Monday, December 22, 2008

Slow, like molasses in December

Things are very slow right now.

I stocked up on clay as I expected to spend days and days in the studio during my vacation (remember this is a hobby for me). But the combination of a prolonged cold snap and no consistent heat in our studio means anything I throw will freeze over night before I can trim it. A lesson I learned the hard way. So I am not throwing anything and quickly running out of bisque ware to glaze. 

The weather is expected to warm up in about a week.

The last firing had a couple pots with the new fake ash I mentioned in the prior post using 5% copper carbonate. It came out a beautiful soft apple green. 

This particular ash glaze runs like mad. Which is what I wanted. It behaves exactly like the glaze it is derived from, Aerni ash. You can see some examples of the glaze I based this off on Richard Aerni's site. I am still working on expanding the color pallette but the big hurdle was getting a glaze that behaved like Richard's ash glaze that works in my kilns with my clay.

Friday, December 19, 2008

My new favorite glaze

In all my complaining the last few posts I have completely glossed over the new glaze I have been using with great success, a cone six ash glaze.

Based off Aerni Ash;

Wood Ash - 50
Grestely Borate - 12.5
Neph Syn - 12.5
Silica - 12.5
Whiting 12.5

I am firing in an electric kiln, oxidation.

So far I have used this with;

2% cobalt carb. - awesome. Blue of course.
5% nickle oxide - nice, yellowish.
7% rutile - ugh. 

I will be trying copper carb and about 6% RIO soon. I will also try some stains.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

One step forward, two steps back

It's been a frustrating week.

I have been having much better luck with larger pots recently. So when I had a couple hours to spend in the studio last weekend I decided to go big.

I threw the largest bowl I have ever thrown. Honestly I thought it was beautiful. I really liked the form.

Then, I threw a ballon shaped vase, really fat body, very narrow mouth. Tall, wide. I really liked this one too. 

Then I got confident and went for a Peter Wang style double walled vase. I used 20 pounds of porcelain. The inner bowl was about 8 inches in diameter, the outer wall was to the edge of the bat, so the width of a standard wheel head. The outer walls were about 18 inches tall. Easily the largest pot I have thrown, it looked like a mini keg. Different shape but size wise.

Then the trouble started...

The weather turned nasty here and I couldn't get back to the studio to trim the pots. No problem, others did get through and I asked that they cover the pots.

Well person wrapping the pots told me the ballon vase had collapsed on itself. The mouth had just sunk into the body of the vase. I am keeping it... glaze tester.

I finally got back to the studio last night. 

The studio doesn't keep the heat on unless someone is there. All the pots froze. While they were wet. This resulted in cracks and some bizzare behavior while trimming. As I trimmed huge strips of porcelain just flaked off all the pots. I could not get any of the pots trimmed properly. The huge bowl cracked. I haven't had a pot crack in about a year, not one so I attribute this to the freezing not the throwing. I may be wrong but I am anal about compressing my pots. With the cracks and the strange behavior while trimming the bowl just came out shitty. Honestly all of them did. I am going to keep them and see if I can save any but overall it was a waste of a lot of clay.

On the db front I realized my hosting company is a LAMP stack company and I was on a Windows system. I installed XAMPP on my windows box and converted my db over to mysql. I have run into some issues on the conversion and am working to solve those issues.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Two steps forward, one step back

Well, things moved forward, and backward.

The DB was complete. Until I started work on a web service to hook up to it. Then I started finding bugs, like the first 800 recipes were missing the color attribute. I expected bugs. It's the nature of the beast when developing.

I am building a REST API on top of the DB. Then a UI to talk to the API. At some point I will open the API for public use. 

I was able to replicate many of the recent successes with ash glazes. Unfortunately the best looking pot had the glaze drip down on to the shelf. The stilt I put under the pot are now part of the pot. I have to find a way to grind it off. However the glaze came out great, ash glaze with wonderful webbing, rivers of color flowing down the pot. 

I also threw a couple more nice pots. One double walled, about 10-12 inches tall, about 10 inches wide on the outside, about 8 inches wide in the interior bowl. I also threw a bottle, about 15 inches high, but about 16 inches wide at the widest point, and the mouth of the bottle was closed to less than an inch. The mouth of the vase stands about 3 inches tall. The body is like a big ballon, not quite spherical, kind of heart shaped. Very wide (for me), very tall (for me), and the mouth is very narrow and is a great contrast to the body of the vase. 

Thursday, December 4, 2008

More database progress, some new pots

The data base is complete. It took a bit longer than I expected. I had to hand edit about 2,000 glaze recipes. Suckage.

The good news is the db has more than 2,000 recipes. 

I haven't scrubbed it for duplicates yet and may never. I can't use name as a duplicate criteria, imagine how many "Clear" and "base" glazes there are in this db. Hundreds. And since it has recipes from 020 to 12 there are many many glazes with simlar and exactly the same name that are wildly different. I could de-dup on the recipe itself but the code to do that would just be more work than the reward of de-dupping.

Data base work aside I threw 3 nice new pots. I was excited, thinking I could get these new pots ready for our studio sale next week. But the pots will not be dry in time. Kind of a good thing I suppose as I will be more deliberate about the glazing on these pots. 

Then I threw 4 matching mugs. Well matching is stretching the truth, they were remotely similar. And I wasn't happy with any of them. They will be glaze testers.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gaining momentum

While posting a little less I have been doing more.

First the glaze database I am working on.

I registared a domain name ( and have been writing code. The domain is just parked for now but the code is progressing really nicely. I have a database design that that is a thing of beauty in it's own right. It's flexible and scalabe. I have a design for the site, both from an information architecture and user interface. 

I got the idea when I stumbled upon several large text documents online. These documents had hundreds of very good glaze recipes in each. Between the first two documents I have processed well over 800 recipes. I still have a couple more documents to process. 

I expect this effort to not be public for several more months. After completing work on the database itself I have to code the front end of the application. The piece that users touch. I have big plans so it will be a lot of work.

In addition I plan on offering an API. An interface for those who want to get their hands dirty.  

I am a bit concerned about going live. There are a lot of recipes and while I found the recipes in a very public place I am not 100% sure that I will not get nasty notes to take down recipes. I plan on offering a beta to a couple people that I feel can give good feedback on such a sensitive issue.

