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Saturday, October 27, 2007

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.


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