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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New Pursuit

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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


Sister Creek Potter said...

Hi, Chae, You are really very adventursome! Me, I tote the line--wish some of your confidence and curiosity would brush off on me!
I would not expect to have trouble with a lead FRIT. I thought all the lead was safely tucked away in those frits.
I once put 8% chrome oxide in a glaze instead of the .8% called for. The result is my favorite green glaze (instead of burgundy the recipe was for!)
Cheers, Gay

chaetoons said...

Mornin' Gay !!!
You hit the nail right on the head - curiosity has always been my downfall. I've always wanted to know the results of the "what if's" - especially if the topic interested me.
This has gotten me into a lot of "iffy" situations in life and i've become a lot less adventursome in my old age than i was in my youth !
On the frit. That's just it - i don't know.
From all the books i've studied the prevailing attitude is: the lead is neutralized in the frit.
However, there are those few who think and/or write that lead is "dangerously toxic" in any form. I would like to think they are just "nervous nellies" but what if they're right?
And it didn't help that Hopper in Ceramic Spectrum stresses that each chem we use is TOXIC !!! In big, black capital letters! The information in his book is valuable but his insistence on stressing in nearly every other line that all is TOXIC really played havoc with my subconscious!
Have a greatest day!

Natalie -- NKP Designs said...

No no no, curiosity is an UPfall! Wonderful adventures you are having, too. I can't wait to see this piece glazed. Will check back ....

chaetoons said...

Am trying to get the photos off-loaded from my camera to computor. This is an extremely frustrating procedure as only 2-3 photos off load before the computor shuts itself off!
Wish i could get my other computor up and running . . .