Next, the glaze gods have smiled upon me. They have poured their blessing over me. I could not be happier with the latest batch of glazes.

First I took an ash glaze from a well known potter and modified it to cone 6. I added some cobalt because I had wanted a good blue ash glaze. I had made some dog bowls and sprayed a strontium matte glaze then over sprayed a funky blue I had just for kicks. Well the dog bowls came out freakin cool. So I took two lame vases did the same blue over strontium spraying and then added this blue ash over that. Just because I had some out using it on a different pot I throw some rutile wash on one of the vases. Well the combination came out of the kiln and my jaw dropped. 

Something, I don't know what yet reacted and the blues are interlaced with red. Yeah, red. In a cone 6 oxidation glaze. With no coloring agents but cobalt. The rutile wash turned red too. I suspect the ash may have reacted with the glazes in some way. Not sure what the hell happened but I haven't seen anything like it. 

I used a Albany Slip, wood ash glaze over an iron red and strontium matte on another vase. Came out great. 

Lastly I tried a spodueme glaze. I saw a recipe and it looked cool. I've never even seen a spodueme glaze so I had no idea what to expect. It's a gray-ish stoney matte. Very rough, very cool and different from all the other glazes I have been working with. 

I might post pictures if I get time and good pictures.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Glaze database

Well, I had some success in creating a glaze database.

I found two large text files online, mostly cone 6 glazes and some raku glazes. I wrote a perl script to normalize the recipes and shove them into a db. 

I now have a glaze database with 816 recipes. 

There are duplicates. I have to write something to remove dups.

Some of the recipes are not normalized to 100%. I will write something else to do that.

Then I will put the db online. Probably on Amazon's AWS. 

Lastly I'll write a front end to go on top of this. I am going to make it completely open to the public and allow additions.

Was a lot of fun and now I have a pretty substantial glaze cook book =)

If anyone reads this and wants a copy before I get around to putting it on line let me know. Post a comment or email me.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekend mud work

Had some time this weekend to hit the studio.


Still have the kiln issues. Only one working kiln and there is a line to use it. It fires as soon as it’s unloaded. It’s fairly old so I am sure it will join the others going belly up soon. I am making hay while the sun is out.


I fired a load of glazed pots this weekend. Five bowls; strontium matte with an ash glaze with nickel and a quirky blue. They didn’t turn out very attractive. Maybe good bowls for my dogs. I also fired a large bowl, temmoku gold with rutile wash highlights. This is the second large bowl I’ve done like this and it came out perfect. The temmoku gets tea dust crystals in our kiln and the rutile wash interacts with the temmoku very nicely causing the glaze to locally run and the titanium streaks in the runs. In some spots it crystallizes as well.


I also decided to attempt to throw a pot larger than I normally throw. I plopped about 15 pounds of clay on the wheel head and went to work. I ended up with a very large lantern  shaped pot, mouth and base are roughly the same diameter and the middle is fairly fat. I haven’t measured the height but I’d guess about 20 inches tall.


I also tossed 4 new coffee mugs. I made them super big. I look forward to these. They will be Christmas presents for someone. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Raku Saturday

The raku firing went well on Saturday.

Initially I had the shelf in the kiln too low and the flames from the burner were hitting the bottoms of the pots causing the pots to heat up much too quickly and break. We lost three pots before I figured it out. 

After I adjusted the shelf height we only lost one more pot and I have no clue what happened with that one. 

All in all we had a couple nice pots come out. I only fired two of my own pots. The first one was one of the victims of the low shelf and broke into many pieces. The second one had a copper matte I have been trying to get right for months and months. It come out very promising, the top was a nice orange, the bottome where the reduction was harder was a bright purple. I was so excited. Then I went to clean the pot up and all the purple flaked off the pot. I assume this means I didn't heat the pot hot enough, the glaze didn't adhere to the pot well. Oh well, c'est la vie. I finally got the colors I was after from this glaze so I am one step closer. Next time ;)

I have some cool pics that I will post a bit later.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Back at it

Well after plumbing and kiln debacles I am back at it in the studio.

I have two things going currently.

I am doing a raku firing Saturday night. A night time firing. And I will be trying something new. In place of doing an alchol reduction I am going to use the burner from the kiln. Should be interesting.

I am also starting an online glaze database on dabble. I can't make it public yet - still testing but I like how it's shaping up. I'll share it as son as I am comfortable with it.

Friday, September 19, 2008

More studio set backs

As I have posted the main glaze kiln at the studio I go to has been out of commission. Now things are worse.

I got word that a sewer line ruptured and flooded the studio. Yummy. 

I have stopped work completely at the current studio and am actively looking for a new studio. 

It sucks because I liked the people at that studio but it simply is not working out. 

Monday, September 8, 2008

A mixed bag

The kiln load I got was mixed.

First the large kiln over fired. I use witness cones and the kiln fired a to a hard cone 6 according to the witness cones and I suspect that it took a long time to fire. I don't know for sure because it fired over night. I had a couple of pots sag. This isn't normal. I work in mostly porcelain but my pots are not so thin as to deform under normal firing conditions. 

So I lost two pots due to sagging. One was my favorite pot to date. A large, tall, well formed bowl. It has nice faceted feet. I glazed it with temmoku and rutile wash. The glaze came out great. But alas... the pot is warped due to the sagging. The othe pot that sagged was a small plate. Nice but c'est la vie.

I lost one other pot, the little octopus container I posted photos of in an earlier post. I used the seiji nuka ( I freakin love that glaze) and due to the long soak it ran. The legs of the octopus are now fused with the kiln stilts. 

The pots that came out nice were the four lidded containers I used an iron red glaze with seiji nuka and rutile splashes. The iron red turned kind of a muddy green but some copper colored crystal formations took shape. Not traditional but pretty nontheless. 

Waiting to pop the kiln

I got in line for our kilns and got a chance to load some pots yesterday. They're cooling now and should be ready to unload tonight.

I have only one glaze test in this batch; the clear bubbly runny test. No idea what to call it yet. As I posted earlier the idea came from a test in the glaze class I was in. This particular test I changed up a bit. I wanted to reduce the crazing so I added some silica. I still wanted to make sure this ran, so I increased the lithium to 20%. The recipe I tested was;

90 Nehp Syn.
20 Lithium Carb.
20 Silica

Yeah, I know it's ot 100%. Once I get the glaze where I want it I'll normalize it to 100%. 

