Saturday, September 27, 2008

More Preparation

It's been a busy week at work so I haven't been in the studio very much. Yesterday I did manage to throw a few mugs. I haven't been too happy with the shape of the mugs I've been throwing lately. I have a ton of cups from other potters that I love but I find myself struggling to develop 'my style'. I suppose the only way to get past it is to keep experimenting. I'm sure one will appear when I least expect it.

As a part of my preparations for testing new glazes I am analyzing everything I can that has an effect on glaze makeup, firing, etc. I have a computer controlled kiln but I plan on placing cones on each shelf (and in various positions on the shelves). My goal is to get as accurate of a picture as possible of what's happening in that kiln when firing. Yesterday I made cone supports for both the glaze and bisque firing.

As you can see, I have poked holes in the bases. Earlier this year during a raku firing the clay holding my cones burst. I thought all the moisture was out of them but apparently not. As a result two pieces were ruined. I got a recommendation from a potter to poke holes in the bases which really helps get the moisture out. We'll see how they do next week!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Test Glazes

I have selected fourteen cone 6 glazes that I want to test. That's a lot you ask? Yes it is! I have made a ton of test tiles and I will be mixing up 100 gram batches of each glaze over the next week or so. I should get a lot done this weekend since the Gators don't play. Here are the glazes along with their formulas:

Floating Blue
Nephaline Syenite 47.30
Gerstely Borate 27.00
Kaolin/EPK 5.40
Silica 20.30
Cobalt Oxide 1.00
Red Iron Oxide 2.00
Bentonite 1.00
Rutile 4.00

Randy's Red
Silica 30.00
EPK 5.00
Soda Feldspar (Kona F-4) 20.00
Talc 14.00
Gerstley Borate 31.00
Red Iron Oxide 15.00

Dolomite 23.30
Spodumene 23.30
Ferro Frit 3134 6.80
Kentucky Ball Clay (OM4) 23.30
Silica (Flint) 23.30
Red Iron Oxide 1.07
Yellow Ochre 3.24
Tin Oxide 4.85
Bentonite 1.94

Cream Rust
Custer Feldspar 26.60
Strontium Carbonate 3.30
Ferro Frit 3134 30.60
Wollastonite 10.60
Talc 2.30
EPK 8.40
Silica 18.20
Red Iron Oxide 6.00
Tin Oxide 13.00

Tennessee Ball Clay #5 20.00
F-4 Feldspar 50.00
Gerstley Borate 5.00
Whiting 15.00
Zinc Oxide 5.00
Flint (325 Mesh) 5.00
Black Nickel Oxide 2.00
Cobalt Carbonate 1.00

Whiting 9.50
Zinc Oxide 5.50
Ferro Frit 3124 44.50
Custer Feldspar 20.00
Bentonite 7.50
EPK/Kaolin 5.00
Silica 8.00
Tin Oxide 9.00
Red Iron Oxide 3.00

Speckled Glaze
Gerstley Borate 59.00
Talc 41.00
Rutile 18.00

White Glaze
Dolomite 23.00
Nephaline Syenite 72.00
Ball Clay 5.00
Tin Oxide 8.00
Red Iron Oxide 1.00
Bentonite 2.00

Brown Slip
Ferro Frit 3124 10.00
Nephline Syenite 10.00
EPK/Koalin 40.00
Kentucky Ball Clay (OM4) 30.00
Silica 10.00
Red Iron Oxide 8.00

Ron Roy Black
Talc 3.00
Whiting 6.00
Kona F-4 Feldspar 21.00
Ferro Frit 3134 26.00
EPK/Kaolin 17.00
Silica 27.00
Cobalt Carbonate 1.00
Red Iron Oxide 9.00

Waterfall Brown
Formula not printed - see book Mastering Cone 6 Glazes

Caribbean Sea Green
Formula not printed - see book Mastering Cone 6 Glazes

Variegated Blue
Formula not printed - see book Mastering Cone 6 Glazes

Raw Sienna
Formula not printed - see book Mastering Cone 6 Glazes

Am I crazy for testing so many glazes?  The answer is most certainly 'yes'.  More to come...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

It's Time To Make The Doughnuts

Extreme times call for extreme measures. In this case, extreme climate and heat call for extreme measures. My studio has a wall AC unit but it is only used when I'm in there. During the day it can reach 110 degrees. The clay I use (Highwater) comes in a box with two twenty-five pound pugs of clay. Each is wrapped in plastic and it's end is folded over. The weight of the pug keeps the fold closed so the clay doesn't dry out. That's not always the case. I do find, more often than I would like, clay that has gotten somewhat dry. Clay that, at the time of purchase, was soft is now not nearly as soft. Therefore I decided to remove the pugs of clay from the boxes and wrap each in another plastic bag. The outer bag is taped closed.  This should keep the clay nice and soft.  

I got a great suggestion from a pottery website for mixing small 100-gram test batches of clay. They recommended using a milkshake maker to mix the glaze. I went out and bought one yesterday ($19.95)...

I should be posting the glazes I will be testing, along with their formulas, in the next couple of days.  

Sunday, September 7, 2008

More Test Tiles

My goal today was to make test tiles out of the new stoneware (Ellen Buff). I like throwing test tiles as a ring and cutting them out. I add a pattern to them to see how the glaze breaks as well as a hole so I can hang them from a nail to save space.

All done...

I also made some terra sigillata out of Highwater Raku clay. I have a batch that I made using Little Loafers (Highwater white cone 6 stoneware) that I use for stoneware. I wanted some for raku to really shine up the surface of the pots. The Red, Blue, Black raku glaze I use really has a nice shine on a smooth surface.  Below is a picture of the first step - dissolving clay in water...

Tomorrow I will add sodium silicate to it and wait another 24 hours before siphoning off the terra sigillata.  

I didn't spend too much time in the studio today but got some things done that needed to get done. I hope to have enough greenware to bisque fire again in a couple of weeks. After that firing I will start the glaze testing. I am about to decide on the glazes to test. I will post them as soon as I know which ones make the cut!  Talk with you later.

Studio Pics And New Tunes

One thing, in my opinion, that is critical for a studio is music. Until today I had been using an old stereo box from the early 1980s. It didn't work so well and I've been complaining about it since setting up the studio. I put aside my procrastinating ways yesterday and bought a new stereo. I can now connect my iTouch! I ran the speakers to each side of the studio and mounted them in the corner below the ceiling.  

The building I use as my studio was a storage building when I bought the House.  I had to run water and power to it.

Here is my wheel...

The wedging table I built last year...

My L&L electric kiln...

Glazes buckets...

Looking left from the wheel...

Looking right from the wheel...

I plan on spending the afternoon in the studio.  I need to throw some additional test tiles with the new stoneware (Ellen Buff) and start organizing my glaze formulas to make 100 gram batches of test glaze.