RSS Feed (xml)

Powered By

Skin Design:
Free Blogger Skins

Powered by Blogger

Monday, December 31, 2007

Not Exactly Idle

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx x

This is one of the latest to come out of the kiln. Perhaps, y'all remember when the bisque photo appeared. Since i lose so many pieces to the glaze firing, there's usually a long delay tween the time they are bisqued then glostfired. However, i'm getting braver. Discovering that they can be dremeled, sanded, Aztec'd, reglazed and refired has given me courage to get some of these pieces off the "hold" table and into the finished pieces cabinet. The lady wore an intensely blue hat the first time she was glazed and fired. This turned a lovely shade of lavender (all by itself) upon exiting the 2nd glaze fire.
The cup still isn't quite right, so am going to try for a 3rd firing soon. Am hoping the hat doesn't decide to change color again!

This is a teapot in the making. If one looks through the slit near the bottom, daylight can be seen on the other side. That, of course, isx - xif it isn't nighttime when you glance through the aperature.
Had fun creating this one. In fact, got so involved in making it and was so focused in getting the proportions just to my liking that i failed to consider how large it was getting.

Darn thing won't fit in my electric kiln !!!

Soon the snow will melt (ok. that might be a day or two) and i can get out to the kiln room and fire up the gas beasti but i have a hunch this teapot isn't going to be fired until way into the new year.

Speaking of New Years -- here's wishing you all the very best in this coming New Year. Am hopin' and prayin' that all your desires come to fruition and that it's the very best year ever!
Happy New Years!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Auld Lang Syne

Perhaps it's because these are the closing days of the year, or perhaps it's because i had a wonderful Christmas and am feeling very sentimental; whatever the reason, a few moments ago i visited the site at: and my heart swelled up with emotion.
"What set of circumstances could cause that?" you ask.

There's an extremely well-done mural board on the right side of the blog and just below this is located a "snips" player playing an exceptionally well-done version of the sentimental song: Auld Lang Syne. As the mural board pictures tastefully fade, one into another, of local artist's works (all are noteworthy) the music fills your heart with a certain sense of awe.

Normally, i'm not an advocate of music playing on websites, blogs, etc. Generally, i think they're tacky.

However, i believe Jafabrit at the Yellow Springs Arts Council (and the address is worth repeating: )will have me as a repeat visitor many times just to hear the music and watch the mural.

Well done

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Time To Reflect

The year 2007 has basically ended. The new year is about to begin. What will we bring ourselves in the new year?

What gifts of creation, what goals, what purposes will we endow ourselves with in the coming days, the coming months?

Today is the first "breather" from recent hectic holiday activity and i thoroughly intended to reflect on the work accomplished this past year and on the direction it should take during the next 12 months.
However . . .
My thoughts hid in sleepiness, not actual sleep mind you, just that grogginess of a mind not quite in gear. A mind slumbering in the fog of exhaustion.

I intended to reflect on the pottery pieces that pleased me and seemed meaningful. Should i pursue the character mugs? Or focus on teapots? Fashion a series of casserole dishes?

It may be a time to look at this from a different perspective -- should i focus on production pottery, do simple bowls and plates (which have more market potential) or continue with fancy creative endeavors (which will require, perhaps, a specialized market niche)?

Or possibly, explore new opportunities and fashion pieces which make "statements" about our culture. About the world we find ourselves in.

It's definately time to reflect on marketing techniques and strategies.

What direction are you going with your pottery endeavors this year? Will you stay with a style which has been successful for you? Or try something new?

Ah yes . . . A time to reflect.

And i will - right after i finish trimming the milk pitcher started a couple of days ago, finish glazing the casserole bowls waiting for their decorative colors, add the spout and handle to the teapot which is still on the wheel, bisque fire those pieces that are dry enough, fire those that await the glostfire . . . .

