Understanding Core Materials

Years and years ago I got up the courage to develop my own black and white film after reading an article that gave me the very basics in a way that I could understand. That understanding only took place after researching over the period of many months.

I’m experiencing the same thing with glazing. After seeing the results of cone 10 glazing and seeing the depth that it creates I’m ready to take it on.

Cone 6 in oxidation just pales in comparison. It looks as if there is a film of glass on top of some clay. Sure some of it looks good but cone 10 just has something that makes it sing. It’s as if the glaze is a part of the clay itself.

This article from Ceramic Arts Daily, along with John Britt’s excellent books on mid range and high fire glazes just pushed the right buttons for me and I’m ready to go.

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I had previously bought chemicals for some cone 6 testing so I have a lot of 2 gallon buckets with a lot of the chemicals I need but cone 10 calls for some specifics. So I’m off to my supplier in a few days to pick up the rest of what I need.

I’ve made up some small pinch pots to test without fear of melting stuff to the kiln shelf. These will also be to test the creation of a black englobe to go along with the buff white clay body I’m using. I want to get 2 complimentary glazes, and with the color of the at body and a black englobe I will have a decent start for decorating and making functional wares with my OWN glazes.

I’m very excited to get some good reliable glazes:

  • Temmoku
  • Celedon
  • Oribe
  • Cream White
  • Nuka

🔥🔥 I’m fired up! 🔥🔥

More Glaze Testing

On a beautiful rainy Saturday I find myself in a fantastic mood, accomplishing chores around the house and letting things flow as they want.

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Today I’m making test tiles and planning more experiments based on the cone 6 accident where the white glaze over iron oxide ended up clear and giving a slight sheen and some tooth to the clay. I have a lot of tiles already but most of the early tests are not to my liking. I’m honing in on my color palate and once I get that down I can better create what it is that is “previsualized” in my head.

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(On a side note I’ve been looking for some wooden stands for festival displays and found these for $5 at Family Dollar of all places. its meant as an over the sink shelf. Cant go wrong with that price)

Previsualization is the key to a lot of arts. Photography comes to mind and its where I learned to see the finished outcome before I made my adjustments and pressed the shutter. Ansel Adams was a master of that. What he had in his head he was able to bring out in the darkroom.

Here is how I make my test tiles.  I roll out the clay suppporting the rolling pin between two yardsticks to get a consistent thickness. I then use the same yardstick as a guide to cut the strips and make them 3 inches long.

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I line up the cut strips and mark them at 1 1/2″ at each end of the line. Then use the yardstick again to score a bit less than halfway through the group to give a place to bend it at around a 9o degree angle.

 

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Then from the kitchen or wherever I get something that can give some scoring to the top of the tiles so that I can see how the glaze performs when it pools.

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Also I am dipping a few of these into black slip as I am obsessed with the way some of the glazes turn out on a dark body. Yep I’m wearing gloves, this slip is messy!

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Finished product drying. The slip covered tiles are not pretty but they’ll get the job done.

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Next up I need to do a batch with my red clay. When they are dry I will bisque fire to cone 04. I will keep some of these without glaze and fire to cone 6 so that I can test a few glazes over the iron oxide and black slip. Cone 6 is vitrified so I expect that the tiles wont pick up much of the glaze at all but I might come into something interesting. If its interesting and repeatable I want to continue testing it 🙂

This is the “boring” part of ceramics. The tedious testing and logging but with the occasional surprise that makes you go “Hmmmm… what if I ….”. And also the test tiles that you hate may end up growing on you after a while. Or if not they might spark an idea for another avenue of experimentation.