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! 🔥🔥

On Establishing a Rhythm

Art takes rhythm. Ceramics is no exception and probably needs it moreso than the majority of other art forms. It is especially slow paced and the process from beginning to end to create a piece can be weeks to months depending on firing schedules. Not to mention that it can take years before you truly master your materials. Testing glazes alone will take me many months to complete.

The rhythm with ceramics tends to go at “life pace”. Most of us hold down full time jobs, have families and other obligations to attend to before working on our own projects. It seems that it falls into a slow seasonal rhythm spanning years and this is something that I do not mind.

Winter is spent mostly indoors for me so I tend to work on pinched vessels and things that I can do away from the wheel. Spring is a time for re-invigoration, cleaning the mental  clutter and getting back on the wheel. Summer is hot and with that comes the long days and trying to tighten up with routines. Fall is a magical time where I feel the most creative and bold. We’ll see how it goes over the years and how it gets more integrated with life until the goal of life being pottery and pottery being life comes about.

Here is a nice video on Establishing Rhythm with Dionne Swift. While not specifically a pottery video the core concepts span across mediums.

Establishing a Rhythm from R&A Collaborations on Vimeo.

Interesting Article

A fantastic and interesting article I came across while researching simple glazes – http://www.ceramicstoday.com/articles/alternative_materials.htm

Not only do you get to learn some of the basics of creating glaze but you learn some interesting methods of sourcing the base materials. It still amazes me that thousands of years ago our forefathers discovered that burning clay and using copious amounts of wood ash would produce a primitive glaze. It was all over from there and we’ve been experimenting ever since.

Basic glazes are made up of clay, feldspar, silica, whiting, dolomite, talc, colorants, etc. And here we have an article going into the alternative materials. Our ancestors had to dig this stuff up from the ground. Now we can just go purchase from a ceramics supply store or experiment with “nonstandard” materials which can be purchased from the local hardware or drug store.

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Another nice site for recipes is here – http://glazerecipes.wikispaces.com/