Happy Reflections

Monday, December 24, 2007

Tis The Season

Merry Christmas to one and All
Hope your pottery endeavors of 2007 were a success and that those successes are doubled, tripled, quadrupled and even better than that in 2008.
May all the JOY of the Season be upon you.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Simon Leach

Found some of Simon Leach's videos on Ron Philbeck's Dec. 13, 07 blog entry.
More than likely y'all are already familiar with Bernard Leach's fame and this is his grandson.
Simon has 109 videos posted on YouTube and apparently adds a new one every day! Worth checking out at: Here's one of Simon's videos on making quadruple bowls. (Ron has different ones posted on his blog.)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Work In Progress


This little puppy survived the bisque firing. When it went into the kiln, the lid fit perfectly. However, the lid warped a bit during the process. Am tickled pink the pot bisqued well, but bummed out about the lid.
Have been studying (trying to find info on) firing in high altitudes. 6000-7000 feet. There's not much information on the web about this subject.
Thought perhaps, preheating pieces before putting them into the kiln might work. Spent most of last evening trying to revamp a wire birdcage so it would fit atop the woodstove. Add a shelf and surround it with tin foil and Walla! A mini oven . . . .
However, i'm not particularly handy when it comes to projects like this and by 11pm gave up in frustration.
My batting average for pieces surviving the glost-firing lately has been nil. (Think the altitude may have something to do with this.) Plus, it's been truly exhausting. As soon as the previous day's pieces come out of the kiln, i prepare to fire again the next day. Set the alarm for 6am, turn the lights out and fall asleep by 2am. At exactly 3:16am, my eyes pop open, thoughts are in full gear and i'm wide awake. An hour and a half's sleep just isn't going to cut the ice, so try to fall back to sleep. At 4am, i give up the ghost, get up and start the kiln. Yep! A truly exhausting schedule.
Hey! Hope you are having a great weekend.
Me? My elbow is propped on the desktop holding my head in an upright position while i pretend to be awake. Can hardly wait til tomorrow to see what comes out of the kiln . . . .

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

To Be Censored? Or Not . . . .

Was reading Carole Epps's blog this morning. and her December 2, 07 column "Controversy of Contextualising" about Leopold Foulem's work caught my eye.

All of this leads to the question: Do you self-censor your work if you think the content/concept will be received by the viewer in a negative way?

And: Is self-censoring of "confrontational imagery" a valid use our artistic talents?


Saturday, December 8, 2007


When you sit down at the wheel to throw a cup, casserole dish, vase, bowl, plate . . . . you've gathered everything you need, wedged the clay and are ready to begin . . . . . . . do you feel more creative - if previously - you've been drinking your coffee or tea from an exceptionally unique cup? One that stimulates the imagination?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Videos Worth Watching

Found an absolutely absorbing 2-part video series by Ron Dahline, titled "Reflections in Mud". He demos how to make character mugs. His techniques and finished pieces are far different than mine. He seems to know what he's doing while i am usually guessing. These videos were the treasured "find" of the week for me. Hope you enjoy them and find them as useful as i have.

Also found Susan Ting's video series on "How to Make Double-Walled Pottery Vessels". Beneath the bio of Susan are links to each segment of the series. She makes this look so easy! And her finished piece is awesome! This is a technique i'd dearly love to learn. So after watching the series through twice, was quite prepared for success. Into the pottery room, clay on the wheel and began. I now have several nicely rounded pots, sitting in the wet/dry box.
None of which are double-walled.
This technique is a lot harder than Susan makes it appear . . . .

Tim See has 2 videos that i found helpful. One is on rims and lips.
and the other is about faceting:

Happy viewing

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Recently Out of the Kiln

Was trying for an "old world" lacy effect. And while the picture does it justice, in actuality the poor little bowl is rather lopsided. It never would have progressed to the glaze firing except Reed thought it was charming. Naturally, when it survived the glostfiring, it went home with him.

This face mug is the very first one i created. Last December, sitting down with a lump of clay, wondering what to do with it, and by golly, this fellow more or less created himself. I was so delighted, yet scared to death to glaze him. Finally, a year later, with bated breath i applied the glaze and gently placed him in the kiln. Other kiln survivors have pleased me, yet never as much as this one when it came out of the kiln grinning at me !!!

xxxxxx xxxxxx
And now we have the mini-teapot. In this case the pictures do not do it justice. It's actually quite lovely in a whimsical sort of fashion and the colors turned out swell. Unfortunately, in the photos, the blues are rather washed out. In real life, holding it in hand, one experiences richly saturated opal blues.
So the colors are great; the shape is pleasing; and it holds one full (large) cup of water.
I capered aroung in 7th heaven until i discovered it's a bit tricky to pour. Because the spout is near the top of the pot, there was no room to construct a proper flange in the lid. It would have covered the holes. Now i've seen teapots with "U's" cut out of the lid's flange and thought this was the reason why.
The water pours out the teapot spout
Out of the lid too !!!
On the other hand -- The spout doesn't drip! The last drop of water plops into the cup in courtly fashion.

