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Friday, January 30, 2009

Mylar Cones and Slip Trailing

Visited Grace Sheese's site, , yesterday. She does some pretty time-consuming, intricate and detailed work. Very impressive.
Her Jan. 29th blog-post mentions Charan Sachar, , and his method of using mylar cones as a tool to slip trail.
Naturally, i followed her link, , and watched his video on his method of creating the mylar cones and how he uses them to decorate ceramics by slip trailing.
He does a very thorough presentation.
Now, my only question is: where do i buy the Mylar?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

What A Difference A Wash Can Make

Last week was one heck of week when it came to firing the kiln. Now you remember, we had a warm spell so firing was an option nearly every day.
If you can fire every day, the odds increase that you will make a mistake.
And boy, did i make a doozy.
See any details here?
Nope. Neither do i. Which is a darn shame, for it was intricately carved. You could look at the Buddha's face and see his expression. Every dragon's scale was in high relief and detailed.

What i should-a done was: paint an oxide wash over the piece, wipe it off, and apply the glaze over the wash.
It was too late for the Buddha, but it worked the next day on this bowl.

It's enough to break-a my heart.
( Copper Oxide Wash: 1/2 Tbsp Black Copper Oxide mixed with 10 ml Water )

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Small Pitcher

The Art Deco style fascinates me. Which is the effect i was trying for here.
Yet, does such a small surface area do it justice?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Non Pottery Discourse

Have been at odds and ends this week.
Didn't try to fire the electric kiln Monday. Even though daytime temps were warm enough, nightime temps were down around 5°F. The poor little ole electric house heators have a dickens of a time trying to keep the house warm under normal conditions. And they sure don't seem to feel that heating the garage in addition to the house is a "normal condition".
Didn't try to fire the kiln Tuesday, as the inauguration was being broadcast and i darn sure wanted to see every minute of such a historic event. It wasn't even a viable choice. Sitting in front of the Paragon electric kiln out in the garage to catch the exact moment it decided to malfunction? Or watching a once-in-a-lifetime national event!
Have been waiting all week for the propane gas company man to come out and set the pressure higher at the tank so i can try to use the gas kiln. Thought perhaps he'd come today and didn't want to be distracted trying to pay attention to him and the malfunctioning Paragon kiln. So. Didn't fire today either. Besides, overnight temps were down around 4°F.
Yep! Here it is Wednesday and i've been at 6's and 7's all week.
On the plus side of this equation - the weather during the daytime has been extraordinarily sunny and warm!!! Wonderful.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

It Would Have Been a Grand Ole Bird but . . .

I loved this design. It reminded me of a dove.
Came off the wheel just fine.
Bisqued perfectly.
So i was especially excited about opening the kiln to see the results.

Should write a book . . .
Titled: How To Go From Euphoria To Utter Depression In a Few Quick Moments
Actually a book with that title might be a best seller; you know - folks thinking it was of the self help variety with a comic twist.
However, the fates were not with me. It's the first time in 3-4 years that a glaze has "run" on me. (And wouldn't you know it had to accomplish this feat on this piece?)
What a mess. Ruined 3 kiln posts. My grinder won't even pretend to remove the glassed-glaze from their sturdy little frames.
But the saddest thing, of course, is it ruined the bottom of the piece as i chiselled the kiln shelf, the kiln posts and the "bird" apart.

Just too sad . . . .
Happy kilning days folks.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Yesterday's Kiln Results

Sure wish i could get more than one piece in the kiln at the same time !!!

Have discovered that light green over a strong blue does not stay green but instead gives a deeper blue.
That orange over blue gives green.
That orange over shino brown gives a sand-color.
Yellow over orange over a strong blue doesn't necessarily show up; sometimes it does.
3 layers of green over texture obscures the texture !!!
Still . . . we're making progress. The piece is aesthetically pleasing when held in hand
My "impressionistic flowers" actually are beginning to look like flowers!
Happy Kiln Days to y'all

Friday, January 9, 2009

Second Day Bowls

Thank goodness the weathermen were wrong when they predicted today's temperatures would range in the high teens lower 20's. If they had predicted the temps accurately to be in the mid-30's, i'd-a darn near killed myself today trying to fire another load in the kiln! Two days of firing back-to-back (that's 48 hours) with only 4 hours sleep per night darn near did me in!
Figure i'm just too old to be replaying Sleepless in Seattle . . . .

