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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New Pursuit

x XX

Above are 2 pixs of a recently finished (greenware) bent-backed pitcher. Had a lot of fun designing the handle. Then as it was drying, realized that if the handle survives the bisque fire, there's going to be a heck of a challenge glazing it !!!

Have been studying glazes. Glazes. More Glazes.

Going thru my records and checking them off. Yep! Tried that combination - didn't work out as orange. Nope! That one won't work for turquoise.
There's quite a list of cobalt and/or copper recipes which didn't produce turquoise.
Quite a few of titantium, antimony, rutile, etc. which didn't produce orange.
Before more chem dust was created, i thought i'd hit the books for a while and see if there was a solution that had been overlooked.

In my research yesterday, came across crystals again. Have been intrigued with them for a long time and Robin Hopper's "The Ceramic Spectrum" piqued my interest to the point where i thought i just had to try it now!
Today fired a piece with a "crystal base" including a lot of titanium. It's a lead frit base with Frit 3110 added and 10% feldspar.

Was that worried about working with the lead frit that i wore a big ole respirator mask and rubber gloves. Unfortunately, the respirator not only blocked the dust, it blocked logic as well. And the rubber gloves messed around with the calculator in an adverse way causing it to tell me that one fourth of 10 was 0.25.
Normally, i would-a caught that error. But the respirator interfered. Blocks rational thought, you know.

After applying the glaze and putting the pot in the kiln, went into the pottery room to see if there was additional info in "The Potter's Dictionary" by Hamer.
Sure enough there was.
A key element in his info was that for those beautiful large crystals, double axe-heads, a lot of zinc is needed.
By that time, i'd realized my error in computing the Custer and after reading Hamer thought i could kill 2 birds with one stone, so to speak.
Retrieved the pot from the kiln, and added an overglaze with a lot of zinc and 2.5% Custer feldspar.

Do i have high hopes and great expectations for a magical outcome?
Ahhhh ...........
Not exactly.
But maybe the results will be interesting? We'll have to wait til 1pm or so tomorrow to see.

One of those serendipitous coincidences happened today ...... kind-a makes one scratch their head and wonder at the kiln fairies.
My kiln which has been giving me great difficulties on simple programming (and no i haven't yet mentioned it to the retailer nor the manufacturer) xx today, went thru a complicated and convoluted program - without a hitch!
Not even a hiccup.
Nor a burp!
Just muddled right thru the whole process without batting a thermocoupler.
I, on the other hand, was a nervous wreck.
Happy crystal days

Saturday, April 26, 2008

It's Coming Along

Albeit - slowly.
But it is coming along!
Today found a bookcase at the thrift store.
$2.00! (You can't beat that with a stick.)
Now most people put books in bookshelves.
Not me !
Saw this as a perfect opportunity to organize.
All my little dabs of mixed glazes (those which work) are now stashed in categories. Blue, green, etc. And my chems are in alphabetical order !!!


Remember this bowl ? xxxx
My first attempt ever to add slip to greenware?
Finally! The results are in: xxx Raw fired it to 2167 degrees F.
And am actually kind-a enthralled with it. May even become a slip aficionado. It was easy, fast, and can be raw fired!
Now we come to a favorite cup. Out of the kiln on Tuesday after Monday's firing. It's a Rodger's Chrome-Tin Purple Glaze with a Rhodes' #15 sprayed over it.
When one holds it up no further than one nose-length away, all the little characters can be seen. The Asian bamboo hut, the dragon swimming the channel and the old Chinese man sitting on the mountain top watching the dragon.
Happy slipping folks

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Off The Hump

Was so tickled with this endeavor, i just had to share!
xxx Threw this "on the hump" and had a lot of fun with it.
Am not sure the photos show the "balance" of the piece - in actuality, it appears as it it will topple at any minute, yet it's very stable !!! xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
And very "sensuous" too! After it dried, sat looking at it for ever so long. From every angle it, appears to be a torso in motion! (Use your imaginations here!)
Haven't a clue what to name it!
Nor what colors would really make it stand out uniquely . . . .
Any ideas on what glaze schematics would work best ????
Here's to happy creative days

Friday, April 11, 2008

Quick Question

How many of you enjoy throwing "off the hump" more than other methods?
And if you are throwing off the hump - do you find your work is more creative than when you throw from the bat upwards?

Just wondering . . . .

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Flowers N Slip

There ought-a be a play on words with the above title. And i'd play with it too, ceptin' my mind's tired and there's still a lot of studying to do tonight. Also hope to throw a couple more pots.

