Frozen Pots

As some of you may have read yesterday, anything freezable in my studio was frozen when I woke up.  The door had been left open and the heater couldn’t keep up with the -20F temps outside.

I had a lot of ware on drying boards and was a little concerned with how it might deal with freezing and then thawing again. So far, the bowls I’d thrown the day before seem to be doing well.  I trimmed them up today and though I’d planned to carve their rims, I decided to just leave them uncarved instead of putting more time into them just in case they did have some problem that hadn’t shown up yet.  

I also had a couple dozen mugs in two different shapes on drying boards.  They had been trimmed and handled a few days ago and were covered in plastic to slow dry.  When I first checked them yesterday they had significant ice crystals that had formed on them.  

frozen mug

Today, I checked them again and most of them are doing OK, but I notice several had developed fissures in the clay.  And I think it’s only on this one style of mug.  The other rounder, fuller shapes so far aren’t exhibiting any of these fissures. The clay is still soft enough I can work these fissures out with my thumb, but I’m pretty sure they will return once it is fired. 

fissures after mug thawed and began to dry

Anyway, while I don’t think this is something I’d ever intend to do, it has been a great learning opportunity on what happens when water is forced out of clay under freezing conditions.  And of course an excellent reminder to make sure the door is tightly closed before going to bed.  Just goes to show, we’re never too old to learn.  

Be well.  And make sure your doors are closed!!

Good morning

A couple days ago, I re-pinned this on Pinterest.  Little did I know then that I would be making use of the principle today. 

Last night the studio door was left open with outdoor temps of -20F.  Needless to say, the heater couldn’t keep up with that and everything inside the studio froze.  Faucets, sink trap, clay, glazes, slip, wax resist, leather hard pieces and the stuff I’d just thrown all were hard as a rock this morning. 

Check out the ice crystals on the bottom of this mug


Glaze bucket frozen solid

Definitely not what I’d planned, but today I’ll take a deep breath and spend some time thawing stuff out, determine what can be salvaged and what needs to be reclaimed.  Then we’ll just have to go from there.

Lots of work, but ultimately, I’m so glad we are on the back side of this polar vortex.  We’ve got more comfortable weather heading our way and are supposed to see temps above freezing by the weekend.  
Stay warm friends.  

ps.  Any pottery friends ever had to deal with this?  Would love to hear what I can expect from the work that froze.