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Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Ah Ha !!! Temperatures have stayed above 25°F Monday, Tuesday and today! Can't beat that with a stick. Up each morning at 5am to run the kiln while the temps are moderate. Monday and Tuesday fired bisque loads. Today, there's a casserole dish glazing in the kiln.
For the last 3 years, have brought the New Year's in with a new piece of pottery glazed and fired on New Year's Eve. It seemed imperative to do the same this year too. I hope and pray that by starting the New Year's with a new creation, it will prod the new year into producing only nourishing, peaceful, joyous and loving experiences for ALL. If i could, i would mandate peace, love, joy and nourishment for everyone in the world!

Wishing everyone a year of peace, happiness and good cheer!


xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Happy New Year's To All
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Chae

Monday, December 29, 2008

Stacking the Kiln

It's always much easier to stack the kiln with greenware in the evening than to restack it exactly the same way the next morning at 6am.
For one thing - the evening before - you're awake! Your mind is clicking right along and computes space wondrously. Ah yes ..... that piece will exactly fit in that small cubbyhole between the cup handle and that funny shaped bowl with a half-inch margin between the side walls to boot.
The next morning your mind is fogged over and the ceiling of your attention is very low. It's like trying to re-assemble a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle.
It would be really nice to be able to leave the pieces in the kiln once they were stacked. But the garage gets much too cold overnight. The temperature differentiation between frozen greenware and applied heat would cause all kinds of unwanted fissures.
And even though, when you removed the pieces from the kiln the evening before and stacked them on the kitchen counter in the exact same configuration . . . .
Well, the next morning - garbed in fleece-lined winter boots, an Alaska parka and woolen mittens - it seems like an impossible fit.

The weatherman promised 39 degrees today. I hope he's right. For at that temperature the house heat will take the chill off the garage. Of course, with the door open between the house and the garage, it makes the kitchen, dining area and living room a wee bit chilly.
I have the bird here in the computor room so he won't expire due to the cold draft.
But i sure am worried about that funny shaped piece which fit in the kiln so well last night. This morning it wouldn't co-operate at all. So! It's in a rather precarious position.
Happy stacking days to y'all.

Friday, December 26, 2008

An Undersight

There's no language barrier in graphic arts and design, right?
I mean -- pictures are pictures. And in theory should speak for themselves.
Was checking out some Czech Republic design magazines hoping to discover current art trends in various parts of Europe. Found a magazine featuring individual art forms.
So far, so good.
Until i came across one that was far more interesting than all the others.
Now - there are many words in different languages that remain remarkably the same or very similar to English. Details is one such word. Clicked the details button.
Another screen came up with plenty of details.
All written in Czechoslovakian.

Count down days til the New Year. Hope y'all had the merriest of Christmas'

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

xxx Here's hopin' that y'all have

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxx The Merriest xx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Happiest
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxMost Magical
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Christmas
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Ever
xxxx xxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Chae

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Scripting Tool


For those who are doing decal transfers onto pottery and who are not particularly adept at calligraphy is quite a lovely find.

This site has neat stencils but the real treasure is a tool which allows the user to type in a phrase, choose the font and size, then use the mock up of it.
It's quick and easy.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sensory Perceptions

I found the neatest site. But first let me ask you:
If you were given this assignment: "Make sure you address the issues from a designer's perspective. Don't focus on too many technical details. Be sure to include the important factors of color, the visual effects that can be created and the impact a given product can bring ... and … oh and don't forget to add texture indicative of the product, again especially from a designer's perspective."
What piece of pottery would you design?
And too, what special textural effects would you apply?
Now let's even go a step further with this assignment. Our definition of texture is: something composed of closely interwoven elements which define the essential part (substance) or quality (character) of the object and has visual or tactile surface characteristics.
Objective tactile qualities can go beyond geometry: warm – cold, hard – soft, moist – dry, sticky – non-sticky, which are all distinctions that people recognize in texture, to the emotional dimension which describes subjective impressions such as "pairs like comfortable – uncomfortable, lively – dull, elegant – ugly, modern – traditional. Textures which suggest extremes of a particular quality and therefore create a range between those extremes such as descriptive opposites like plain – bumpy, regular – irregular, repetitive – non-repetitive, and line-scattered – dot-scattered.
Or textures which are feathery, honeycomb-like, oily, silky.
With this in mind how would you create the the texture of a clinging, slightly damp, elastic yet silky feel of the inner skin of an onion ?
Because texture matters shouldn't we incorporate as many tactile sensations into our pottery creations as we can gracefully manage in one piece?
And the neatest site? Why it's all about textures, of course. offers scads and scads of visual textural images to help stimulate our tactile perceptions.
Happy texturing folks