As I was making this test it dawned on me that I am moving closer to a traditional clear glaze. I am just hoping to keep the bubbles =)

Other than the test I loaded 4 lidded containers, one really big bowl, a couple odds and ends. I have high hopes for this batch.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A small update

A few small random notes....

The kiln repair failed. The second firing after I replaced the element failed to reach cone 04. So our little studio is down to two kilns, one of which is tiny. It only holds one medium sized pot per firing. This means things are going to be very slow until we get the large kiln repaired or replaced. And the studio owner is out of town until late September. =(

I tried a couple new glazes. One has my interest and I am starting to think about a real recipe. In the glaze class I took we had one test that was 85% Neph Syn and 15% wood ash. In reduction is was clear, bubbly, a tiny bit runny, very crazed. I want to get a clear, slightly fluid bubbly glaze. I moved away from using wood ash as a flux as I want super predictable results. I have enough variation with the kilns, I don't need it in glaze chemicals. I went with 90% neph syn, 10% lithium. It came out clear, not as fluid as I'd like, not as bubbly as I'd like. Tremendously crazed. I am going to tinker to add more flux and see if I can get the crazing out.

I saw a video demonstrating pulling and attaching handles. This is something that has been the bane of my time in the studio, I always screw up my handles. I tried the method shown in the video and the results look promising so far. I have a set of four mugs with complicated handles drying now. We'll see if this new method works for me.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Kiln repairs

We've gotten word that our studio will remain where it is for the time being and we started to work on fixing the place up a little. My task was fixing one of our three kilns. An ancient Cress cone 6 electric beast that has only been able to reach bisque temps for awhile now. This is the first time I've tried to repair an electric kiln. It was kind of cool.

I assumed that the issue would be the rheostats or the elements. I bought new elements and figured I'd replace those and if that didn't work I'd replace the rheostats.

We have three kilns in our studio, all lined up against one wall. The other two kilns were bisque firing. And it was hot out. It took me about 2 minutes to start sweating. I took off the bracket that the rheostats and kiln sitter are mounted on.and bang - there was the problem. One of the jumper wires had broken. I ran down to Seattle Pottery Supply and got a replacement. Less than $5 of replacement parts.

Since I had already bought the new elements I decided to install them anyway. I got the first element in fairly quickly and easily. Until I was feeding it into the last few inches and realized that the new element was about 10 inches too long. I made it fit but it wasn't easy. It was enough to convince me that I didn't really need to install the other 3 elements.

I test fired the kiln to a couple hundred degrees and everything seemed great.

Since that kiln is back up I am going to do a couple glaze loads soon. I had been putting it off as the kilns that were running didn't reach cone 6, only cone 4-5.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Pictures of tea dust bowl

Jeff took some pictures of the porcelain bowl with the temmoku that developed the tea dust crystals.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A few random notes

I ran across some recipes for cone 6 oil spot glazes. Now if you're like me you're thinking "cone 6 oil spot? Un-possible". My understanding of oil spots is that the spots are caused by the iron basically boiling. A reaction that I thought didn't happen until cone 7 at the lowest. So I am looking at these glazes thinking they're crap. Then I start noticing the names are the same as some oil spots of John Britt. John is the man when it comes to oil spot glazes. I decided to dig a little and sent John an email. I call him John because I addressed the email to Mr. Britt and he replied "No Mr. Britt bullshit". So John tells me that the recipes I stumbled upon were actually his. He had provided them to the person who had posted them. He also stated that yeah, these could maybe work at cone 6.

So who knew; real oil spot glazes are possible at cone 6. I am ovewhelmed with current tests so I am not planning any tests on these. Write me and I can provide the exact recipes.

I have been working on a cone 6 chun/jun glaze. I have done a few tests with an ash nuka base. I got one that melts well at cone 6 and I think will work. I mixed up 4 more tests with several additives; rutile, iron, copper, cobalt. I'll post results.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I win!

The success rate for beginning potters like myself can be low. For every good pot I make dozens of losers. Bad forms, misbehaving glazes, kiln mishaps, whatever.

Tonight I won one.

I have a stable temmoku glaze, Val's Temmoku Gold. It is a beautiful black with golden tea dust crystals on stoneware. On porcelain it looks like a traditional temmoku, rich brown. I also have a rutile wash that flows nicely and leaves wonderful colors when applied over the temmoku. It's a nice glaze combination.

A few weeks ago I threw a large porcelain bowl, about 7 inches high and 16 inches wide at the mouth. I intentionally left a large foot on when I threw it. I trimmed and cut the large foot down to 4 feet large enough that you can see under the bowl when it sits on the table.

I sprayed the temmoku on the bowl, applied the rutile wash to the lip of the bowl as well as the top of all the feet. Popped it into the kiln yesterday and pulled it out tonight.

Stunning. No question the best finished pot I have made to date. I have never had tea dust crystals on porcelain before, only on stoneware. The entire interior of the bowl has a evenly distributed layer of the tea dust crystals throughout. The rutile wash ranges in color from white to yellow to purple. And flowing slightly inside the bowl as well as outside.

I am not posting pictures yet because my camera sucks and I am taking this one to my buddy Jeff whose hobby is photography.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


I was all gloom and doom over the kiln malfunction. I was certain that all the pots and probably all the shelves in the kiln were ruined. Not the case. The kiln even though it was on high for over 24 hours never reached peak temp. All the pots are fine, all the shelves are fine. I always use witness cones and my cone 5 witness cone is straight as an arrow. The glazes are not even partially melted. I will re-fire these bad boys in one of the other kilns this week.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Why pottery is freakin' difficult

I have thrown a lot of pots over the last 18 months. Many hundreds. I am sure it's not nearly as many as people who pot full time or those who have been doing it for longer. In that span I have thrown maybe 20 pots that I really liked. After ruining most of those pots by putting unpredictable glazes on pots I actually liked I started saving the pots I liked until I was happy with my glazes AND I got a spray gun. Finally I thought, finally I can finish these pots, the pots I like. The pots I want on my mantle.

I sprayed three of these really nice pots this past weekend. Two in temmoku with the new super cool rutile wash. One with the iron red with a barnard slip/wood ash glaze. I popped them in the kiln yesterday about noon.

