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.


Robert said...

I don't know how "red" your red's are but Cobalt pinks are known to occur when you replace Calcium with Magnesium in your glazes.
Strontium is also in Group II of the periodic table (under Calcium).

The pink versus blue transition is usually due to electrons filling up the Cobalt p-orbitals.

If you remember your school chemistry dehydrated Cobalt Chloride is blue and hydrated Cobalt Chloride is pink. The water molecules essentially add electrons to the Cobalt (simplistic explanation).

I suspect that what is happening is that Magnesium vs Calcium in your glaze forces a different crystalline structure (due to the relative sizes of the atoms) which allows (or not) electrons to be donated to cobalt. Either the Strontium is forcing a similar change (which is odd since it's even bigger), or there is a lot of Magneium in your ash glze.

Sorry for the chem lecture, but I get really excited by effects like this. Since you're obvously also a programmer I figured you might be interested in a bit of chemistry.

I must say I like the sound of your database, I'll definitely be checking back to see when it might be up.

(Sometime Chemist, Sometime Potter)

Eric Preece said...

Thanks for the insight Robert!

I didn't realize that cobalt could be enticed into the red end of the pool. And you're right, it's not a true red. It's a cranberry, rust kind of red.

I will be posting progress on the db as I do more. The db itself is fairly easy, the web application to interface with it will be a much larger task.