Winter Activities

Wouldn't it be fun to join the group who practises Tango dancing in the train stations in Berlin?
The article caught my imagination!
Feedback please. Are Americans too socially inhibited to enjoy such sport?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Alarm Clocks

Ah . . . Isn't it amazing that if you set an alarm clock for say 6am, you can easily wake up an hour before it goes off? Consistently. With no problem. Awake and alert. An hour before it's necessary . . . to be awake.
Happened this morning, of course. Figured since it was only going to be a bisque firing, it wasn't absolutely necessary to start it before 6am.
Woke at 5:04am just as if i had programmed myself instead of the kiln!
Happy days

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Decal Results

OK !!! The moment my eyes opened this morning, raced out to the kiln to see the results. And here they are.
The image is intact with not, perhaps, as much detail as it had before firing. The line drawing between the photographs basically faded away.
Was trying to get a "straight line" when i applied the Hanovia Gold. Put masking tape over the decal. Discovered that the masking tape will remove parts of the decal ... (before it's fired). And i think the black smudges near the top are from the glue of the masking tape mixed with the iron oxide??? Sadly, the "line" isn't straight either !!! But the gold looks purty!

While the white area below the decal looked perfectly white before it was refired, evidently the iron oxide from the decal transferred my fingerprints to this area as i smoothed the decal while applying it! I swear these were invisible when the cup was placed in the kiln.

Was so enamored with the decal process that i put some on this iridescence(dized) cup kilned in July. Actually like the black better than the sepia tones. So will check out further ways to stabilize these decals.

Have the greatest decaling days


Monday, December 8, 2008

Sepia in the Making?

Wasn't up at the crack of dawn as i'd planned to be. So the cup was late to the kilning.
Did apply the gold rimming yesterday. Luckily Hanovia's Liquid Brite Gold and decals fire to the same temp.
Keeping my fingers crossed that i've done the "computing" right and the cup will turn out "perfectly" !!!

Friday, December 5, 2008


Spoke with the decal company this morning and Yes! This type of decal can be fired in a kiln.
And . . . . . .
Yes! the color will change to sepia.
Will fire on Monday and post updated photo of the final effects then.
Happy Decal days to each and all

Thursday, December 4, 2008


This is all Cynthia Guajardo's fault.
She piqued my interest last year when she began exploring the area of art transfers to pottery.
At that time, i was heavily into exploring glaze composition and fuming.
Though i noted the information (re: art transfers) she provides on her blog: Colorado Art Studio ( ) i did not, then, pursue the topic.

In the past however, whenever i have found myself in the throes of sheer depression, the method which worked best for me to whup that ole melancholic despair into a semblance of balance was to deliberately choose a difficult, new and challenging endeavor to learn.
Thus, it seemed like a really good time to explore art transfers.
Not any ole transfers, mind you, but specifically photographic images transmitted to clay.

The challenge of this technique is to find enough information to perform the task. If all the time devoted to locating information on this subject was tracked, i'll betcha i could have won a marathon!
First. All transfer materials are not created equal. It took me a while to realize that there are transparency films, plain paper transfers and decals.
Secondly. There are little quirks inherent to each of these that add to the confusion.
Third. The products that accompany the process differ. Some use Golden Matte Gel as a medium; others use turpentine; some use Clear Acrylic Sealer; others use acetone; while some use regular household rubbing alcohol sprayed on the target surfaces.
Plus, of course, there are inkjet printers and laser printers. The inkjet printers come in two breeds: dye-based inks and pigment-based inks. Lasers use toner which usually use iron oxide to accomplish their black print.
And the methods vary. A few people apply images to pre-glazed pieces while others transfer the images to wet clay. But most people involved in transferring images are:
Fabric Folk
And we potters are truly not kin in their material world.

OK - here is where we currently stand.
Tried the 3M transparency film (laser). This technique needs a heck of a lot more exploration in order to make it work.

Today's attempt: printed a laser image on decal paper and applied it to a pre-glazed cup. My ultimate aim was to transfer the decal to the cup, then fire it in the kiln which as i understood the process would leave a nice sepia toned image. (Intended to add a neat strip of gold luster to the rim and clean up the messy application of the red glaze job at that time too.) Midway during the process, however, realised that the glue side of the decal attaches itself to the surface. Not the image side. Also discovered that the decal was extremely fragile and shreds at the slightest provocation. To boot, i have a hunch i ordered the wrong decal paper so am in a real quandry - to kiln-fire or to not re-fire at all.

Now i want-cha to know -- i'm truly not as egotistical as the image appears! Wanted to create a composite image of the whole family (which would have filled the space nicely) but only had up-to-date photos of Will (who is stationed in Germany) and myself. The cup is a Christmas present and has to get in the mail (how long does it take a package to arrive in Germany?) so it pictures just he and i repeatedly around the circumference of the cup.
Al least this much of the project is done.
Don't have a clue how much further to go to carry it to completion.