Ah . . . the pro's and con's of design. Little spouts near the top of teapots have a really neat appearance but how the heck does one design the lids ??? Would love to hear from any of you who have wrestled with this situation and developed solutions . . .

Friday, November 30, 2007

Glaze Configurations

This just fascinates me!

Ian Currie developed a grid method for testing glazes, variants and gradients. The following link
( )
provides a method for designing a set of 35 glazes by the use of a recipe-based standard grid method. It's a systematic approach, varying Alumina and Silica which works out the flux material breakup, including colourants and opacifiers. This calculation page (which instantly provides 35 recipes per data entry) is definately an alternative to using glaze calculation programs such as Matrix, HyperGlaze and Insight.
) he gives an explanation of the four zones that result automatically when the alumina and silica are increased and decreased.
And the link to his guided tour ( color plates ) where he shows the results of each variation, square by square, is:

For anyone having trouble understanding and creating their own glazes, this is a "must-see" of valuable information.

Now for a special word of thanks to Chris Schafale who believes that: ". . . each of us can begin to change our lives and our world by our small, often seemingly insignificant actions"; it is she who led me to the Ian Currie links. Her site: Light One Candle is found at: ( ).

Her pottery and glazes are quite all right, too !!!

And she includes several pages of grid tests, ingredients, kiln times and temps of her own following the Ian Currie method at: ( ).

Happy Glazing folks

Sunday, November 25, 2007

New Face In Town

Sometimes people, places, faces or things take your fancy. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes just because they've come into existance, they endear themselves to you.

Such is the case with the cup released from the kiln yesterday.

Now i ought-a point out, that the day before Thanksgiving when it first came out of the kiln, i was ready to pitch it, like a baseball, to the furtherest point on the playing field, turn my back and walk away. It was that disappointing. These "hairline" and larger cracks are killing me.

Got out my Dremel, put on a stone grinding tip and really tore into the crack. Figured the cup was useless as it was, so it couldn't get worse. Right? When the puppy survived my grinding attempts, i began to have a bit more respect for it.

Filled the hollowed out spaces with Aztec.

Late Thanksgiving night, used a Duncan glaze (hadn't a clue what it would do)over the Aztec'd spots. I surely hoped it would subtly blend with the existing colors.

Still, since there was little hope that the cup would "heal" itself, it was an opportunity to see what color this commercial glaze would be.

Opening the kiln yesterday afternoon. Since my expectations were really low, there was no great drama in another failed cup. The durn thing had survived, healed and for all appearances is now a perfectly good cup!

Wonderful !!!

And it's uglier than sin ¡¡¡

What can i say? As it sat around the house the rest of the afternoon and into the evening -- it grew on me. Took a place in my heart, so to speak.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


It's strange how "spaces in time" can misdirect one's focused attention.

For me, creating with clay is a mood paradigm quite aside from the hustle and bustle of "reality". It's almost like being in an parallel universe where time, distance and any form of measurement is unreal.

The moment one steps into regimented routine, one loses this focus, or un-focus as it were.

Which is what happened in early November when i helped out in my son's office. True to my nature, (as Robert Rubin states it so well):"I tend to invest myself very deeply in whatever I do . . . and find almost everything interesting."; i immersed myself in day-to-day practical affairs -- and quite lost contact with my creative self.

Home now and trying to engage the disengage. Puttering. Searching for the arrangement of hours which had worked well for me before. Trying to re-adjust the pace from "out in the world" back to being in the "inner world".

Checking the damp-dry box, for i quite remembered that i'd been working on a piece before the office expedition.

But what totally blew me away -- was that upon opening the box and holding the last piece created -- it was as if "anyone" had created it, but not necessarily me! I felt no identity with it.

There was the vague recollection that i'd been working with 2 new clays and had decided to intermix them in the same piece to see what effects could be produced. But there was no emotional involvement with the piece.