Well there are a lot of moving parts in pottery. A lot of variables. One such variable is the kiln. Our studio has three kilns. All fairly old. All use kiln sitters.

For some reason the kiln didn't shut off. It should have shut off about midnight last night. Instead when someone got to the studio about 4 in the afternoon the kiln was going full tilt. I don't know if the kiln didn't get to temp or if something held the kiln sitter lever, or what. The kiln got shut off and will cool over night (it was hot as hell at 8pm when I showed up) and I will survey the damage tomorrow morning. I expect a complete loss.
And thus I lose 3 more pots. Pots that I liked but by the time I finish the process something goes sideways.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Slow period

I've hit a spot where I am not doing a lot of new pots. This is by design. The studio owner where I work is moving to a new studio and I am following her there. The new studio is nearly complete. As such we're winding down all activity at the old studio as we get ready to move.

We don't want to move greenware - so no new pots.

I'd prefer not to move bisqued pots - so I am trying to spend more time glazing pots than testing glazes.

And once we do clear out all the pots we have the fun and exciting task of actually moving all the pottery equipment, kilns, slab roller, wheels, shelves, etc, etc.

All in all it means a lot of work in the studio but not a lot of pottery getting done for the next few weeks.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New raku glaze via class

I was in the second session of the glaze class I am taking last night. One of the exercises we did was to make a raku glaze without a recipe and we had to measure it by parts not by weight. The only help we got with the recipe was a reminder of Soldner's base recipe of 80/20 grestely borate/neph syn.

This was a lot of fun for me. We we just firing and NOT reducing the test tiles so nobody was adding coloring oxides. It was really just make up a glaze and see whatcha get.

I know that lithium can be a valuable addition to raku glazes. I use a couple recipes with 20% + lithium. So that's where I started; 2 parts lithium. For my unit of measure I used a plastic spoon. Next I wanted to keep the recipe total at 100 parts. Well, really I did 10 parts not 100 but it's easy to expand to 100 from 10. Knowing the lithium would flux the bejeezus out of the glaze I cut back on the grestely; 3 parts grestely. Lastly I rounded it out with neph. syn. Neph syn while in most glazes is a flux at raku temps is really a stiffener; 5 parts neph syn.

Lithium 2 parts
Grestely Borate 3 parts
Neph. Syn. 5 parts

Now this is different than how I normally do glazes because I have no idea what the weights are. This does NOT translate to grams or ounces. I will probably go through and reproduce this and figure out the weights of this recipe.

The results were really nice. Very crazed, very bright clear. Melted completely yet did not run. It produced a subtle greenish pink tinge and a halo at the glazes edge.

I am going to try this glaze soon. I will try adding iron (for oranges) and copper because hey we're talking about raku.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Most recent glaze test results

All the pictures came out goofy. I need a better camera.

Fortunately the glazes came out very nice.

The rutile wash (75% grestely borate, 25% rutile) kept the same wonderful coloring over temmoku and started to run like Brother Thomas' pots. This is a winner. I will be using this combination over at least two large pots I have been sitting on waiting for the right glazes.

The ash tests came out very nice too. The quirk is they only looked good over other glazes. Over the seiji nuka I use both alberta slip and barnard slip ash combos looked great. Same with the iron red. Over the temmoku only the barnard slip ash combo looked good though. Alone each of them looked awful. Go figure.

I threw some new pots up on Etsy. So far I am not too happy with the pots I have been able to put up there. But I am rarely happy with the finished pots. All I can see are the flaws.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

New tests

Like a junkie needing a fix I was back in the studio this morning... mixing test glazes.

After something said in the glaze class I am in I decided to quit fucking around with super complex recipes and mixed up three new glazes that should rock and are very simple.

Barnard Slip 50
Wood Ash 50

Alberta Slip 50
Wood Ash 50

Grestely Borate 75
Rutile 25

I have individual test tiles for the ash/slip glazes plus test tiles of those glazes over Seiji Nuka, Temmuko Gold, and Iron Red.

The Grestely Borate/Rutile wash is an idea from looking at some work of Brother Thomas Bezanson's. He made wonderful pots with iron based glazes that had magical rutile washes. I;ve tried some rutile washes before and the colors are right but they don't flow like Brother Thomas'. I was using equal parts rutile and Grestely Borate. Which may have worked at cone 10+ but I am working at cone 6. I had forgotten to add more flux, thus 75% flux now.

I am still working to figure out the spray gun. I shot two vases for this kiln load. One is Seiji Nuka with Iron Red accents. The other is a cone 6 crystal base with 2% Cobalt Oxide. One topn of the crystal glaze I splatter some of my red Neph Syn mixture. I have high hopes for that pot.

I'll post pictures in the next couple days. The kiln will be safe to open tomorrow but I have a lot of personal stuff scheduled over the next 72 hours.

Friday, July 25, 2008

First items in the Etsy store

I finally got back to the studio to pull the pots from the kiln.

This load had the first pots I used the spray gun. Mixed results. The glazes went on super smooth. No runs, no drips. I still have some work to do to figure out how thick I need to spray, all the pots had glaze coats that were too light. Still they all came out nice. Nice enough to put them up on Etsy as my first pots for sale online.

The Etsy store is here.

Here are the new pots:

Small urn

The urn is stoneware. Seniji Nuka and Blue Hare over Iron Red glaze.

Bowl set

The bowls are porcelain. Blue Hare glaze outside and AH clear inside.

The new tests I was running came out Ok. Both strontium mattes came out Ok so I am still not sure which I want to go with. More tests. The chun came out matte yellow. Sucky.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A happy accident

I threw a couple pots last time I was at the studio. A nice big bowl, a nice round vase, both porcelain.

Then there is the platter... I threw a platter, I am not good at that form yet. The platter was pretty wide, about an inch past the rim of the bat. And sometimes happens when I try platters the lip started to sag. But it was a nice platter and I wanted to save. Try as I might I could not get the lip to stay up but I refused to give up goddamn it I wanted this platter to work.