If anyone has accomplished this pursuit successfully, i'd sure appreciate a long post with details on exactly how you've managed it. I'll truly give you kudos as being an intelligent genius.
Happy and Creative image-transferring days to y'all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Say! I'm not sure whether anyone has mentioned it recently, but Carole Epp provides a valuable service on her blog, Musing About Mud .

She posts interesting ceramic related events, calls for submissions, exhibitions, etc. She also posts job-position openings for potters!

Her site is definately worth visiting regularly.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Haven't been at the wheel much these past few months. There's very little incentive to create when the pieces can't be carried through to completion.
Still . . . haven't been entirely idle.
x xxx
Happy Days Everyone. The sun is shining here !!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

November Bowl

After 9 months, Paragon Kiln Company finally decided to help "fix" the kiln situation !!!
A brief history: the kiln was brand new, straight out of the box, last October when it was first plugged into a dedicated circuit. It worked properly for a couple of months.
But ........
3 months later, the kiln (with a digital programmer) fought for its life to reach a temp of 2167°F usually stalling out with a "fail" notice around the temp of 2144°F. (The kiln is rated to temps of 2300°F.)
So! i called Paragon and emailed and called. Finally, a month-and-a-half ago they got back to me.
My goodness!!! xx I've never run into a company before that has such a multitudinal stockpile of excuses!!! xxx Most of them pertained to electricity.
They tried to tell me old houses won't carry a 110/120 volt load.
I replied: this is a brand new house .........
They tried to tell me that the plug-in receptacle was too far from the breaker box.
I replied: The receptacle is 20 inches below the box.
They tried to tell me about "power surges" and that you couldn't expect the kiln to function if everyone in the neighborhood turned their electric appliances, etc. on all at once.
I replied: Not too many people use their electricity between the hours of midnight and 6am.
You get the picture: a lot of excuses . . . .
The result? They sent me a "control board" for the programmer which arrived Friday. All i had to do was install it. I would-a been more grateful if they had included directions !!! Like: exactly how does one accomplish this?
You can't imagine the fear level i had managed to scare myself with. After all, the kiln functioned minimally as it was. If i did this installation wrong -- would it work at all?
OK. Screwing my courage to the maximum, i started dis-assembling the existing control board. And much to my amazement, the procedure was as simple as sin. It's a plug-in connector assembly much like attaching computor cables to the back of a tower.
Whew! I could do this.
That was Friday. Didn't sleep much that night in anticipation of firing first thing Saturday morning. Up at 6am and kiln started by 6:03am. Checked that puppy every 15 minutes throughout the day.
It fired 100 degrees (per hour/segment) lower than "normal", but hey! what the heck. If it worked, i'd not complain.
However, it didn't wait til 2144°F to fail. Shut itself off around 2123°F. Restarted it. It hung up at 2142°F. Restarted it. It quit several more times but finally reached 2167°F at 1:06am.
Boy! That was a long day. Just 5 hours short of 24 hours!
It's actually a pretty little bowl, but i'm not sure it's worth the 19 kiln-hours it took to produce it !!!
May all your firings be easy and short!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wot's Hoppining to the World of Clay?

Google the phrase: "transferring images to clay" and you will find ( i stopped after 4 pages) scads of links to: "transferring images to Polymer (Sculpty, etc) clay".
There's gotta be something slightly askew with our modern culture when "clay" translates to "polymer" !!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

YES !!!

America redeemed.
In the eyes of its citizens.
In the eyes of the world.
Have a glorious day!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


That is
If you haven't already . . . .

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Still Trying

If nothing i say makes much sense today, i have a valid excuse.
Started firing the electric kiln at midnight last night in hopes that the technician's new approach to the digital programming would work.
Since the kiln never misfires in the lower temps, thought it would be ok to start it at midnight, sleep through the lower firing range and check it around 7am this morning when in theory it should have reached 1200 degrees F.
However, woke up every hour on the hour to run out to the garage to check the kiln. Couldn't get into a deep sleep and at one point, sat up and watched the stars twinkle thru the windowpane from 2:55am til 4:20am.
At 11:29am temps have reach 1959 degrees F so the verdict is still out as to whether the kiln will reach the programmed temp of 2200 degrees F.

