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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

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wash Results

The results of the wash experiments are rather blah.
For example: here is a bowl fired a couple of days ago. It should have been a bloody red on the outside! Used Red Art Clay, Red Iron Oxide and Frit 3110 under a transparent glaze.
On the inside i expected lavender and gold.
The lavender sorta worked; the gold is brown. Used a Manganese + water wash and a Rutile + Frit 3134 Wash respectively.
On this piece used a glaze high in Dolomite and Talc trying for a lavender/purple. Discovered that when high amounts of either are used a stony matte results. And only

vague splotches of lavenders!

See post below for more of the wash results.

Wash Results Continued

Coated one-half of this one with a Potassium Nitrate Wash before applying glaze. Coated the other half with a Rutile/Frit 3134 Wash. Also drew vertical stripes using a Red Iron Oxide wash; applied more stripes using a Red Art, Red Iron Oxide + Frit 3110 Wash.
None of this is visible in the finished cup !!!
Used a simple Lead Bisilicate/Wollastonite/Custer/Potassium Bichromate glaze over the washes which works great at temps of 1750 and 1832 degrees F.
On the outside applied one layer of glaze base (without the potassium bichromate) then brushstroked a heavy layer of Rutile/Frit 3134 Wash on one side and Barium Sulfate/Frit3124 Wash on the other side.
Close up of the colors:
While these are not total disasters, i'm not dancin' a jig over them either. Need to learn a lot more about "washes". It just seems like such a long learning process !!!
Yesterday's "red" wash turned out green. So! It's being refired today. More about that tomorrow . . . .
Great and Happy Wash Days to y'all

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Trying Washes

You'd be surprized at how relatively little info about washes there is in most of the pottery books currently being marketed.
For instance: (1) How does one mix the proportions of water to oxide in a wash? (2) Does one apply thick or thin? (3) Which oxides in a wash will color the overlaying covering glaze what colors? (4) How many washes can be used on top of each other and what will the results be? (5) Can oxides be used in combination in a wash?
Waded through the index's of ten different popular books. No "washes" in the "W's". Tried "Decoration" and Underglaze Colors from the contents. No information on washes. Turned to the "W's" in Frank + Janet Hamer's: Potter's Dictionary. No wash information.
Soooooooo frustrating.
Next turned to the Internet. Which isn't the best source for technical data when it comes to pottery.
However - did find June Perry's site:
And Bless June Perry !!!
Her information helped tremendously.
Before discovering her site, had found tidbits here and there that mentioned when forming washes, use a third each of a frit, a kaolin and an oxide. But they, as is June, are firing to cones 04-10.
Which still left me guessing on how to formulate these for a temperature range of 1750 -1832 degrees F.
No one - but no one - mentions how to use the sulfates and chlorides in washes.

Today mixed up several "washes". Am not sure, mind you, that they are indeed -- washes.
Tomorrow will fire this experiment. See what happens.
Am not optimistic at all but perhaps the kiln elves will surprize me pleasantly.
And if they pull some elfish tricks?
We'll start a new pottery maxim. The old one is: Test. Test. Test.
The new one? Refire. Refire. Refire.

Ah sure now
An' if it isn't the anticipation of colorful wash days ahead

Friday, July 4, 2008

Don't Give Up

For those of you who are new to pottery; who see some of your pieces come out of the kiln as a glazing disaster -- the bowl, cup, plate, whatever is whole, mind you -- it's just such an ugly color that you'd like to pitch it across the length of a football field; don't give up.

When i first started creating pottery there was no one to tell me that these pieces could be refired.
So! I hid them behind a bunch of stuff, out of sight -- but not quite out of mind. At the time, i thought they were totally unredeemable.

However, the premise that these pieces are doomed to the reject heap is entirely false. Recently, i discovered that pieces can be refired 6 times.
No, make that 7 times.
Well, actually the piece below was refired 8 times before it finally decided to co-operate with me.

Now i am really pleased with it.
So! xx Don't give up !!!
Now if i could just manage my photography skills to adequately display how things appear in "real life", i'd be quite tickled! The bottom of the bowl is mostly brown with red adventurine sparkles underneath the glaze . . . . however . . . . rainbow irisdescent colors rest atop of the glaze. So! Depending upon how the bowl is held in the sunlight determines what the eye actually sees !!!
And to think -- this one was in my "to x-x throwaway - but i just can't part with it yet" pile . . . .
Happy glazing days folks