So I grab the bat and what would help? Oh yeah I flip the bat upside down and hold it there... like it's going to magically do something. Well something did happen. The lip of platter sagged down (which was up as I was holding it upside down) and I realized it looked like a Chiluly platter, yeah I went to the glass museum recently. So I figured "hey let's make this work". Laura, a studio mate was there. She grabbed a blow dryer and started heating the platter while I held it upside down. After a bit I turned it right side up put it on a wheel and hit it with a torch. I set the platter with a very fluid, cool wave pattern in the rim. Very Chiluly-esque.

This platter was an accident but one of my favorite pots I've ever thrown. I am going to try to repeat this process. Over saturate the rim until it collapses and then hang the platter upside down and set the rim.

I still haven't figured out to trim it.

I'll post pics when I get back to the studio.

On sharing recipes

I did get the tests of the two strontium mattes fired but I haven't made it to the studio to peek at the results yet. I'll post pictures as soon as I can

In addition to those two tests I did a cone 6 chun test. I am hopeful for that one. If I keep working on that recipe I'll post more on it.

A couple random notes...

I read a news group about ceramic art. There is a lively discussion going on currently about publishing recipes. I wanted to touch on this briefly as I am publishing recipes. As I have posted before there is nothing original ceramics. The art and craft of ceramics is as old as man. If you can think of it someone has thought of it before you and tried it. I am guessing every recipe I write has been written somewhere before. I am not breaking any new ground. Very few potters do in my opinion.

I don't hesitate to publish recipes as long as I attribute the recipe to the correct source. In my view if it's in a book and I provide attribution I am providing a plug for the book. If I find it online then well I am not the first one to put it online.

I do have a book of recipes that I will not publish. I only keep these under wraps because the author let me have the recipes only on the condition that I never reveal the recipes. Fine. But tragic. The glazes are stunning. They are among the most beautiful I have ever seen. The author - who I will not name - is a contemporary of Val Cushing's. As wonderful as Cushing's glazes are (and I use some Cushing glazes) this fellow's glazes are better. His "floating blue" is unmatched. It was seeing one of his glazes that started me on my glaze obsession. His recipes are simple yet yield staggering colors. Yet I have never met anyone who has used his glazes, knows his work, very few know his name.

That's the problem with keeping things to yourself. Being secretive. You isolate yourself. Cushing and others that are free with their knowledge elevate themselves when they help the rest of us. Cushing's reach will go on for generations through hundreds if not more artists. His glazes will be taught to students for many years. My friend's reach will die off after those of us blessed with his knowledge stop practicing the craft.

There's a bright line between sharing and stealing. I share, most potters do. A few steal. Claim credit that isn't theirs or profit from someone elses work. I don't know any of these scoundrels but I am sure they exist.

Share what you learn, know, you'll be better for it.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Onward... to strontium mattes

I am fairly happy with the results of my recent tests; a cone 6 iron red and a cone 6 fake ash. The next step for me is a cone 6 strontium matte to serve as a base glaze. Similar to the technique Steven Hill uses. The hope is to get a white, matte glaze I spray (with my fancy new HVLP guns) on my pots that I can then spray other glazes on top of and get uber cool results.

I am starting with two recipes, one from Hill and one from John Tilton. Both are out of John Britt's amazing book I've mentioned here before. I am just showing the glaze I'll be testing and not the original with the how and why I changed it (in a bit of a rush tonight).

Strontium Crystal Magic (modified)
Custer feldspar 46
Whiting 17.2
EPK 4.9
Strontium Carb 12.6
F3134 14.6
Titanium Dioxide 13.8

Tilton 1
Neph Syn 46
Whiting 10.8
EPK 8.1
Strontium Carb 35.1
Titanium Dioxide 8.1

I should be mixing and firing these tomorrow so I can post photos Monday night.

I signed up for a class at Northwest Pottery. A big surprise a glaze class. I start Tuesday night. I am not sure if I'll be posting less or more during the class. I expect to learn a lot but I also expect it to keep me busy and I only have so many hours to dedicate to pottery.
Lithium Carb 4.6

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Glazes gone bad

A fellow potter at the studio I go to summed up where I am at when he mentioned the he feels like he ruins his pots by glazing them. I feel like I ruin most of my pots when I glaze them.

Today was no exception.

I jumped right with the spray gun and was super excited to use it. I did 4 tumblers and 2 lidded containers. On the 4 tumblers I put on a coat of clear glaze then I put on a black stripe highlighted by a red stripe. I was really stoked. I pulled the tumblers from the kiln and the black completely vanished. Poof. Nada. The red sagged down the tumblers. Upon closer inspection the black just melted into the clear. The colorant (black iron oxide) just washed out. It looked like the black glaze fluxed the red glaze causing it to sag just to make the pots extra sucky.

To top things off the glazes on the lidded containers came out Ok but the pots themselves sagged during the firing so the lids didn't fit any longer.

6 pots, 6 for the scrap heap.

Well, I am back at it tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Shooting madness

My wonderful fiance got me an air compressor for my birthday. 17 gallon tank, 150 psi. It's very nice!

I bought 2 HVLP guns to go with the compressor and viola! I am now spraying my pots!

I started by setting everything up and then loading the guns with water and "shooting" a pots that lost it's bottom in an unfortunate kiln accident a few days ago. I played with the knobs and adjusted things using water on a crappy pot until I felt comfortable putting glaze on pots I like.

I am really excited about this. Spraying takes some getting used to but I am sure my pots will be better for this. I "shot" 4 tumblers and 2 lidded containers this morning. I will fire these tonight (I am going back to the studio tonight) and will post pics as soon as I pull them from the kiln - should be Friday.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Updated iron red and fake ash recipes

The cleaned up versions of the recipes that I pulled from the kiln yesterday;

Bailey's Iron Red (modified)

Amount Ingredient
42.5 Feldspar--Custer
13.7 Bone Ash
3.6 Lithium Carbonate
19 Talc
10.4 Silica
9 Gerstley Borate
1.8 Bentonite

100 Total

11.5 Iron Oxide--Red

Unity Oxide
.105 Li2O
.06 Na2O
.1 K2O
.317 MgO
.418 CaO
1.000 Total

.179 Al2O3
.072 B2O3
.002 Fe2O3

1.921 SiO2
.089 P2O5

10.7 Ratio
68.2 Exp

Steven Hill Fake Ash (modified)

Amount Ingredient
21.8 Frit--Ferro 3134
3.8 Dolomite
45.5 Whiting
15.3 Kaolin--EPK
13.6 Silica

100 Total

2.3 Bentonite

Unity Oxide
.06 Na2O
.001 K2O
.038 MgO
.901 CaO
1.000 Total

.093 Al2O3
.119 B2O3
.002 Fe2O3

.848 SiO2
.001 TiO2
0 P2O5

Please note the iron red doesn't seem to be food safe.