In the meantime, yesterday for no reason at all, the phrase: "art design and visual thinking" just popped into my head.
Googled it.
Have only explored 2 pages of the results but find the information most interesting. Evidently, there is a whole school of theory on visual thinking !!!
Will try and import here some information from one of the many sites Google came up with. The site is:
Some info quoted from this site:
Flexibility: A universal condition that fosters productive thinking by allowing the individual to be very responsive to change and adaption of new methods and forms without doing damage to the original goal or vision. Flexible thinking is characterized by easy access to subconscious as well as conscious levels of thinking. The flexible visual thinker should be proficient in a variety of mental operations and be able to move freely from one operation to another with a free choice of vehicles (such as media, style, subject matter, type of configuration, etc.).
The fact that whoever the artist is was transposing the imagery of a clothespin intrigued me.

Fluency: The freely flowing and seemingly effortless expression of visual thinking through an observable behavior; production of a large quantity of potentially useful responses.
Randomness: Any strategy activity where specific conscious purpose, organization or structure is minimized in order to allow the artist to discover new patterns to which he or she may respond in a unique manner; haphazard appearance to behavior.
Reflectivity: is the mental skill of giving careful consideration to visual configurations which are already present in perception. Distinguishing between this quality and the more usual tendency to verbalize and rationalize unformed ideas, present only as mental states, is vital to the development of an effective visual thinker.
This is just the tip of the iceberg!
Will research further, but for now have to run to the other end of the house and out to the garage to check on the kiln . . . .
Have a happily "awake" day!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Slight Detour

Livingrooms come in large, small, rectangular, square, lotza windows and bright, few windows and dark, well-lighted and cheerful at night, dimly lit and having an aura of a rendezvous. Some livingrooms are circular, loaded with plate glass and designed mainly as party salons anticipating a crowd. The old concept of livingrooms being "a parlor" full of horsehair chairs and kept in pristine cleanliness to host a straight-backed society visitor has long flown the coop of modern conventionality.
Pole lamps are most usually metal affairs with plastic shades over bare bulbs.
Now pole lamps with plastic shades have absolutely no excuse, none whatsoever, to ever find themselves in a livingroom. It just isn't done. They, by the force of their personalities, should be regulated to the children's playroom or a utilitarian workship.

So you can understand my dilemma when i moved the wheel into the livingroom. I like to work at night, throwing pots or trimming out those already thrown, and light is an absolute necessity.

The designer of this house threw the layout all over the neighborhood. One has to walk a country mile to travel from the livingroom to the master bedroom; the spaces between rooms are cold, austere, harsh and no amount of lighting is going to make these spaces, these rooms, warm and fuzzy like a downy bathrobe on a cold morning.
I used up my large supply of lamps in pursuit of warm and cozy. It just wasn't going to happen.
The livingroom is large and rectangular. Beige walls reflect light so it needs but a few standard lamps to illuminate the space if not with character, at least, with enough brightness to take the edge off of dismally dark. Which is a good thing for with all my lamps designated to the other rooms, my supply of lighting fixtures was now, suddenly, limited.

All this is to say, when the wheel was moved into the livingroom, i needed another lamp. And the only one left was . . . .
Yep! You guessed it. A metal pole lamp with plastic shades.
Now. Creating lampshades has never been high on my list of priorities. Not an accomplishment i wished to undertake. However, as they say, necessity is the madonna of fabrication.
For those of you who, like me, have never attempted a lampshade before, here are a few tips. Start with a wire frame. Not being particularly handy with a soldering iron, this step only wasted a couple of days of my time.
Next. If you happen to have some flat raffia laying about, use it to create a frame for the material. This will slide over the metal frame, so it can be attached to the lamp. Next, using a hot-glue gun attach the material to the raffia frame. Slide the raffia and material frame over the metal one and attach to the lamp.
And walla !!! When you are finished, you may not have a front parlor lamp fit for society visitors, but you will have . . . .
one with character.
Have a bright and well-lit night.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


The eBay sale for Obamaware is up and running.

If you haven't checked it out yet,
at ,
there's still one more day of bidding.

There are many talented pottery artists offering once and forever pieces which will never be duplicated.
It's well worth a look-see !!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Spaz Thoughts Not Necessarily In A Formulated Order

Thought just occurred to me: even though you know you are registered to vote in the November elections, check with your local county clerk and make sure you are !!!
I've voted here in Teton county for 4 years, so i paid no attention to this. However, some fribbling sub-thought kept prompting me to call and make sure i was still registered. Seems that because of the move across town which is only a few blocks from where i lived before, i had to re-register!
This election is too important to let such a small detail slide: so! call your county clerk and check it out.
Spent the whole weekend moving furniture.
(Initially) Had originally set up shop in the garage. That didn't work. Too cold. Too dark. No view.
(1st move) Moved the pottery wheel to the "boxy room" where there are windows and morning light. Moved the glazing chems and apparatus to the dining room. No inspiration in this arrangement.
Bought 22 cookbooks ( on sale five for a dollar) and baked up a slew of European pastries.
(2nd move) Moved the glazing chems, etc. to the boxy room and the wheel out to the dining room. Found that the energy of the boxy room will work for detailing pots, adding handles, etc. (haven't tried to glaze in there yet)
BUT -- the dining room is just too dark to throw enlightened pots. Messed up 3 chunks of clay trying to work there.
Read some of the cookbooks. Cooked up a slew of Asian wok recipes and other meat/vegi confabulations including a rather tasty dill sauce for zucchini.
(3rd move) Rearranged the living room furniture and moved the wheel into the living room. We'll see how that works. So far it seems promising.
The profession of furniture moving was never one to pique my interest, however recently, i've become most adept at it. If i applied at an official moving company for the position of furniture mover at least i could get a paycheck! However, with the economy the way it is, it might be pretty slim pickings for i suspect that not that many people are currently moving . . . .