Strange. For usually i value each line, curve and contour; each feeling of movement within the piece itself, as if life was expressing itself through the work.

But this piece, set hastily aside in preparation of different endeavors, lacks all but disinterested viewership when held in my hand.

How can that be?


P.S. Have a great Thanksgiving everyone and may it be a happy occasion for all.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Finally !!!

Suddenly, i am capering around in ecstatic joy. It's been quite a while since that has occurred. In fact, it hasn't happened in such a very long time, that for the past few months, only negative, gloomy predictions have spouted from my mouth. I hate negative gloomy predictions.

Took the two pieces fired yesterday from the kiln about an hour ago. And now, i'm out of breath. From dancing around like a maniac, singing in joyous wonder at the very first braggable piece created in a whole year.

OK. So it didn't come out perfectly. And it's not saleable. (There's 2 tiny crack-like dents in the bottom . . . ) But it holds water and the glaze colors finally match the work !!!

Colors, I've discovered, are "iffy" affairs. The cup fired last week has "pretty" colors -- yet they don't align with the concept of the piece. One rather imagines that eyes must have color and mouths, too. At least, that's the way i saw it last week.

However, on today's face cup, i used a plain glaze throughout and by the grace of the spirits, it opalized wondrously! Hence forward, will use this technique as "my style". Have been waiting for one to occur -- a "my style". Finally, it arrived.

Am so very tickled. And am sharing my joy with y'all.

Have a great week.


Saturday, November 17, 2007


This link is courtesy of Lee Love. If you've ever wondered how very large jars [Onggi] are created, this slide show gives us a clue!

My only question is: how in the world would I ever get the greenware Onggi into the kiln?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Fired Saturday.
The results didn't exactly produce an Irish jig of jubilation.

First i ought-a point out that even tho there is a large crack alongside the face, the cup doesn't leak and is perfectly usable. Altho, i realize the design is poor, for the rim leaves little room to drink beverages. (With a bit of dexterity tho, one can get a sip or two of coffee.)
Taking all that into consideration, what upsets me most is that while the face is a perfectly acceptable color -- it leaves the poor fellow looking quite sallow. I don't know how to correct for that. And while he looks a bit sallow in morning light, at night, with house lighting, he looks like a mellow-yellow soft drink gone flat.
Most disappointing.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Couple of Notes

Not sure about anyone else, but for myself when i'm zipping around the internet hunting for clay/pottery/glaze tutorials, it freezes the puddle water in my veins to click into a site and be assailed by someone else's concept of music.
Ought-a clarify here. I love music. Well . . . . i love most music.
I'm not quite sure there's a fondness in my heart for India flutes luring the snakes out of a basket, ( ) . . . . especially if i'm seeking information on how to create a Grecian vase. If any of you have found other "musical" pottery sites, post them in comments and we'll all check them out !!!
If you'
re interested in Native American pottery, this is a good site ( ). It has a clickable map which features Native American Pottery Locations. Each location leads to an info page picturing an example of pottery made by each tribe plus definitions and line drawings. Some short notes on interesting cultural aspects relating to their pottery.
For instance, the Jicarilla Apache people of Northern New Mexico believed that making pottery was women's work. The blurb doesn't say what the men were doing while the women played in mud . . . .

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Hopi Pueblo xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Have been trying to create a wedding vase for just about forever, however, the last time i tried, my kids (doubled over in laughter) teased me that i had created a "bong".

If i don't see you before the weekend - have a great week!


Monday, November 5, 2007

A Wok

Was over at Tony Clennell's blog a few moments ago and had a revelation! Usually try, at least once a day, to check out the latest of his excellent photos (posted regularly) of his China pottery experience. The photos are a real treasure.

But this evening! A brainstorm.

There have been posts recently on the CLAYART@LSV.CERAMICS.ORG forum on the pros & cons of using plastic bowls as molds. Actually didn't have any ideas on this topic a'tall, for i tend to use anything and everything which comes to hand when searching for mold material.

Generally, use nature's products. Leaves, pine cones, apple pits, etc. (Their use is not limited to molds either, for they help create great texture!) Indeed, not too long ago, one of my granddaughters wanted to know why i was lugging a tree branch home. The branch was knarled and twisted and oh! what a treasure. (I could just feel a piece of pottery coming on as i carried it triumphantly homeward bound.)

