Testing rolls right along

So I’ve got all the chemicals I need to make a vast amount of glazes in my simple palate and color range. Testing to cone 8 in my electric kiln so I can tweak it as close as I can before putting it into the big gas fired kiln at cone 10.

  • Zircopax white over temmoku
  • White over Celadon
  • Temmoku over Celedon with a dip into the red iron oxide (FE2O3) as a differentiator test
  • Clear glaze by itself
  • Zircopax white by itself.

Im really excited about these simple glaze combinations. Along with red wild clay slip from the lake and black slip that goes to cone 10 I have a wide range of decorating possibilities to play with.

Previous Celadon glaze tests with incrementing FE2O3 from 2% to 12%


Testing the specific gravity of the glaze with hydrometer.


The only thing I may want to do different is to get more flux into the white glaze to have it run, almost like a Nuka style glaze over Temmoku.

John Britt’s Complete guide to High Fire Glazes has enough information to keep me busy for many years! Big thanks to Jay Benzel of Benzel Pottery for loaning it out to me.

Another thing I was working on was pulling technique and made a nice delicate serving spoon. Beautiful right?!

Not anymore! Haha! The spoon is just a spoon.  That’ll learn me to put stuff on the counter!

Upcoming

Spring, I find, is a renewal of life and life takes work. Hopefully its the work of living harmoniously with the cycles that it brings, which doesn’t seem much like work, just more like life.

The forsythia blooms just happen. When we work to become ourselves sometimes we get in our own way.

I have a new load of pottery to photograph and some things on the horizon with my friend and instructor, Jay Benzel.

I’m also working with a few people to bring something special to the blog that I hope you will enjoy. The process will take a few weeks but it will be well worth it.

Decoration and Calligraphy

Ok so this will be a short post but necessary for me to keep the ideas coming and stored away for future reference.

So in the past month I’ve learned more about ceramics and pottery through Ohi Toshio and Jay Benzel than in the past 2 years combined. Youtube and friends on Facebook are nice for ideas and can steer you in a general direction but there is no substitute for hands on watching an 11th generation master at work or working hands on with someone who has thrown over 100,000 pots in the past two decades or so.

I worked with Jay from Benzel Pottery yesterday and made a few Yunomi and some mugs. Very excited that my throwing skills are improving. I have shied away from the wheel so that I didn’t pick up any bad habits and just been doing pinched vessels and slab construction and just playing around with some ideas so that I can stay in it with the clay.

We did some basic decoration with porcelain slip and it got me thinking about Calligraphy and the pens and brushes that they use. Straight up and down with a calligraphy pen and you get a straight narrow line. Then side to side gives you a thick line. Now add in the variables of curls and motion and you get the graceful transformation of thick and thin. This is not the best example in the world but it demonstrates the point.

calligraphica

So I want to go and get some finger paints. ALWAYS back to the basics. Back to childhood where life was simple and direct and the true spirit of the creative desire lives without complication. Closer to the “source”. Which in my mind, means pure potential.

finger painting

So one finger can go in any direction leaving a single line, thicker or thinner. Introduce another finger and you have another dynamic to deal with how far the fingers are apart. Introduce a third and a fourth or a fifth and the variables grow considerably. Now, I’m not looking for “too much”. Never, ever too much. Always “just enough” is where I want to be. As much done as needs doing and no more.

This leads into a conversation with my wife about a collection of pottery being like an album. A cohesive whole. I completely understand that and I want to focus on a few standard shapes and designs of my own so that I can repeatedly throw them and have a cohesive collection. This in addition to experimentation of course.

This is something that you can never complete. You can never truly be done. In a conversation I had with Jay last night. “Why would you want to get into something you’d never finish?” A very hard question indeed and one that warrants its own post I guess. I’ll work on that sometime 😉