One of Obama's recent statements caught my attention: "Of the 3 people i'd like most to share a meal with -- one would be my grandmother." He went on to say that she recently expressed the sentiment that most people view older folks as ( paraphrasing here) fragile, feeble, decrepit, geriatric.
"But," she said. "Inside I am the same youngster i've always been. I just seem to be housed in a body that's falling apart."
This weekend while moving furniture, i was strongly thinking of Obama's grandmother.

It's my point of view that very modern houses lack character. But, i'm finding that just plainly ain't so. ( Sorry about using Palin's colloquialisms. It really bums me out that she's messing up the genre for the rest of us. Since i have a few years on her, it was mine to use originally. But now, it seems like shades of Palin's false down-homeyness when i do !!!)
Take for instance, the master bathroom's convenience -- latrine, john, can, privy, jerry throne, thunder mug -- call it what you will.
Now, it has character.
Normally, it flushes just fine. All day long. Flip the handle, water goes down, tank re-fills and it shuts off.
Until early the next morning.
Nature calls and afterwards one runs back to bed, jumps under the warm, snuggly covers to study a bit of scripture and write out Thank You's to our Universal Creator for the neat occurrances of the day before. This is a very quiet pursuit. A time of quiet contemplation. Ah . . . let me repeat that . . . quiet contemplation.
This porcelain installation decides to re-fill. Re-fill. It continues to re-fill. And re-fill. It won't shut off.
The sound of trickling water is fine in a water fountain. But somewhat blasphemous from a lavatory first thing in the morning.
But the durn thing has character.
Exactly seven point three minutes after i'm up and dressed, having voiced its opinion of the quality of the coming day, it pipes down, shuts off, and . . . . . . . .
Operates perfectly the rest of the day.
Yep! Modern houses may not have history on their side, but they do have character.

It's a great gray, molten-leaden sky here overlaying the day with the promise of snow. Winter didn't release us from its clutches this year until the first day of summer! And here it is again intruding on our Fall.
So my hat's off to global warming. It sounds like a mighty fine idea that will bring warmer temperatures and the return of the sunshine.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Chicken Bags

This may seem like a moot point
You know those large, heavy duty plastic bags in which they pack the "family-sized" quantity of chicken quarters?
After washing, of course, these make nifty storage bags for clay scraps.
Don't know why but i just thought i'd share that . . . .

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Follow Up

Friday night the kiln reached 2167 degrees F by 9pm. Sweet.
The lavender glaze worked. Lavender where applied thickly. Sky blue where applied thin.
That's: 0.5 Cobalt Carbonate + 2 Tin Oxide + 0.08 Manganese Dioxide
Added to a base of: 19 Custer Spar + 8.5 Gerstley Borate + 11 Silica + 4 Zinc + 4.5 Wollastonite + 3 Talc.
Double these amounts for a total of 100%.
It's a good, mostly glossy, Cone 5/6 base.
Was tickled pink to have configured a Cone 5/6 base glaze that works !!!
Finally achieved lavender!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Short Note

Ha! You thought i was just kidding when i mentioned cracking the books.

Thought i'd mention briefly -- this morning as i was putting the bowl in the kiln, noticed that the section over-glazed with the Arabic Gum/copper carb mixture had completely peeled off overnight !!! It was just "sort-a" resting along the side where the bowl curves inside.
Obviously, there's more to this than just mixing the Arabic Gum with alcohol and oxides. However, with all the pottery books acquired (there's more in the case behind me), not one of them gives a detailed description of the measurements to use when trying this mixture. This technique, "they" say is also good for giving a luster surface in reduction, however, i wanted to see what it would do in oxidation.
It's currently, 1:06pm and temps in the electric kiln are 801 degrees F.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Yesterday morning a miracle happened.

Tom Causey, the Project Manager, of West Pointe Electric Company, located in Victor, Idaho knocked at my door promptly at 9am. A lovely dear man with a sweet heart.