But i digress. Molds and Tony Clennell's photos. The 5th image down shows potters tools. Tony's "take" on the tools is the specialization of trade skills in China. And how limiting it is(gleaned from former posts). However, the first thing i saw, was not the handles, but the wok.

Hanging right there in front of God and everybody.

What a marvelous mold !!! These would be so easy to obtain from a thrift store, and rather inexpensive too. For those who like the hammered look, a wok would hold up under fierce pounding!

When the grandkids come, i know they're going to wonder why my living room is filled with woks . . . .


Sunday, November 4, 2007

Latest Glazing Efforts

Short post of latest cup glazed mostly with shinos, cone 6, oxidation.

Was kind-a disappointed for the interior was spoze to be reddish. And i thought there would be more green in the leaves. The interior (and exterior, too) had many spikey bumps.
Still, i couldn't resist showing it to Reed and Becky. Wanted them to see the true colors before i sanded it with 100 mesh sandpaper. Wasn't too sure any colors would remain afterwards.
Have never sanded a cup before. Figured i had to tho, for it was never my intention to hand someone a cup of coffee or tea and inflict them with bodily harm. The little spikeys were that sharp that i could just imagine polite guests smiling at me, praising the coffee while blood dripped slowly from their upper and lower lips . . . .
Sanded and sanded.
And gosh! Would you believe?
All the colors remained true, the surface didn't have any abrasive marks AND the spikeys are gone. Can't beat that with a stick!
Now i'm actually kind of fond of the darn thing ..........

Saturday, November 3, 2007


Anyone who hasn't might want to zip over to Tony Clennell's site:
Tony is over in China and has some awesome photos of home-grown Chinese pottery, techniques, and living conditions. It's well worth the mouse click.

Have been studying the Japanese concept of tea bowls and cups. Yunomi is their generic word for teacup. Translation: [for] drinking hot water. Bisque-fired 3 of these yesterday.

In Japan, there is more to tea and cups and teapots than meets the ear.

For instance, if you are holding a Chawan, you'd best be attired in your Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes. It is a formal occasion. Chawans are usually sold in sets of five and a set is priced around 25,000 yen.

But if you're holding a Yunomi, you're sitting around the kitchen table and any old kimono will do!

If you are holding a Guinomi, you are more than likely drinking sake, and if you polish off several of these in one gulp (which the name implies), well, by then, who the heck cares what they are wearing?

And if you're holding a Meiwan? You are an intellectual or an artist participating in a tea-drinking ritual which rivals a standoff with chanoyu. You are on your own here; i haven't a clue what to wear to this occasion.

Another item worth noting about Yunomi is that some styles are worth more than others based on glazes (of course! Y'all know about my glazing abilities!). A white Shino, thickly applied evidently insulates the cup and doesn't burn your hand as you try to drink from the handleless cup.

Ah sure now, an it's suppertime. Guess i'll go have a cuppa tea . . . .


Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Rick Dillingham. By golly, that fellow had courage! He upset the traditional concept of pottery, marketed it, and became well known and respected.
Don't believe i'll follow his precedent however. It often takes me days working on one piece to get it "just right". It would break-a my heart to follow his example.
Check out Garth Clark's article on Dillingham at:

And if you haven't already viewed this, or are new to throwing on a wheel, Charles Smith has this terrific video (wheel demonstration):

When first learning to throw, watched this video quite a bit and it really helped. Smith has several other videos (which are listed on this page)on pottery techniques.

Hey! Have a Happy Holloween. For myself, i may sit in Linus' pumpkin patch . . . or put a supper on and tease the trick-n-treaters as they knock on the door.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Kiln Room Post Continued

Couldn't seem to enclude two photos in the same posting. The photo in the post below is the building and here's a photo viewing the interior of the building through the window. If you look intently, the kiln is visible.

Removed the middle kiln ring for awhile until i'm more familiar with the operation. Somehow, when things are smaller, they seem less intimidating!

The altitude here has prevented firing it a'tall (after that first firing) for the needed orifaces (smaller) haven't arrived. Am getting so frustrated with the delay.