The flower arrangement consists of the flowers bought at Michael's. This is but a temporary visual for truly, they were purchased as glazing aids. Just couldn't resist taking a photo of them while they exist in this arrangement.

Last night, for the first time in 2 years, tried slip glazing. Have read about it before, but must admit, was so busy trying to learn everything else, paid scant attention to this aspect of pottery.

It was fun!


Now let's keep our fingers crossed that my configurations were correct and that it glazes out well. This is all new territory for me and there's many a slip betwixt thought and the kiln.
Here's to new glazing adventures

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Thought i'd post some shots of greenware before the bisque and glaze firing!


Last Friday, my daughter and i went to Idaho Falls which is an all day trip. Funny, how when a "routine" is altered, it later takes several days to get back into the swing of things. However, the trip was most productive!

Have been in the cobalt slumps for a couple of months recently. The fresh air and change of venue, by itself, would have cheered me up!
Walked into Michael's on a whim.
And my old creative spirit jumped into action. Amazing! It was like an old friend who i haven't seen for quite some time came to visit. My "friend" arrived in the silk flowers aisle.

As you know, glazing isn't only a matter of getting oxides together in the right combination to achieve a specific color, but is also having a decorative idea when the right color is achieved. So far, my decorative ideas haven't translated well to pottery. While detailed Chinese pottery fascinates me, it isn't a technique i wish (at this time) to acquire. Would rather accomplish an impressionistic style. Not a hodgepodge of jumble-ization. Rather an impression of say, a field of flowers.
And here were all these silk flowers.
One could dip these into glaze! Apply a "design" to pots.
Produce the impression of Spring! Totally ignore the two feet of snow still remaining on the ground outside!
Creative child went wild. Bought so many flowers that the car's trunk overflowed.
Joyous enterprize.

Next, we stopped at Barnes & Noble. Told my daughter we'd only be there for a moment. Two books were on my list and it wouldn't take long to find and buy them.
However, B&N had a whole shelf of pottery books.
Another aisle contained art design.
Located books on Japanese Ink Painting in another aisle.
And further along discovered Celtic Patterns.
It was only a few hours later when we left B&N.
Headed for the car. Trying to find space for the books. No room in the trunk. It was full of flowers! And so, we filled the back seat with the books.
Joyous experience.

Thought i'd done enough "shopping" for the day, so tagged along with my daughter in her endeavors. Which led us into a store not normally on any of my agendas. A sports equipment store.
What a mistake! x If not spending any more money was the object, i should-a waited outside! x But then, the likelihood of me spending money in a sports store was highly improbable. Until we walked past the outdoor smoker's aisle and creative child sprung into action.
A meat smoker would produce a reduction atmosphere, wouldn't it? If it uses wood chips, then conceivably one could burn a fire in it. . . . Or douse the environment with salt (which i've been dying to try) for those beautiful salt glazings.
And ok. A full-blown fire in an electric smoker might cause a bit of a problem, but surely there are gas smokers? While trying to locate the gas variety, stocked the cart with wood chips and sawdust.
Found sausage stuffers. Another ah-ha! moment . . . .
Need a pugmill. And i'll bet this will work perfectly.
The clerk, Joel, who came to help me clean up the mess scattered all over the floor, entered willingly into the illusion that we had entered another realm. He was now working in a pottery supply store instead of the sports equipment enterprize in which he normally functioned. Joel had imagination and together we had a merry old time!
But it cost me a bundle of money . . . .
It's actually a financial blessing that Id. Falls is too far away to traipse to on a daily basis. This once a year adventure was a pocketbook buster.

Ah sure now an' we're home.
And you know what i've been doing.
. . . . . . Arranging flowers.
. . . . . . . . . . Reading books.
. . . . . Stuffing clay into sausage stuffers.
. . . . . . . . . Practicing Japanese ink spots
. . . . . . . Adapting Celtic designs to fit pottery motifs

Yep! It's hard to get back into the swing of a routine after such an adventure . . . .
Here's to imaginative days when our creative child plays

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Still Experimenting

Am still fooling around with glaze calculation and experiments.
All of which have turned out too poorly to share.

Have thrown a few pots.

Been fighting the kiln trying to "be there" the exact moment it's going to quit so it can be restarted immediately with as little down-time as possible. (Boy! This is exhausting.)

Tried out the method of sandwiching 2 different-colored clays together, rolling them flat and using the created design. This was kind-a fun and i'll comment further after they dry enough to bisque fire. Have a hunch the (really pretty) "red" design is gonna come out - brown!

Signing off with great expectations for tomorrow's glaze firing