Sunday, August 27, 2006

And the results are...

disappointing. There is a lot of good information to be had from this firing--but no treasures! In truth, I only had a very few 'real pieces' in the firing that could have produced 'treasures'--but those few weren't.

My favorite piece is the funky little pitcher from the Jerry Bennett Paper Clay workshop last month. The glazes were painted on with a brush and I had not done that before but they covered well. I painted the underside of the spout with a soft yellow glaze--but it came out so soft that you can't tell it isn't white like the inside of the pitcher.

I had some pin holing on the larger pieces--that I hoped would come out as treasures. I think it may have happened because the glaze was too thick. Seems like there is always something wrong!

On the other hand, the test pieces did tell me a lot. Funny, I did not have any pin holing on the small test bowls or on the plates--just on the much larger pieces. Ron Roy has said that faults do show up more clearly in large pieces. Unfortunately, the test bowls were not on the clay I shall probably be using--so things may change yet. Gives me something to work on!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Yes, glazing and now firing

Later on Wednesday, I decided that I could use the plates that had cracks in the rims or the pop-outs for testing some overlaps of the glazes. I washed them off and waxed the bottoms so they are ready to dip into the glazes Thursday. I should get a lot of good information from these tests—hopefully!

Thursday was a busy day. I did glaze all those test bowls and cracked plates and hope to learn a lot about my glazes. I don’t think I have found ‘my’ palette yet. I also have several pieces that I am going to ‘refire’—mostly Touchstone Red pieces that have crawled spots—also the large salad bowl that is lined with Licorice which has tiny pinholes all over the inside.

I am not a very good observer. I carefully stirred the big tubs of glazes and then dipped my pieces into the tub. Only then did I realize the glaze looked very thick. Then I stuck my thumb into the glaze and could see that it was in deed too thick. Wish I’d get into the habit of checking first! I have several pieces that are crackling and will probably crawl because it was too thick. Touchstone Red is a real challenge—it really cracks and lifts off the other glazes that I put on top—just as it did to the Faux Ash on the mug I am so fond of. I am refiring that to see if it can be saved. Grace’s B Base Green is a maze of cracks as it dries. I don’t remember that it did that before—but then, I’m not a very good observer.

I loaded the kiln Friday morning. I may have made a mistake: I decided to sprinkle some Mt. St. Helen’s ash on the plates to see what would happen, since these are tests I might as well do all the tests I can think of. However, the glaze was already dry and now I am wondering if the loose ash will fly around in the turbulence of the kiln. Well, we’ll see! Maybe everything will show the signs of ‘fly ash’!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Glazeing yet?

Well, I managed to work all day in the studio around glazing without actually doing any glazing at all! It is not just the application that is a challenge—though that is a challenge—but trying figure out combinations and techniques really stymies me. So today I decided to take all the test bowls I made out of Bee Mix 5 and do some experiments. I have 13 test bowls. On 3 of the bowls I put stripes of slip across the inside and onto the outside. I used 3 different slips (all from Tony Clennell) one is black/blue, one is rutile and one is cobalt. I will put clear glaze over these slips—M&M Clear on one half and Glossy Clear Liner on the other half of each of those bowls. This is to see what happens when these slips are applied to bisqued ware instead of to greenware.

On the other 10 test bowls I have painted a stripe of cobalt oxide stain and a stripe of red iron oxide stain. Each of these will be dipped in one of the big tubs I have of glazes. Then on the rim of these bowls I will dip 1/3 in Soft Gloss, 1/3 in Behrens Ash (using Marcia Selsor’s Mt. St. Helen’s volcanic ash), and the last 1/3 in Rutile Wash.

(Interesting to me that these bowls with the simple stripes are very appealing to me—and just because of the repetition, I think. Something to think about as I glaze my pots—making ‘families’ of glazed pieces if only for display purposes—even if you are only buying one it is more appealing when seen as part of a series. Also, the stripes being offset to one side is better than being in the center—or more balanced. )

The test bowls have been sitting around a long time and seemed dusty. So I washed each out with a sponge and lots of water before beginning. They are still damp so I will let them dry today and tomorrow will dip the bowls into the glazes. (Are you wondering how many ways I can find to postpone glazing?)

I have a lot more glazes in smaller batches. If these tests prove as informative as I hope, I will repeat the tests with other glazes. What I am lacking in this project is what happens when I overlap glazes—but it seems like too much going on to try to overlap glazes on this go round.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Another day

Another day of avoiding the glazing project! I trimmed and put handles on the two pieces that needed handles from yesterday’s throwing. And then went downtown—got more Cinco Blanco clay and some Custer Feldspar and some G 200. Had a nice visit with Jenny—about my email to her mentioning the under weighing of their materials.

I hope the texturing on the pitcher does not look as much like a grass skirt after it is glazed and fired as it does right now!

I keep thinking that I have given up worrying about pieces being too heavy and have just accepted that I make heavy pieces. But that pitcher sure does feel heavy! So does the vegetable steamer.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Back to the wheel

I did not get into the studio until late in the afternoon today—avoiding that big pile of bisqued ware waiting to be glazed, perhaps! Since it was too late to start on glazing (!) I wedged 3 pieces of Cinco Blanco—one about 2# and the other pieces a little over 3#. Then I threw a batter bowl, a salad bowl and a pitcher. (Yes, Diana, bowls again!) I felt so good about those pieces! Two of them will get handles tomorrow but for now I feel very complete. Maybe I should look into establishing a cooperative where I throw and someone else does the glazing!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

A good day...

Well, it was a pretty good day in the studio. Yesterday I threw the body of a ‘steamer’—for preparing and serving steamed vegetables.

Today I trimmed it, put the holes in the base, then threw the lid, made a saucer (that goes under the steamer to take it to the table) and made the handles for the lid and the body. That is a lot of constructing. For some reason I am always intimidated by pieces that have multiple parts, like a teapot with spout, lid and handle or a casserole with a lid and handles. But this went together pretty well and I am pretty satisfied with it. I think it is a little large and think that I will make it again smaller. It might make a nice gift item.

"Real Potters" make tens of pots a day--thirty or forty. Here I am celebrating making ONE pot! Just one of the differences between me and a 'real potter'!

Yesterday, I unloaded the bisque kiln. Now I have a lot of glazing to do. That is something else that really challenges me. In my mind's eye that is the work of an artist—and I don’t know where to begin at being an artist!! But now that I’ve had my day at the wheel I have to get busy with the glazing projects! Wish me luck!

Friday, August 11, 2006


I returned on Tuesday from a little holiday with 4 girlfriends whom I’ve known since the 1960s—some even longer. We drove out to Ruidoso, New Mexico and stayed in the ‘summer home’ of Lani Gary. It was a fun, giggly girl time.
As soon as I could get to the wheel I threw 4 pieces (all from Dillo clay): 2 bowls, a vase, and a coffee mug for the car (maybe). Throwing on the wheel is ecstasy! Decorating and glazing is something else all together!
Today I did address decorating the four pieces after I trimmed them and while they were still leather-hard. I applied some colored slip to the pieces—some over paper cut-outs, some over strings, some with sponge application. It will be interesting to see how they come out.