I picked up a new book, "The Penland Book Of Ceramics". It's full of very cool techniques. I adopted one to create my long sought after handles. And it worked.
Basically I extrude a tube. While the clay is still in the extruder I started to pull it like you would a normal handle. This closes up one end of the tube. I work the closed end to be the size and shape I want for my handle. Because it's hollow I don't have the issues I had been having. I have done several handles like this now and it's worked every time. I am spending more quality time with the extruder now.
I also had some glazing success. I ran a small test with a lithium saturated glaze over the top of an iron red. The test was promising so I glazed a pot I liked with that combination. The entire pot with the iron red, then I sprayed the lithium glaze over the top half of the pot. The top half came out a really nice leopard like finish. black with yellow spots. The transition area the iron red went green, the finally it went to iron red. Something in the why it fired or some other variable caused it to go metallic. Came out very nice.
I also started using a tin / chrome oxidation pink-ish red glaze. I saw a photo of a cone 10 copper red, reduction of course with some beautiful highlights. Swirling gold, white, purple. Really stunning. So I tested a grestely borate wash with titanium oxide and a touch of cobalt carbonate. Success. Mostly. It bleaches out the red under the wash but the purple/white streaks drip down from the wash into the red. I am using it to highlight some red handles.
G.B. Wash for use with oxidation reds
Lastly, I am nearly complete with my web site. I know, I know, I have been saying it for months. But now with the new laptop I have made a lot of progress. All that is left is under the covers tweaks, changing config settings for publishing to my ISP, stuff like that. Plus I want to put it in SVN prior to publishing it and I have never used it. I have been a CVS kind of guy up until now. Not a lot different but enough that I am reading the manual.