On a beautiful rainy Saturday I find myself in a fantastic mood, accomplishing chores around the house and letting things flow as they want.
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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!
Finished product drying. The slip covered tiles are not pretty but they’ll get the job done.
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.
This morning I went on a river hike with a friend of mine from the DNR down the Chattahoochee river. We found some interesting mineral deposits and this one is inspiring me color wise for a new pot!
I came home and had a nap and some time with Benjamin and began the task I have been putting off for a while. Not because I didn’t think it wouldn’t be fun but just because of the amount of time it takes. I spent about 4 hours on this. That is with having a good bit of clay already bisque fired and ready to apply glaze.
I had to create a bunch more of the test tiles and let glaze dry before doing the combination dips. I’m so glad its done though. I’ll have a library of color combinations on several clay bodies. I do want to try some Potter’s Choice glazes from Amaco next.
Adding more glazes means infinitely expanding test runs though. I think I’m going to stick with the best of what I have here and discard what I dont like. I’ll just keep building the clay body and glaze combinations I like until I have a palate to work with and to call my own.
By the way here is what our garage looks like in the middle of the move. I think you can see the kickwheel back there with a few pot on it. It’s an adventure getting back there. I don’t think I’ll get to spin any more pots until after we are in the new place. Firing to commence in a few days to cone 6 after the test tiles dry completely.
Ben is into these little pinch pots with lids lately. Very cute.
This bisque firing went OK. I had two pots break because I was too impatient with the drying process on a few pots. I figured a day to dry and then a full night with a box fan on top of the kiln was sufficient to remove the moisture. Only one real loss though with an orb pot that I made.
The clear crackle raku glaze at cone 04 was VERY interesting with some bubbles being trapped. There was no crazing that I saw on the Raven clay. I am thinking about doing a pot in raven slip, firing it to cone 6 and then re-firing to cone 04 with the raku glaze. I’m contacting the manufacturer to see if it would be food safe as long as there is no crazing. Almost a frozen root beer effect with a lot of depth. Not sure how it will turn out on a cone 6 fired body and then re-firing but we shall see.
Surprisingly on the raku clay there was a bit of crazing.
And here they are all together. The red clay body took the glaze very nicely and there was no crazing at all, just a deep clear glossy finish over a terracotta color.
Only one of the batches of processed clay kind of held up cone 04 firing, and that was batch 01. It makes a nice slip too so far. I really still want to fire the rest of these to cone 6 just to see what it will do. Some of the flakes of minerals in the sandy clay would make an almost glittery surface if they were to adhere to the surface of a vessel. Experimenting is fun!