not artistic at all so I appreciate the skill and creativity!

  2. SO cool that Matt won first place! Athletic and artistic! You've got yourself quite a catch... but so does he :).

  3. I hope you are feeling better!

    Those cups look really cool!

    Way to go Matt!

    Can't wait to buy one of those cups!