Thursday, May 2, 2013

A lack of control

One of the most frustration things for me associated with working in ceramics is the lack of control that I have. Setting up a pottery studio where one can have total control is tremendously expensive. I hope to set up my own studio one day but until that day comes I like so many other people will have to share equipment with others. As a result of this sharing you lose a degree of control. In my current situation I have no control over the kilns my work is fired in. I can't even choose which kiln my work goes into much less anything like a firing schedule. I had previously mixed up over 20 new glazes to account for the new and slow cooling kiln at the studio I go to. So my nearly 30 test tiles of these new glazes were fired in a much older kiln that cools super quick. Many of the tests were completely wasted.

While I am frustrated I have learned a lesson. I am going to abandon glazes that depend on specific heating/cooling profiles. With no control over which kiln my work goes into I will not chance a piece I like using a glaze that will be ruined if it goes into the wrong kiln. It inevitably will. This means no more iron reds, crystalline glazes, oil spot glazes. Ash glazes will have to be reformulated. I am going to use only glazes that are stable if they are fast cooled or slow cooled. So far I am thinking of some matte glazes, crackle glazes, a bunch more. But no more primadonna glazes.

My frustration aside the tests yielded several new gems. Not one but two matte black glazes and a stunning gloss black. I will post recipes and photos tomorrow.

One test that was an utter failure though not due to the kiln selection was a test of two copper reds using silicon carbine. They were terrible. I will post photos of those as well.

Glaze and kiln issues aside the throwing is going well. I have bisque ware stacking up waiting for glazing. Some good vases, bowls, a few nice platters. I hope to start glazing this week.

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