A call to his company on Tuesday evening shortly before 5pm, produced his offer: "Because I'll be in your neighborhood tomorrow morning, I can just drop by and give you a free estimate on installing a dedicated circuit breaker for your kiln."

And Bless Tom Causey -- for didn't he quote me a price i could afford !!! xxx I figure he's straight from God.
Note the recepticle slightly to the right of the kiln !!! xxx
Ain't it beautiful ???
So! Yesterday and today, glazed 2 bowls after spending most of each day cracking the books, hunting for new Cone 6 formulas.
Glazed one with what i hope will be a Copper Red reduction glaze. Yep. Am going to try the gas kiln again. Thought of a new possibility for firing it that may work.
Actually, if it hadn't-a been for Tom Causey inspiring me with new optimism by wiring the circuit breaker for the electric kiln, i wouldn't-a thought of the new system for the gas kiln!

Intriguing isn't it, how when you're bubbling with newly found optimism, ideas just flow!

Glazed the second bowl with a newly configured recipe designed for the electric kiln, hoping to produce a lavender, also applied a Cobalt Carb, Rutile and Vanadium combination which i've wanted to try, and additionally, (on the same bowl) mixed some Gum Arabic (which i've not used before) with alcohol and 1 part Copper Carb plus 5mm of water -- just to see what the results will be.
xxx xxxxxxxxxxxx
OK. If it's early to rise, i'd best be off to bed. Intend to fire the electric kiln tomorrow.
Am really pretty excited about it!
Happy Kiln Days to Y'All

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Kiln Dilemma

Discovered a bit about electricity over the weekend.
I was standing in front of the electric kiln and my thoughts were: Hmmm . . . how can i make you work?
Or more to the point: Why aren't you working?

OK. Some people talk to their kilns and others do not. Me? I'm a quasi-talker. If there's a possibility of building a harmonious relationship with the mechanical beasti -- i talk, conjole, threaten, plead . . .
If it's an alien from an unknown universe who will never understand the linguistics, silence is the ticket.
Kilns fall somewhere's in the realm of in-between.

Now my Paragon Electric Kiln has done its best to co-operate with me. But, then again, in the other house it had a 20-amp dedicated circuit. That is not the case here.
But i am here and how am i gonna make this thing work?
Knowing that all the garage recepticals are wired to the same circuit, i turned the breaker off to see what else was wired to the same circuit.
Discovered the 2 ceiling lights went off when the breaker was tripped. That's 1.66 amps right there. The kiln draws 19 amps. OK. So we're over the 20 amp breaker limit ! Worse yet, the garage-door opener is wired to the same circuit. It draws 6 amps.
If you consider that a 20-amp wire can carry 20 amps all day long but that the breakers can only carry 80 percent of their rating on a continuous basis (which is a circuit loaded to capacity for 3 hours or more) we now have a reasonable defination of why the Paragon kiln will not reach Cone 6 temperatures in this house on the garage circuit.

Thought maybe if i did the math and transposed everything to watts, i'd get a different answer. But nope. That didn't work either. It just provided a definate answer that this situation, as it is, isn't going to work.
Intriguingly tho, the face-plate on the kiln reads: usage: 19 amps and 2200 watts. Those 2200 watts read out as 18.33 amps when the calculation is applied. What gives with that? The kiln either uses 19 amps or 18.33 amps . . . . but certainly not both as the wattage vs the amperage indicate.
It's a moot point however, for in either case the amount is over the maximum load of the circuit.

Ah sure now, it's back to the drawing board. But in this house -- i'm gonna have to find the drawing board before i can make furthering calculations . . . .

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I'm afraid that all is lost for Obama!
Last night the pundits started labeling Palin as someone they could sit down in the back yard with and have a beer.
Exactly the same description they gave Bush and look what happened . . . .
Wish Obama would lead from the gut and share emotions. Get his audience involved. A joke or two wouldn't hurt his case at all. Most voters are not Harvard graduates (remember -- many are illiterate) and his high falutin ideas go right over their heads.
Of course, you and i would elect him because of his intelligence and ideas; but then again as seen in the Bush/Gore, Bush/Kerry campaigns -- 51% of the American voters see themselves as the "average Joe" with beer being the beverage of choice rather than champagne.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Creating In A Vacuum