Kiln Room

...............................................The Kiln Room ....................

Isn't it beautiful?
With the full panel of glass in the door and the window, there's plenty of light inside.
When my sons found that i intended to use the new gas kiln in the kitchen, they built this for me !!! It was snowing then. Cold. Blustery. Brrrrr .........

The snow melted away and this week's weather would have been perfect for firing several batches of copper red reduction pots.
Have I mentioned that it's hunting season? It appears as if the propane fellow, who absconded with my original 3/8's oriface in his pocket, is off chasing down deer or bear or perhaps even a moose. Since he doesn't answer the phone, it's unclear which he is pursuing.

Ah, for the joys of city living where apples are apples, competition lowers product prices, and business people act like responsible folks.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Couple of Bits N Pieces

Friday, October 26, 2007
Transcribed from Spritely Spoofs

When there's a quick moment of time, i usually zip over to Cynthia Guajardo's pottery blogspot. ( ) Her columns are full of useful information, tips and ideas on newly acquired throwing, glazing, etc. techniques, plus links she's found that are always intriguing to follow.

After a family get-together last night, i followed one such link ( ) to Pete Pinnell's video titled: "Thoughts On Cups".
(Since my computor has taken a streak lately of shutting itself off midway thru even short videos, it was highly probable that i wouln't catch the whole presentation yet was more than pleasantly surprized when i was able to watch it thru to completion.)

Besides giving the aesthetics of cups (composition, dissonance, texture, form, color, pattern, shape, balance, handles and rims), Pete mentions the progression of art from the 20th century's concept of "art for art's sake", to the 1960's era of the post-modern art movement where art talks about life's big issues, but is not an active participant in life.
Fine Art's voyeurism vs it's taboo on creative functionability.
Well worth viewing.
And thank you, Cynthia for putting the link "out there" for the rest of us.


Have i mentioned that i've "mastered" a lovely - lavender with splatters of purple and blue in it - glaze? After a year's effort, it is one of my first successes. "Clay and Glazes For The Potter" by Daniel Rhodes, revised and expanded by Robin Hopper has helped me enormously.
However, there's still much work to be done on applying glazes aesthetically, especially if one is determined to create functional art with an intense desire to stimulate imaginative responses in the viewer/user of say . . . . a cup.
Hence, the face-cups in previous posts.

Many years ago, i observed that American's desire for uniformity robbed them of the the independence to be a wee bit "different". Being average was touted as the modicum of success and all that was not "average" was pushed to the wayside in a discarded heap. A classic example of this is -- the nose.

While cutting and reshaping the nose is great for the economy and plastic surgeons, it is a disaster for the concept of originality. The world would not be quite the same without Jimmy Duranti's humor, and would there, could there, be a Jimmy Duranti produced in today's culture which promotes only sterile perfection?

Art is a means of communication. And shouldn't we somehow put imagination back into that conversation?
Alice In Wonderland type of imagination. Mary Poppins type of imagination. Fun, slightly out-of-step imagination which stimulates the mind (and soul) to create beauty.
Children growing up in this day-and-age of crime and rat-a-tat-tat shows, in a sterile world of perfectly formed McDonald's cups, are in desparate need of mentally stimulating, creatively functional, everyday items to put the "magic" back in their universe.


Speaking of "magic" how many of you have viewed the spinning lady? Right-brained vs left-brained article at,21985,22556281-661,00.html Response to this seems to be all over the internet. Pro's and con's on what viewers believe they have seen. A lot of discussion.And isn't that exactly what the world needs? A lot more discussion on the possibilities of life . . . .

Snowy Day In Idaho

Saturday, October 20, 2007
Transferred from Spritely Spoofs

It's one of those sleepy, snowy days where all the world is closed in with pristine beauty. A day when one could easily curl up with a good book and idle the hours by, safe in the cocoon of one's inner self.

It's also a great day to mess with clay.

Most of this past week, a lot of time was wasted in frustration waiting upon the arrival of the propane company fellow. His statement: "I'll be there first thing tomorrow morning.", was not necessarily true.

The new gas kiln is going to be the death of me yet. (That's a joke folks, i intend to live forever!)