I will do some glazing today and both bisque and glaze firing.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


At long last some of my tests turned out well.

Man, getting some good test results was a long time coming but hopefully they were worth the wait.

First the iron red. The picture REALLY does not do it justice. I am using my crappy phone camera for pics. This is a beautiful red with green spots. GREEN! Out of an iron red! It's really very cool looking. I am going to refire in a bisque batch this coming week to see if I can coax more color out of it.

Bailey's Red (modified)
Potash Feldspar 46.7
Bone Ash 15
Lithium Carb 4
Talc 20.9
Silica 11.4
Grestly Borate 10
Benonite 2
Red Iron Oxide 11.5

Yeah, I know it doesn't equal 100%. I'll revise one more time to clean it up. Just not at the moment.

Next we have one of the fake ash bases I was trying to get right; a variation on Steven Hill's fake ash. I doped this one up to melt at cone 6. I tossed in 3% copper carb just so the test tile would be a little interesting. This glaze behaved exactly as I wanted.

Steven Hill's Fake Ash (modified)
F3134 21.8
Dolomite 3.8
Whiting 45.5
EPK 15.3
Silica 13.6
Benonite 2.3

Next we have my straight to flux and stain mix for a "slip". I tried several fluxes and the winner by a land slide is Nepheline Syenite. It came out with great color, glassy and was just on the verge of running.

Anyway enough of the glaze goofiness. I wanted to post pics of an oddball I made. I make lidded containers. And I often use small pulled handles that I like to swirl off the pot rather than terminate on the pot. So... I kept thinking this would make a good octopus leg as I made these little handles. I decided to try out an octopus lidded container. This one has been bisqued. I am still trying to decide how to glaze him.

I am thinking Pinnel's Strontium Matte under a fake ash with cobalt....

Oh and the raku stuff I refired? Yeah I got the kiln to reduce really well. The glaze still sucked. It's the third time I have fired that glaze on different pieces and it always sucks. It's a loser. Well for me at least.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A quick update

I am going to fire some glaze tests today. The last batch of glazes tests didn't melt well.

For the slip test I decided to go to a straight flux and colorant mix. I am firing three tiles; F3134 plus stain, Neph Syn plus stain, and Grestly Borate plus stain. I am looking for a good melt plus transparency.

Next I am going to drop the melt point for the iron red base I was testing. I'm not 100% sure what I am going to do for this... maybe just add 5% grestly borate. I dunno. I'll post it what I do.

Lastly I am going to refire the aku stuff I did a couple weeks ago to see if I can get better color now that I have figured out how to get a good reduction in the kiln.

A full day plus I am going to work on throwing a pitcher form that doesn't suck.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Test results

I stopped by the studio on my way to work this morning - yeah, that's how I roll.

None of the tests came out as I wanted but all gave me a good starting point.

The fake ash tests:

As you can see neither test melted. So I need to ratchet up the fluxes.

Next the glassy slip:

Same story, no melting. Plus it appears as if this one would have been matte had it melted. I will be changing this one up quite a bit.

Next the iron red line test.

Base recipe plus 14%-17% red iron oxide:

base plus 10%-13% red iron oxide:

Base plus 8%, 9% red iron oxide:

pretty much the same thing with these, didn't melt fully. The pics kind of suck (gotta get a real camera) so you can't tell from the pics but it seems the "reddest" is 11%. Funny the original recipe calls for 11.5%. I am going to use that amount of RIO but need to adjust the melting point.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Grim business

So I fired some tests yesterday. I haven't had a chance to swing by the studio and peek at the results yet. I am hopeful though. I always am.

A few months ago a woman who I share studio space with asked me to make her an urn. She told me she wanted the urn to have feminine lines. I agreed, it seemed like a good challenge. I immediately thought of Nick Joerling. Something whimsical yet conveying feminine qualities. Then she told me the urn was for her daughter's ashes.

I really like this woman. She's super cool. She always shows up to studio events and brings the best treats for us all. She's supportive of everyone else, cleans up her mess (you'd be surprised how many people don't) and to top it off she makes truly wonderful work. I felt a sudden weight. How could I possibly do justice to an urn for such a huge task, being part of a remembrance for someone this woman had loved dearly? I honestly felt there was no way I could do it. It was too much. I had made a dozen or so urns and it's one of my favorite shapes to mess around with (I don't do many because they tend to take a lot of time and I am a hobbyist).

I threw a porcelain urn. Wide at the foot, with a waist and the shoulder came back out to the width of the foot. Smooth lines. Feminine. I threw a lid that while fitting the urn was round-ish. I turned the urn over to my studio mate. She does wonderful glaze paintings and wanted to do the glaze herself. As she should. I haven't seen the pot nor her since. I truly hope it's what she wanted.

This leads me to today. My fiance has been telling me I should make and sell urns. She works at a vet. She ses animals day nearly everyday. Animals that are loved as members of the family. Many are cremated. Today she called me with a request to make an urn for the ashes of a 7lb cat. I agreed. Upon telling a co-working of my grim new comission that co-worker asked me to make an urn for her boyfriend's dog's ashes... he has them in a plastic bag inside a plain wooden box.

So ... urns... grim but maybe a needed side job. Maybe a little comfort to those who have lost someone dear.

As I get close to completing these urns I'll post photos.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Next up a slip test

I still haven't gotten a chance to get back in the studio after the raku firing. Once I do get back I have a couple tests planned; a line test with an iron red, a line test with a strontium base glaze varying the amount of colorant trying to get a nice purple. And now I am adding another test, a glassy slip test.

The idea is kind of the merger of two ideas. I see a lot of glass art. In the Pacific Northwest, home of Dale Chihuly we see a ton of Chihuly inspired glass artists. I love some of the techniques. I often see a glass form with a bead or tube of glass "wrapped" around it. This is a pretty common technique and can be visually pleasing.

