Saturday, February 27, 2010

Glaze database update

Warning - only tangentially related to pottery. Proceed at your own risk.

The glaze database project is a great example of why I rarely code.

I have the back end completely rewritten and working. No big thing. However this week I started looking at Google Web Tools. Using GWT is like being given the keys to a freakin' spaceship. Armed with photon torpedoes. And lasers. It's so much more powerful than any other tool suite I've ever seen.

GWT is a java SDK. They - Google - provide the SDK as well as a plugin for Eclipse, a very powerful open source java IDE. So far using their code and tools I have stepped through the first of their tutorials. I have learned enough to know I will be using GWT for the foreseeable future for any and all web development.

For those who may have gotten this far and know a thing or two about development; GWT is compiled java that renders dynamic html and javascript. So you can use a java debugger for your ajax apps. Breakpoints, not alert windows. Compiled code, all the ajax pre-written by Google. Truly a thing of beauty. I wrote a fairly complex ajax app in about 200 lines of java. Not a single line of html or javascript. And it was fast as hell. Time to learn java.

And here's the rub. I am going to trash my current working version of my web app for glazes. Again. So I can rewrite it from scratch. Again. My issue with coding, my coding problem. I often reach the point where I must rewrite my code prior to finishing it which results in the time it takes for me to publish code being many times longer than it would take a normal person.

Funny though, I am similar with pottery. My favorite pot is the one I am about to throw. My least favorite pot? The one I just threw. My favorite glaze? The one I am still formulating, not the one I just applied to a pot.

C'est la vie.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The rest of the results

The celedons all sucked. Not bothering with recipes. I will talk to Wally, I am not sure if this is a result of over reducing, under reducing, over firing or what. All the celedons came out cloudy and opaque.

This is the house iron red. Dead sexy. I would marry this glaze. As always my phone camera pic does not do justice to this beauty.

My lorio ash glaze. It ran which it has never done before and it developed wonderful crystals that even if I had a good camera would have problems capturing. Even better looking in reduction. But I will have to refactor it for the hotter kiln to prevent the running.

More test results - copper reds

Two of the three copper reds I was testing were fired. The third didn't make it into the kiln =(

Panama Red (John Britt)

Dolomite 7.8%
Grestly Borate 10.7%
Strontium Carb 4.2%
Whiting 2.6%
Zinc Oxide 2.6%
Custer 44.1%
3110 9.7%
EPK 2.6%
Silica 15.8%

Comments: Very purple. Not clear, very opaque. I will work on this one.

Blue/Green Copper red (Ceramics Monthly)

Talc 3.3%
Whiting 14.29%
3134 13.33%
F4 feldspar 46.16%
EPK 6.4%
Silica 16.52%

Comments: Redder than the other test but still opaque and purple. I will work on this one as well.

First test tiles in reduction!

Let's start with the shinos:

Cherry blossom shino (John Britt)

Soda ash 10%
Nepheline Syenite 40%
Spodumene 40%
EPK 10%

Comments: No color but you can see the wax resist really well. Still fairly attractive glaze. I may try this on an iron bearing clay to see if there is some color.

Malcolm Davis shino

Soda ash 16%
F4 feldspar 9%
Nepheline Syenite 39%
Redart (I used alberta slip) 6%
EPK 17%
OM4 13%

Comments: The photo was taken with my phone and doesn't do justice to this beauty. The wax resist strip is a fantastic iron red. Really stunning glaze.

House shino

No recipe. This is the house shino for the studio. No clue what the recipe is.

Comments: Nice peach color. Wonderful texture. I will be using this glaze.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Slooooow firing

I got to the studio tonight anxious to see the test tiles I had firing. I have 3 copper reds, 3 shinos, 2 celedons, and 1 ash. I saw the tiles go into the kiln Saturday afternoon.

So I get there tonight damn near run through the studio to the kilns and the kiln is still red hot. It was dark out and I could still see the glow. Shit.

So I will go back Wednesday and hopefully things will be cool by then.

After I took my frustration out on 25 pounds of porcelain. Split it in two and threw a big ass vase then a big ass bowl. They both came out nice. Now if I can just get some glazes FREAKIN' tested I can glaze them.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Testing ramping up

I have a batch of test tiles waiting to be glaze fired. They may be done today, I'll see when I get to the studio later today. Testing a copper red, lorio ash, and all the house glazes, as well as a pair of carbon trap shinos.

