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.