Wednesday, April 28, 2010

More of the same

Was a busy week at work last week and didn't get a chance to hang out at the studio much. I did take some time over the weekend to mix some glazes to test. I decided to go to square one. I mixed a handful of glazes straight from John Britt's book. I'll see how they turn out and tweak as needed. I did do the line test of the lorio ash I mentioned in my last post. All those tiles should be fired this coming weekend.

One test I am looking forward to seeing is a tile with a carbon trap shino under lorio ash. I am trying for the stunning yellows that Nick Joerling gets with an ash glaze over a carbon trap shino.

I spent time hunched over a wheel throwing more coffee cups. I chose coffee cups because I could use more and it's a simple shape. I am working on becoming consistent in my throwing. It's really been a struggle for me. I keep thinking of the words I read somewhere "to master a shape you need to throw 50-100 of them". I don't know who said it but I think they were low balling the number. I've thrown a few dozen of this specific coffee cup shape before I started this little journey. I've thrown 20 since I started to try to master this shape and I still feel like the pots are wildly different. Out of the eight I have handles on I actually like three of them. Two of them I should have throw out. I will be putting handles on the rest this weekend.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tweaking my favorite ash glaze

I love lorio ash. It's got a beautiful color. Behaves like a great ash glaze and I modified it down to cone 6 and that version webs beautifully and never runs past where I applied it. However when I tried my version of lorio ash at PNW it ran like it was training for the Olympics. It reinforces the saying that "glazes don't travel". Truer words never spoken. Every kiln is unique. Every kiln fires differently. Heck, at the last studio I was at they had three kilns - some glazes fired differently in those three kilns sitting in the same room. It's no surprise that a version of a glaze I had refined to fire in the kilns at one studio totally bombs out in a different kiln. So that sends me back to the drawing board.

Time to reformulate a version of lorio ash for the kilns I am using now. I am starting the same way I always start - with the original recipe. I have the base recipe and two data points, the kilns at PNW fire at cone 6 and the version I had of this gaze while tweaked for cone 6 is melting too much. So the recipe I am after is somewhere between the base recipe and the version I had been using. Knowing the boundaries I created a table:



10 (base)

9

8

7

6 (my current version)

Alberta Slip

43.5

43.5

43.5

43.5

43.5

EPK

13.9

11.9

9.9

7.9

5.9

Whiting

29.6

29.6

29.6

29.6

29.6

Wood Ash

13.9

13.9

13.9

13.9

13.9

Grestely Borate

0

2

4

6

8

RIO

3

3

3

3

3

TiO2

6

6

6

6

6



As you can see I kept the moving parts down to a two; EPK and GB. I will be testing 4 of these soon. The fifth one I already tested, my current version and it ran.


While I was mixing up glazes I mixed up an oldie but goodie - Reitz Green. I freakin' loved this glaze in the past. But never brought it down to cone 6. I know the kilns at PNW are higher than the kilns I am used to so I am hoping I can get this glaze working. I also swirled up a quick batch of Pinnel Celadon. I haven't found a celadon I like yet.


Oh and before I forget - the new version of my glaze db web site is almost complete. Just finishing up the UI now. Putting in things like pagination and print pages.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Trying to improve

I am taking a class. I am in a class called "Set Design". It's being taught by Deborah Schwartzkopf.

I choose this class because it gives me a chance to work on something that has eluded me - the ability to throw consistent shapes/sizes. I can throw really nice one or two off pieces, at least I think they're nice. But I can't sit down and throw 10 bowls same size same shape. I can throw an 18 inch tall bottle, but not 6 coffee cups that look alike. It bothers me.

I made myself sit down and throw 10 cups tonight. Sounds easy but it's the first time I've done that since I started throwing again. On cup number 5 I got the shape I really wanted. I threw several more that were actually very similar in size and shape. Then I got tired and the last few sucked.

I plan on getting 30 cups I like. I have maybe 3.

I am going to put my normal handles on them.

I am also adding a sugar container and a creamer. I'll be using the same bodies as the mugs for these. Just a different finishing treatment.

It feels good working on improving my throwing instead of just working on glazes.

All will get the same glaze treatment. I have a high level view of what the glaze will be - lorio ash + some accent glaze on the outside, black on the inside. I am going to be doing line tests with the lorio ash to get a variation that doesn't run in the kilns at PNW.

Friday, April 9, 2010

On cruise control

I have been doing some work in the studio but not a lot.

I made a fairly nice bowl. It's a little special because my parents were visiting when I was glazing it and my Mom helped me glaze. She had on my mask, I taught her to use the spray gun. It was fun. It turned out fair nice. I am giving her the bowl.

The glaze palette I was working on for the new studio is on hold. I will be staying at the new studio for a few more months but my wife and I decided to turn our out building into a studio. So I will have a studio of my own in my back yard. Pretty freakin cool.

it will take several months to get everything put together. And once again I will be in a bit of a limbo. Spending time and money putting together a new studio which means less time actually producing pottery.

On the plus side I get full control over the kiln and firing. I am going electric. I am not comfortable with a fuel kiln in my back yard. I am going to get the best computer controlled kiln I can afford. I am hoping for some precision firings in the cone 6 and cone 9 range. Cone 6 for most glazes but cone 9 for oil spots.

Very excited.