Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Wednesday kind of update

My throwing success has continued. Maybe not a big deal to most but definitely a personal victory for me. I have been able to at will throw most any shape I want and when I pull the bat off the wheel head it’s lighter than I expect. That is perfection to me. I have been striving to throw like this since I was 16, I am 45.

Last night I threw a large bowl, about 16 inches in diameter and a nice melon style pitcher. Tonight I trim and attach a handle.

My db is gaining momentum again. The middle tier layer (the portion that talks to the actual data base) is looking better and better. I did find an odd bug where some glaze recipes have the same comment entered two and three times. Also a very small percentage (so far I have only found one!) recipes have no ingredients listed.

I will have to find and correct these errors in the perl script I used to dump the data into the db. Then drop all data from the db and repopulate it.

Still I am getting very close to making it public.

And speaking of which I decided to make the whole thing open source. Once I publish the site I will upload the code to google code, a good place to share code, so anyone can poke around in it. I am going to talk a couple developer friends (not potters) into helping.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

DB update and some throwing news

I posted earlier that I can sometimes get a little ... distracted after the foundation of a software project has been completed. The glaze db is no exception. I will not go into a lot of detail because this is a pottery blog, not a software blog.

The db is complete. The UI style is set. The pages and user interaction are defined. Normally I would be putting the finishing touches on a project at this point. My issue is glaze recipes are complex things. They have many dimensions. As such the db itself is complicated. In order to get all the information about a single glaze I need data from 21 different tables. So as I started writing the middle tier of my app the SQL got really nasty and I felt I was making more calls to the db than I should. After talking to some friends better at development than I am I decided to move most of the SQL heavy lifting out of the application and into stored procedures. I have never written stored procedures so I am doing some studying prior to completing this portion.

I have also had a lot of success throwing lately. Again I go back to the little class we had a few months ago. I realized I was not doing some things the instructor told us to do - basic things. I am self taught so even the basics escape me in some ways. 

I was not using my inner hand when I pulled a cylinder. As a result my work was always thick. Now that I have figured out how to use my inner hand while throwing my pots are thinner. Much thinner. I have finally started throwing pots that when you pick them up they are lighter than they look like they should be. It's a personal milestone that I am proud of. 

And what I find especially cool is I have been able to alter my throwing style to make things thinner and at the same time I have been able to get bigger and better shapes.

I am going on vacation for a bit and things will slow down but soon I will be doing the raku fuming and alcohol reduction. I have all the pots I was going to use for it bisqued

Monday, January 5, 2009

And the new year begins with a bang

Well things have been buzzing along.


The snow came and stayed. And stayed. And stayed. Finally after about 10 days things started to clear. We had a white Christmas. What more could you ask for?


Things are moving quickly on my glaze db project. I found the bug from the conversion to mySQL and completed the conversion. I have the API up and running. It’s spooky cool. A fully functioning REST API tied to my db. I am creating the front end, the files the users will interact with now. Honestly that will take a bit more time. UI development has always been kind of my downfall. I tend to get in this endless spiral of tweaking everything to death. I am excited though.


For Christmas I got some clay from a different supplier, one located close to the person who bought me the gift instead of the supplier close to me. It was a bit of odd clay. The clay threw really nicely and I got four nice large pots out of 50lbs of clay. Two bottle forms, one fatty jar form and one “pillow” form – super wide body and a teeny tiny mouth. The only issue is the firing range on the clay is 04-2. I can’t do my normal cone 6 glazes. I cried a little. Until I got to my next pottery related Christmas present. I also got a book on raku firing techniques. Super awesomeness. So I happen to have four nice new pots that I can’t fire at my normal range and fit very nicely into the rake range.


I am going to try my hand at a real live alcohol copper matte reduction. I am also going to try fuming two of the pots with stannous chloride. I am going to use a glossy black raku glaze then fume with the stannous chloride. Should be fun =)