Just can't be done.
That is
Creating in a vacuum
Is a task unmöglich
Which is why all of Monday was spent moving my glaze application chems, tables, etc. from the garage to the dining room. Glancing to the right, the view from the living room windows is visible . . . .
Intended to fire the gas kiln on the morrow and just see what could be accomplished. Sadly, after lifting, carrying and moving all this stuff, was too tired to compute new glazes ( those already made up in bits + dabs are for cone 04-06).
Sooo! Decided to use the commercial Coyotte cone 6 glazes i have on hand.
Tuesday, shortly after the kiln was fired, an opportunity arose to ride along to Idaho Falls which is an hour's drive away but somehow takes an entire day to accomplish! The opportunity was too great to pass up because a 33-ounce size of Yuban coffee there costs $4.00. Here, the same item costs $12.99. (That's practically a $100.oo savings if you buy 10 cans!) And though it's only September, am stocking up supplies for the winter months when the roads close and we are marooned.
However, first thing yesterday morning was up with the dawn and firing the gas kiln. My feet hit the floor running the moment my eyes opened as i raced to the garage to light the pilot-bar. Usually, for some unknown reason, my mind does not compute well when it first surfaces from a deep sleep but yesterday it did pretty darn good as the need arose to configure some method of hanging the pyrometer to read the interior kiln temps.
Pretty good improvisation for a 6am inspiration, right?

Sure need to study more about gas kiln firing.
The Olympic manual sent along with the kiln is about as scarce on details as flowers are in the far-north's winter months.
Was under the impression that 2-3 feet above the kiln, the heat dissipated. Which is why i wasn't worried that the ceiling would overheat . . . .
As that kiln, sitting out in the garage ( with the huge garage door open a foot or more and a window opened to boot ) began to heat the whole house (warmest i've been since moving in! ) -- i began to worry about the ceiling! Like: uh-oh, this might have been a miscalculation . . . .
And would you believe ?? with all that heat generated, the kiln never did reach temps over 1950°F !!!
Figured i'd have to wait til 7pm or so tonight to see if the mixing bowl had come out at all. Chances were that it would not. For when the burners fired from the pilot-bar the rate of temperature increased from 100°F to 1225°F within seconds. Much too rapidly to figure out how to adjust them properly. Expected at least a hundred cracks, chinks, fissures; wouldn't have been surprized if the bowl had completely broken, especially when i found this morning that the kiln had completely cooled to the touch overnight.

Georgie's G-Mix 6 with Grog is a miraculous clay.

With all that it went through the bowl emerged from the kiln perfectly whole !!! That's just too awesome to believe.

Of course, the glaze never reached maturity . . . . The chalky lighter areas are just that -- a chalky and powdery consistency of an underfired glaze. What buffaloes me tho is that there are some areas which have a "boiled appearance" as if they got too hot !!! That is partially visible in the photo above, and again here:
Ah well . . . . it's back to the drawing board. Learning how to fire a gas kiln may be a costly proposition, especially now with the price of fuel so high. (Cost of running the electric kiln never did seem like a spendy affair for 17-cents per hour always seemed "affordable".) But, as mentioned before, the contractor who built this house, ran all the garage wiring on the same circuit so the electric kiln won't fire to temperature either . . . .

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Stress Factor

Moving from one place where everything is set up, working and handy, to a new environment always introduces a stress factor.
One can temporize and con oneself with the platitude that the whole world has not caved in upon oneself and that this is -- just different.
But remember . . . .
My Mother knicknamed me: Chicken Little.
As i recall the story it was about a wee chickie who ran around in a panic. "The sky is falling in! The sky is falling in!"
Anyhooo . . . that is my story and i'm sticking to it.
Looks large and roomy, doesn't it?
Indeed, there was space for my wheel, tables, kilns, glaze mixing tables, chem storage shelves and tables for greenware + bisque.
It's an absolutely generic space. No view. With the garage door shut - no light. Cold.
Whoever built the house four years ago, wired the whole garage onto one circuit.
So! Moved the wheel, etc. into a 10' by 12' beige-colored room. I actually paced it off and it really is 10' x 12', altho it seems more like an 8' box with low ceilings.
To a work-a-holic lost time from work is death. The spirit dies, cries a little bit more each day.
Neither kiln was operational.
The weather turned from sunny and warm to cold, gray, rainy and dismal.
And while 37 days is not an eternity, it seemed like one.
ok. That's the half-empty glass.
Here's the half-full.
Yesterday, the gas kiln was hooked up to the propane tank.
Since it's in the attached garage, [last year's] 56-inches of snow between the house and the kiln shed won't prevent me from using it this winter.
( For those of you who, like me, are math challenged, 56-inches equals 4.66 feet !! and -- since i am 5'1" -- the ground-snow was darn near as deep as i am tall! )
Since this is an all electric house -- i won't have to chop/split wood for heat. That, in itself, is a Blessing! (Altho, after 4 years of splitting wood, i had just mastered a technique which made it easier!)
Funny, how after a major move, nothing is where it ought-a be and you have to search like the dickens to find anything. So it may take me a day or so to find my positive attitude but i'm sure it made the move and is merely stored in a box somewheres. Am pretty sure, if i keep searching, i'll find it.
In the meantime, now that one of the kilns is up and running, there's work to do:
As Donovan always says: Onwards and upwards.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Streamly Short