The first time i fired it (with Cone 8-10 copper-red glazes in place on 3 cups) the gas beasti reached 1900 degrees F and stalled out. Realized the incoming gas pipe was too small. The kiln required 3/4 inch; i had 1/4 inch.Frantic call to my propane fellow.

He brought the larger pipe and a different regulator (one which had an output of 11" water column); hooked it up; and the kiln still wouldn't fire correctly.The altitude here is rather high. The kiln needed a smaller oriface. These orifaces are now in the mail and should arrive the beginning of the week.

More waiting . . . .

However, not all of the week was lost. When my son visited, he made the most awesome suggestion. I am so tickled, i could jump up and down and do a Grandma Clampett in the air.

To preface the importance of his observations and advise, i should mention here that i have more than a dozen "face" cups sitting, fully bisqued, and waiting for a glaze firing. However, glazes are not my area of expertise and i have ruined more than a few pieces in my attempts to mix silica, alumina and fluxes in some semblance of a working glaze. That situation is nearly solved.

Think the answer to "clay fit" has a lot to do with the coefficient of expansion. The glaze recipes which have a COE somewhere's in the 5's seem to fit the clay i use. At least, at this point in time, i am willing to believe that.

Still . . . if . . . one can master glaze color, other than the usual greens [chrome] and blues [cobalt] - ( and i'm getting pretty cocky here as i've recently accomplished both yellow and lavender) -- how exactly would one color the face? Blend it in with the whole as a unified color? Somehow, a green face seems much too altroidian. Or glaze the rest of the cup, then give it a third firing with majolica-type glaze colors? And what, exactly, would be the technique to accomplish this?

My son's suggestion was so obvious that i wondered why, in eleven months, i hadn't thought of it myself. Since my clay bisques to a buff-color (which is nearly the face color of an invalid ) why not put a wax resist over the face, glaze the rest and really go for an "artistic expression of pure humanity"?

Darn if he's not clever!

Walked me right out of the doldrums of frustration about the gas kiln's operational delay. And since the electric kiln fires the lavender just fine, can hardly wait to try out this new experiment.

Ah sure now and it's time to get to work. The clay's waiting, the wheel's spinning, the electric kiln's bisquing and the little dog is looking at me expectantly.

Happy mudding, folks.


Interesting Info

Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Transferred from Spritely Spoofs

Found this info at:

Quick tip for cracked greenware from the Summer 2006 Newsletter:
Magic Water: to a 1 gallon jug of water add 3 TBS Sodium Silicate and 5 grams soda ash. Use the water to create a strong joint with broken pieces, handles, etc. -Submitted by Richard Barker

Glass Fused to Pottery:
Glass should be fired in two stages.
First a fuse fire to blend the colors together into a flat piece. For a fuse fire (remember this works for Bullseye. Other brands may be different.) Adding clay means at least one more step to bisquefire the clay.
Fuse Fire the Glass Room temp to 1100 at 400 degrees an hour
1100-1300 at 250 degrees an hour
1300-1480 as fast as possible then hold 10 minutes
1480 to 950 as fast as possible (Flash vent is best)
950 -750 at 150 degrees per hour.
Let kiln cool naturally to room temp before opening (Okay 200 degrees if you are impatient like me.)
Prepare the clay piece. I have been doing a bisque fire to 06 then saggar fire to color the piece. The saggar fire colors are not harmed by the slump fire for the glass.
Slump Fire the Glass
Place the fused glass on the pottery inside the kiln. Use a release agent if you want to remove the glass after firing then attach with glue, or other methods. However, it does not stick well even without any release agent.
Room temp to 1100 degrees at 400 degrees per hour
1100-1300 as fast as possible hold for 5-20 minutes until the glass slumps (keep an eye on it through the peep)
1300-950 flash vent to stop the slump
950-750 at 150 degrees per hour
750 down, allow kiln to cool naturally.
Give it a try. -Dawn

Haven't tried these techniques myself yet, but the information is posted by pottery teachers so thought it would be reliable.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Transferred from Spritely Spoofs

One never realizes how much one's been fighting until there's no resistance.

My clay order from Kickwheel Pottery near Atlanta arrived yesterday. Couldn't mess with it then for the propane tank fellow was spoze to arrive shortly to deliver a large tank for the gas kiln. It was a toss-up which interested me more -- the tank or the new clay.