I also had quite a bit of interest in exploring a cone 6/7 oil spot. I had previously chatted via email with John Britt about oil spots fired at temps lower than cone 10 and he said it's indeed possible. So I am working on seeing what actually works.

I started mixing test batches last night and will mix up 4 or 5 more this morning before hitting the studio.

So far I am using the oil spot recipes in John's book as a starting place. In all the tests I am simply adding 5-7% F3110. That will be my first test; does it melt at cone 6 with the addition of the frit? I will make adjustments based on results.

I am fairly excited as I have worked with candace black before and it's a beautiful glaze. John sent me his cone 6 version of that glaze. I will be test firing it soon. Plus I am trying my hand at a couple of oil spots that produce red sot; bailey's oil spot and SG-12.

I will post pictures and recipes as soon as stuff gets fired.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New glaze lab

This morning I set up my garage as a glaze lab. It was stupid easy but a fun and needed first step.

I have had all the chemicals as I have been making my own glazes for several years but I have never done it at home. I have a work bench in my garage and I just organized everything on the work bench. No big thing.

But something about it got me excited. Maybe it was the ease of having my entire ceramics reference library a few feet away. I went inside and grabbed my copy of “The Complete Guide To High Fire Glazes” and put it with my Ohaus scale. I didn’t need the book… but it was cool to have it so accessible. I am so used to not having any of my notes or books when I am mixing glazes.

I mixed up four glaze tests. I should have some bisqued test tiles that I can use tonight. In theory I should have fired tests by the weekend. I am testing two cone 6 shinos, a cone 6 copper red, and my modified lorio ash glaze. That’s not too experimental but I need to see how it will react in the new kilns and I have only fired it in oxidation, so let’s see how it reacts in reduction. I’ll post recipes if any of them are worth keeping. The lorio ash has been posted a couple of times.

I am hopeful on all the test recipes. All but the lorio ash came from John Britt. And he is The Man when it comes to glazes. While I am sure the glazes will need to be tweaked I am hopeful that all will be good starting points. I am super excited about the copper red. The pictures of the test tiles I have seen are nothing short of jaw dropping.

I will also make tests of all the house glazes at the studio. I need to see how they look on the clay I am using. I will be mixing up 1k gram batches of my old stand by glazes; SCM, Obsidian 3, lorio ash, crystal base w/ cobalt, seiji nuka. I am hoping to get use of the house iron red, temmoku, and tea dust glazes.

Slightly off topic but holy crap it rocks having a house big enough to set up a wood shop in my shed, an office for books in one of the empty bedrooms and still have plenty of room to dedicate my garage to making glazes. Oh and the car still fits in the garage.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sweet and meh at the same time

I was opening a new box of B-mix at the studio and I noticed the box was labelled B-mix 5.

I scurried up to one of the resident artist and confirmed the B-mix is really a cone 6 clay. And the follow up question "Does this mean the gas kilns fire at 6, not 10?" "yes" was the answer.

So I will not graduate to cone 10 reduction glazes. However I have a ton of great cone 6 glazes so I am not starting from scratch. I will be able to add some true reduction glazes to my palette.

I extruded about 20 pounds of test tiles. I will start testing the house glazes soon.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Things keep moving... slowly

Ah the holidays are over, visits out of state to family are over and I am back in the studio. And back to working on version 2.0 of the glaze data base.

While I love the new studio I find myself spending less time there than I did at the last studio. I am just not in the swing of it yet. But I am still working. I threw a set of 6 mugs last night and will be making test tiles to test the house glazes and my first batch of new cone 10 reduction glazes this week.

I still have to figure out what glazes I will try. I was excited for oil spot glazes but I think I will wait on those and concentrate on reduction only glazes.

There has been more movement on the glaze db front.

Version 2.0 is shaping up very nicely. I have the API working but not finished quite yet. I haven't even started the UI but I hired a graphic artist to design the UI. The designer is my daughter. She's going to college in the Fall for art and design. I figure she can add my site to her portfolio and she;ll do a better job than my designing it. Version 1.0 of the site, while functional was pretty damn ugly. I am excited about publishing the new version. The API is completely rewritten and more stable.