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 (glazejunkie.com) 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.