Today, starting with a chunk of it on the wheel. OOOOO-EEEEE !!!! I am so pleased with this clay. It's #271 and throws like a dream.When i began working with clay, a year ago (almost), had no clue how different clays responded. And being a loyal customer to companies providing good and fast service, saw no reason to switch from my current pottery supplier. Except, after i'd eliminated all other possible errors, it dawned on me that perhaps the clay was the culprit -- sometimes it worked well and pieces came out and sometimes -- it didn't.

Haven't bisque nor glost fired this clay yet, so don't know how it will hold up under fire -- but if its throwing compatibility is any indication of its firing capacity -- it should do very well.

Now, of course, there's one wee problem. The supplier, Kickwheel Pottery, is clear across the country and shipping charges nearly did me in on just 50 pounds! Above is another bisqued piece which i haven't had the courage to glost fire (my success rate in glazing is pretty much 30-1) and one successful cup isn't a very good average!

Just Such A Day As This

Sunday, September 30, 2007
Transcribed from Spritely Spoofs

. .................................................Wedded Bliss.....................................

Onwards and upwards, as Donovan always says. And isn't that the truth of it.
The kilns and the potters wheel arrived.
Learned how to program the digital controller. Mostly.
Haven't worked with the gas kiln yet. Am anxious to try it out.
In fact, haven't done much a'tall this past week, except to throw two purely-poor pieces.
Even after all these years, the pain of my husband's death plummets me into the void of depression. I thought this year, to tippy-toe past it. But no. One day last week, the sunlight filtered across my worktable in oh .... just such a way .... and my spirit flew into utter and abject desire for annihilation. But it's ok. Today is Sept. 30th and we have survived the day.
My sons, my wonderful sons, helped me tremendously. They built a kiln room and there reposits the gas beasti waiting for me to take my courage in hand and glost fire the ever accumulating pieces waiting for reduction firing.
The piece above is a case in point. I think had Pat lived, we would resemble this couple. Bonded in the cup of life, sipping the joys of unity.

Small Breather

Friday, September 07, 2007
Transfered from Spritely Spoofs

---------------------Teapot Riding The Wind---------------

Have been nose-to-heelbone concentrated on creating pottery for the last nine months. Thought this would be an easy endeavor. Possibly a rather inexpensive one. A body can go outside and dig up clay pretty darn cheap, don'cha know.
At first, i stuck by my pistols. Had a small kiln from previous glass-working endeavors. (Very small, as i was soon to discover.) Found a child's wheel at the local thrift. $4 bucks. Invested fourteen dollars in clay. o.k. -- that's not exactly digging it up free. Still, fourteen bucks doesn't need corporate funding, and i figured time is money. Sides, would i recognize clay (in/on) the ground if my boots were stuck in it?
So! We're set. Ready to throw a few cups (anything bigger than that won't fit in the kiln), fire thems puppies, and hike down to the local art gallery to sell these confabulous new creations . . . .

First obstacle . . . centering clay on the wheel.
Hours spent online researching just how that's done. Took a spendy little seminar to learn how this is accomplished.
Second obstacle . . . what in the dickens is a glaze? I mean, one mixes all these chemicals together and purportedly creats a glaze which fires at a certain temperature. Doesn't the Universe know -- the only subject i ever failed was chemistry? What a learning curve. Cones, melting points, chems which lower the melting point of other chems. Whew. It's exhausting just thinking about all that stuff. Not to mention, that i was hip-deep in floating dust particles from mixing all those chemicals when i discovered some of them are fatal to one's continued life expectancy!
Now stuff like silica is cheap. Roughly, $1.95/ pound. But, dozens of chemicals (to make the glaze work), gets a little spendy.
Third obstacle . . . firing these perfect art pieces. Ought-a be a book title. "Into the kiln fire and coming out shards."
Oi Vay.
My inexpensive new career pursuit has turned into a spendy proposition. Shush! Don't share this with anyone but i just ordered a new kiln and a big fella's pottery wheel. Am really excited about this. Can hardly wait for them to arrive FedEx.
Well folks. That's why you haven't heard from me in a day or two. They say slinging mud is fun but don't ever let anyone convince you it's cheap!