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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 . . . .