Hey folks!
Have been in the process of moving to a new house which is an extremely chaotic process. Kilns are not hooked up yet (one requires a different plug-in recepticle; the other is a bit more complicated). The garage where i plan to create and fire the pottery is a jumbled mass of boxes and disorder.
Am chewing nails about the lost "down-time" from working!
However, keep tuned. Eventually all will resolve itself.
In the meantime - Happy Pottery Days.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fuming Results

Instead of fuming only with Stannous Chloride, tried Iron Chloride. Pretty neat orangy-red. Now, if this could be controlled and directed to specific areas, the effect could be awesome! xx
Tried to do exactly that with this next piece. Expected the orangy-red to rise in a flame-like design, covering the white.
However, as you can see, that didn't happen.
Discovered a couple of things in this firing:
1.) If the piece is too hot when sprayed, the bismuth subnitrate, turns dirtyish-gray instead of pearlizing!
2.) Spraying Bismuth Subnitrate on a piece during the fuming process will inhibit Stannous Chloride from giving iridescent colors!
So! Back to the drawing board to discover the natural order of applications.
Happy Fuming Days folks

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sunrises and Fairy Fronds
Ain't it a magical world?
If only i could get my pottery to reflect such whimsical beauty !!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

And Sometimes Magic Happens

This bowl started out as a simple experiment.
Used a known quantity. A copper wash which i've had good results with before; know it produces beautiful greens; and know it will irridize awesomely.
The experiment?
To introduce small wood chips into an electric kiln to see if a state of reduction could be achieved which in turn would turn the copper greens to red. Haven't had much luck with the barrel post firings doing this. Thought i'd try alternative methods.
Yep! Am still hunting for those illusive reds. Thought i'd throw some ingredients which are spoze to create lavenders into the pot while i was at it.
Firing #1 was not successful. The lavenders didn't lavender, the greens stubbornly kept their green, and we now had black or murky gray smoked areas. Quite unattractive.

The wood chips burned though !!!

Effort #2: Rescue the bowl. It sure wasn't pretty the way it was.
So! Applied Amaco Burgundy Luster and Duncan Lavender glazes over the smoky grays.
Yep! I know that isn't kosher if you plan on bragging about creating your own glazes. But what the heck. I was tired and this was the third firing. I didn't, after all, want to live with this bowl. Just get it done and in saleable condition.
Had kind-a taken into consideration that the Duncan products vitrify at different temps than the Amaco. But was that worried because both temps were much higher than my home-grown, low-temp glazes that i decided to compromise and fire in a range between the three maturing levels.
In theory -- it coulda worked. You know -- give a little here; lose a schochi there. Not too much in any direction.
However, the kiln elves just didn't see the possibilities from my perspective.

Effort #3: Rescue the bowl. It sure wasn't pretty the way it was.

Ought-a mention that my home-grown, low-temp glazes and washes boiled in the 3rd firing which left zillions of pit-holes. O.k. With our national debt in the trillions, comparatively, the pitholes seemed to be in the zillions. Probably, in actuality, there were only a few hundred thousand or so.
Sanded the heck out of that bowl. Then used a 60-grit paper and sanded some more. The afternoon hours waxed into early evening. Felt unbelievably tired, but then i had been up at 5am to start the kiln!
Probably should have waited to refire until today, eh? When, renewed by sleep, i could attack the problem afresh?
But noooooo. Once having gotten the bit in my teeth, so to speak, wanted to rescue the bowl right then.
Hated to use my good Hanovia gold on this project, but it was the only thing i could think of that might work. The vitrifying temp of the Hanovia is 1261 degrees F. Meanwhile, inside the kiln, temps had dropped to 524 degrees. What's the procedure here? Can a thoroughly cooled piece be re-introduced to an environment sporting those temps?
By 9:45pm, we'd open the kiln, refume the piece (for the 3rd time) and see.

Ah . . . . . more than likely, you don't want to see a hundred pictures of one bowl. Do you?
( "Do you? Do you? Huh? Huh?" said the little dog with his tongue lapping air, ears flapping and tail wagging vigorously.)
OK then, we'll limit it to four. But i have a hundred, doncha know! It's an awesomely magical bowl. Full of the color of varying shades of gold, emeralds and areas of irisdesence. Just awesome.
x xx
xx xxx
Would like to say the camera did it justice, but the bowl's many splendors of gold (it's harder to catch gold on camera than it is to catch irisdescence!) and other visual delights didn't materialize in the photos.
As the bowl is rotated, every angle sparkles with gold highlights !!!
May all your hours turn into golden days with irisdescent highlights