I was reading a book about glazes and saw a small section on glassy slips. And a light went off, use the glassy slip to get the same effect seen on all the glass forms.

So I am after a transparent glassy slip. I want it to be stiff enough at cone 6 so that when I apply it from a syringe it will keep it's round shape. Lastly, it has to take color well. I'd prefer to use stains for this application. That means a calcium level about 12%.

Here are the base recipes I got from the book I was reading:

Gerstley Borate 90.5
Bentonite 10.5

I think this is going to be too fluid at cone 6 to hold the shape I want. So as a starting point I am going to cut the flux in half and replace it with silica.

Gerstley Borate 45.2
Silica 45.3
Bentonite 10.5

The calcium is a wee bit low for the optimal commercial stain range. So I am going to cut the bentonite in half and replace it with whiting.

Gerstley Borate 45.2
Silica 45.3
Bentonite 5.2
Whiting 5.3

This looks just about right, 13% calcium. I'm not sure about the melting point but I *think* it should be right. I also think it should be transparent. I'll make a test batch and add 10% stain (probably red) and test it in my next glaze firing.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Raku results

Well today was a good news bad news kind of thing.

The day started with me mixing two batches of fake ash for testing. After mixing and sieving the test batches I dipped a test tube in each.

After I got these done I mixed a batch of copper matte for the pots I was going to raku. Well, I thought I did. As I finished I realized that instead of using 108 grams of black copper oxide I had used 108 grams of black NICKEL oxide. So I wasted a lot of materials. I decided to use this "oops" glaze on a test pot just to see what a raku glaze with an ass load of nickel looks like.

These are the pots after I glazed them. Notice the little screwy pot. That's the one with the "oops" glaze.

After getting the glazing taken care of I went to get propane. I've never fired any fuel fired kiln before. So frankly I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't really figure out how to get the can reducing until after I was done with my pots. I got the can reducing nicely when we put some of Evelia's pots in ... but... then we didn't count on how quickly it would get up to temp. We over fired her pots. All the pots came out less than spectacular.

I don't really like any either one. Almost everyone said good things about the fat one.

Oh, and the "oops" glaze? Wow... terrible. black, ugly.

Getting set up online

In parallel to getting my work to the point that I am comfortable letting it out of my hands I am also building a presence online to do just that. This blog was the first step in building that presence. So what have I done, will do, to get my pieces from the studio into the hands of others?

First a blog. Not really required by any means but a nice to have. Assuming I can accrue traffic to this blog it should become a good selling tool. As you can see I choose blogger. I have previously used other software but I liked the ease of set up with blogger. I don't want the online side of this to become a distraction to the clay part of it. I want the online aspect to enhance my work so this has to be simple and easy to use. Blogger fits the bill.

Next I added two optional pieces to my blog, Google analytics and AdSense. The analytics package just gives detailed reporting. AdSense ads give an additional revenue stream. As of now that stream has yielded zero pennies. It may never produce any revenue but it's free to set up and if the blog starts getting traffic it should generate some cash.

The last piece of the online puzzle has been an Etsy shop. Etsy is a great site. It's a place to buy and sell handmade items. This is the storefront I will use to sell my pieces.

The set up was very easy - again I want the online side to enhance not distract from my clay work - no complicated online tools. I work in the tech field in my day job and don't want to get sucked into coding at night to support my clay activities. That would kill the fun for me. In addition to being easy to set up it's free to set up. Etsy does charge some fees but all the fees are reasonable.

My store is located here. As I make items I deem worthy of selling I will add them to the store.

So in order to help sell my work and promote my work online I've created this blog, added ads and analytics, and set up an online store at Etsy.

Tonight I raku!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Upcoming raku firing

I will be breaking in my new raku kiln Thursday. It's a garbage can kiln. Can't wait.

I will be using a copper matte glaze. I have seen this glaze or variations in a couple place. Several books and the best place was in a gallery, on a little note card next to some spectacular raku vases. I've never gotten this glaze to work for me. However I think the issue has been my raku technique - firing in an electric kiln then walking the pots outside into a reduction can.

Amount Ingredient
36 Copper Carbonate
36 Copper Oxide--Black
16 Frit--Ferro 3110
8 Iron Oxide--Red
4 Cobalt Carbonate

100 Total

I make a couple changes to the original, I add 2% magnesium dioxide to encourage purples. and I am dropping the RIO by 2% as I use an iron bearing earthenware for raku.

36 Copper Carbonate
36 Copper Oxide--Black
16 Frit--Ferro 3110
6 Iron Oxide--Red
4 Cobalt Carbonate
2 Magnesium Dioxide

100 Total

I'm not sure if I am adding too much magnesium but we'll see. Raku is - from my perspective - much more difficult to develop glazes. Many more moving parts; did the pot cool too much, not enough before going into the reduction can? What is used in the reduction can, newspaper or pine needles? There are dozens of variables to take into account. Raku glaze development is much more shotgunning it while wearing a blindfold.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bisque firing today

Just a quick post today.

I bisque fired today. I'll unload tomorrow. I am planning on a raku firing in my new homemade raku kiln Thursday night. I'll post pictures. I am also going to try to squeeze a couple test batches of glaze in this week.

I saw some really cool pots today at the gallery store in the Seattle Center. If I get time tomorrow I'll post more about them.

It was a great day to be out and about and tomorrow is a yard work day.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Red pots... Martian red

So my other interest besides pottery is astronomy. I was a physics major in college. Imagine my surprise when I realized my two very disparate interests converged today.

The soil on Mars very similar to Earth's soil.

So naturally my first thought wasn't about life on Mars but... what about Martian clay? Someday... someday someone will make pots of Martian clay. Someday someone will test fire Martian soil.

At first I was giddy thinking of what cool wonderful exotic glazes. But then my geeky science d0rk came through. The chemistry is the same. Even if the trace elements are in a different balance it's not like there are undiscovered elements in the dirt on Mars. In reality Martian clay, glazes would be the same as regular glazes and clays. Maybe some naturally saturated with certain elements. Possibly some mixed with elements that are scarce or not common in soil here but frankly nothing that we couldn't make here.

Still ... I wonder how long until someone makes a pot with Martian soil.

I get back into the studio tomorrow and will fire my test tiles.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


A bit on how I test glazes.