The Paragon kiln shut itself off twice during yesterday's firing. Seems as if when it contains 2 items instead of one, it shuts itself off twice instead of once! You really have to be on your toes to use a Paragon digital programmer kiln !!! By 8 o'clock last evening there was definitely tension in the air. Would the kiln complete the job or was all that lost sleep going for nothing?
Ah . . . . . . . . . . !!!
It finally did reach temperature.
Was so glad to see that this cup/bowl turned out fine. There was a lotta work involved in carving out all those little half moons and then in trying to stay within the lines when glazing. How can something which looks so simplistic have taken up so much time? Had forgotten to wet-sponge it off before applying the glaze. Have discovered that wet-sponging before glazing really helps the glaze settle into the bisquedware and diminishes the chance of minor glaze cracks. So i worried.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx This little Yunome cup did just fine also.
xxxxxxx Am delighted that they both survived their journey thru the inferno!
Doesn't look like much was accomplished in two solid days of firing, does it?!!
Wish i'd done things a wee bit differently when i was buying my kilns. Wish i had gone with a large electric kiln and a smaller gas kiln, instead of the other way around. But as i recall, we were having fierce electrical storms every day at that time with plenty of electricity outages. Figured a gas kiln would be more practical under those conditions.
And, just to think, if i'd bought a Skutt instead of a Paragon electric kiln -- it probably would-a worked perfectly !!! At least Skutt would probably have honored its warrenty . . . .
Ah sure now and isn't there some old, mostly forgotten, adage out there about hindsight?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

From The Kiln

Yesterday's efforts didn't come out too badly! Amazing.
If one looks with a discerning eye, one can see a Bird of Paradise.
With my pottery deco i've learned to do that, you know. Show folks the smallest, little ole nanometer of space on an item and say: "See! See! Do you the see the old and venerated Chinese Buddha fellow standing in front of the knarled tree with the Chinese village behind him?"
Thank goodness, i usually run into folks with an imagination as vivid as mine!

Yesterday's firing went along pretty well. The kiln only quit once at 2128°F. When temps reached 2100°F, i bundled up in snowboots, winter parka, scarf and sat out in the garage, intently watching the digital readout. So! Was able to catch the fail notice right away and reset the programmer. Finished firing at 5:59pm exactly.
Put another load in at 6am this morning, configuring that yesterday's bowl had cooled sufficiently after 12 hours respite.
Weatherman promised that today's temperatures would be in the high 40's, but the rest of the week, tho sunny, will be in the teens. Maybe reach 20 degrees. So! It was fire today, or wait for another warming trend.
Would-a posted more photos of this bowl, except somehow i shot all of them with the lens cap on! Tend to do stuff like that when i've only had 8 hours sleep in a 48 hour segment of time.
Ah well . . . . hope everyone has an alert, joyfully wakeful and prosperous day.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Decal Post

Decided to try the Lazertran Inkjet Waterslide decal paper yesterday. Ordered it at the same time i ordered the Bel's back in mid-November but this is my first attempt to use it.
My thinking on this is that while the Bel's works fabulously, it is black + white (sepia after firing) and with the inkjet there was a possibility of achieving color.
It is my understanding that the inkjet colors will burn off during firing, so my plan was to attach the Lazertran printed decal and apply glaze coloring on top of it, using the decal as a template, so to speak.
More than likely, it was my method of application which caused the disfunction.
I had already applied 3 layers of glaze to the bowl (as a background) and tried to attach the decal over this. It wouldn't adhere to the powdery surface. Even tried to glue it to the surface. This didn't work either.
Which left me only one recourse.
To try and glaze-paint impressionistic flowers on the surface of the bowl.
Now y'all have already seen the results of my "impressionistic" flowers!
For some reason they never seem to work out quite the way they should . . . .
Ah well, the bowl is in the kiln; firing right along merrily. Was up at 4:30am to start it, under the premise that the weatherman was correct in his predictions that outside temps would reach 35 degrees today; and also, that it's much easier to deal with a malfunctioning kiln, at say 4-5pm, than it is at 8pm at which hour rigor mortis has set in, the mind has slowed, and all seems like a major frustration. There's just something about reading a fascinating book til 1am and then trying to surface 3-4 hours later that's not conducive to sharp mental functionability!
Happy impressionistic days to y'all

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Bringing In The New Year

vvvvvxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Happy New Year's Everyone !!!
How hard this little critter worked to be born !!!
The Paragon kiln which bisque fires perfectly, sure doesn't like to reach temps of 2167°F. It was an uphill battle all the way.
Started the kiln shortly after rising at 5am. It quit twice during the day, finally finishing by 9:06pm. During the last hour or so of firing, i sat watching the temperature increase like a hawk intense on saving its nesting baby.
At 2155°F it appeared as if we weren't going to make it. The temp hovered there for much too long. It just couldn't seem to gain enough extra heat to complete its journey. Got the bright idea of throwing a fiber blanket over the top of the kiln where the lid meets the body and by golly that seemed to improve the situation.
Still . . . . . .
With each °F the kiln gained, it felt as if i'd run a mile in an uphill marathon! Breathing was not an option in those moments for i was praying so hard to bring the new year in with a new creation.
Success of sorts. The casserole dish is whole and healthy. It's just that my impressionistic "flowers" are more impressionistic than flowery! I truly wanted to bring something beautiful into the new year and this misses the mark.
New Year's resolution -- learn more about the elements of design!

May the New Year bring you health, nourishment, joy, laughter, love, PEACE . . . .
You know -- all the magical Blessings of life!