I use extruded rectangular tubes. I hand cut them into roughly 4 inch heights. I put one hole through the test tile - just in case I want to hang it. I have a little seashell that I press into one side.

I always use porcelain for the test tiles. I usually work in porcelain so that helps. I usually want to see the glaze on porcelain. I do some work in a real nice red iron bearing stoneware but I never use it for test tiles. Yeah, I know the clay really impacts the glaze. I have a couple glazes I really like that only look good on the iron bearing stoneware. But also... I am a bit anal and a little lazy. I hate getting the red clay on things that the porcelain uses, like the extruder. If I made stoneware test tiles I'd have to clean the bejeezus out of the extruder and I am too lazy to do that so I just make porcelain test tiles.

I generally make a 300 gram batch when testing a base. I'll mix 300 grams of dry with 200-300 grams of water. I sieve the batch through an 80 mesh sieve twice. Then I dip the test tile in the glaze and fire at cone 6 in one of the electric kilns in the studio I work in.

I usually use witness cones. From using the witness cones the kilns fire about high 5 or low 6. The cone 6 witness cone usually just bends, about 15-20 degrees.

The kilns all have kiln sitters. No computer controlled kilns. Yet. So no soaks. No slow cools.

I have 50+ test tiles drying now. I am going to bisque fire them Saturday morning. So maybe some glaze test firing next weekend.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Developing a Fake Ash base glaze

I love Steven Hill's pots. Specifically I love his glazes. His fake ash is delicious. I aspire to have glazes as wonderful as his on my pots. I don't want to simply cut and paste other people's work though. I want my glazes to be my own.

There's nothing new in pottery. Pottery has been around literally as long as man. Virtually nothing I will do hasn't been done before.

These two opposing paradigms are what we all need to balace in developing our own glazes; something wondeful and new yet you can bet your ass someone has done it first. Even if you don't copy someone else you're probably not the first one to do whatever it is you're doing. Such is the world of potting.

I am working on finding a base fake ash glase. I am looking for a fake ash glaze that works well on both stoneware and porcelain at cone 6 in an oxidizing electric kiln. Further I want a fake ash glaze that takes color. I have visions of a red fake ash... or a purple. In order to do this I need to find something that will color a glaze overloaded with calcium red or purple. Off hand I don't know what I need to do.

I am starting with two base recipes.

Via Ceramics Monthly Satori Yamaoka's synthetic ash:

Magnesium Carbonate ........................ 6%
Phosphorus Pentoxide ........................ 6
Whiting .................................................. 63
Potash Feldspar ................................... 12
Kaolin .................................................... 10
Silica (Flint) .......................................... 3

I am swapping out the Phosphorus Pentoxide with Bone Ash.

Magnesium Carbonate ........................ 6%
Bone Ash ............................................... 6
Whiting .................................................. 63
Potash Feldspar ................................... 12
Kaolin .................................................... 10
Silica (Flint) .......................................... 3

This recipe is originally listed as cone 9. I am working at cone 6. In order to get this to melt properly need to drop the melting point. As a starting point I am going to swap the Potash Feldspar with Neph Syn.

Magnesium Carbonate ........................ 6%
Bone Ash ............................................... 6
Whiting .................................................. 63
Nepheline Syenite ............................... 12
Kaolin .................................................... 10
Silica (Flint) .......................................... 3

The resulting analysis:

Unity Oxide
.025 Na2O
.008 K2O
.099 MgO
.868 CaO
1.000 Total

One thing about this one I notice long before I put on the mask and mix it is that it does have what I would expect as the high enough percentage of CaO to be a good fake ash glaze. I am not sure if this will melt and flow at cone 6. If not my next step will be to add some lithium and possibly increasing the amount of bone ash.

Next since I have a man crush on Steven Hill's glazes I am starting with his fake ash glaze via John Britt's aswesomesauce book "The Complete Guide To High Fire Glazes"

Feldspar--Kona F4 ... 6.8
Dolomite ..................... 3.8
Whiting ....................... 45.5
Kaolin--EPK ............... 30.3
Silica ............................ 13.6

Total ........................... 100

Bentonite ................... 2.3

Like the Yamaoka's glaze this was designed for high fire and I am working at cone 6 so I need to drop the melting point. I am less sure of this conversion and will probably have to try several iterations of this. First lets trade the Feldspar for F3134.

F3134 ......................... 6.8
Dolomite ..................... 3.8
Whiting ....................... 45.5
Kaolin--EPK ............... 30.3
Silica ............................ 13.6

Total ........................... 100

Bentonite ................... 2.3

I don't think this will be enough to drop this to cone 6 runny goodness. I am going to add some lithium, 3%.

F3134 ......................... 6.8
Dolomite ..................... 3.8
Whiting ....................... 45.5
Kaolin--EPK ............... 30.3
Silica ............................ 13.6
Lithium Carbonate .... 3

Total ........................... 103

Bentonite ................... 2.3

Unity Oxide
.072 Li2O
.006 Na2O
.002 K2O
.042 MgO
.878 CaO
1.000 Total

I will normalize this to total 100 again if this works. Otherwise I am not wasting my time. Not that the math is hard, it just a waste of time if this isn't the final version. I only want to do it once.

So those are the recipes I am going to test. I'll add some cobalt to each batch because I tried testing a fake ash glaze one with no coloring agent. It's a challenge.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


How did I get here? Starting a blog about working with clay and glazes...

I decided to start a blog to help with several goals.

First; I want to be a better potter. This means a multitude of things to me. I want my glazes to be as good as John Britt's or Steven Hill's. Not a copy of their glazes but as good, as wonderful as Hill's fake ash and Strontium Crystal Magic combination. As unique as John Britt's oil spot glazes. I want my pots to be useful, eye catching, and expressive.

While I have a long long way to go on my journey to make pots I am truly happy with (when I look at my pots I generally just see the flaws) I also want to transform my money sucking hobby into at the very least a break even proposition. I want to make some money from all the time, money, blood, sweat, and electricity I am sinking into my pots.

In my pursuit of these two goals I find myself thinking that I am probably not alone. Ok, there may be only a handful of people who are also looking for great glazes and refining their pottery techniques but I am probably not the only one. Also I do better when I write it down. When I have to explain what I am doing to someone else, even if nobody ever reads this. Someone could so I need to think things through. Writing this helps me achieve my goals.