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.

First pot in the new house

Well we are still adjusting. Just loving the new house. Like when you fall in love and time goes slow and fast at once. Feels like we’ve been here forever and only a day at the same time.

Got all the supplies out and spun my first pot in a month. To be honest I was afraid of the clay. You have that expectation: “Oh I need to make something awesome”. Once I let go of that thought its fine and you just do the work.

The pot turned out alright and I gave it a texture of small hills in the middle section. Not exactly what I had in mind but it was alright. Getting better at the rims. Nobody wants to sip from a cup with sharp edges or a rough surface. I find that the cheap eyeglass cleaners that end up in the junk drawers cut into 1″ x 4″ work very well for this task.


I always start off with 14 oz of clay and end up with a bunch carved off so each pot ends up being a different weight at the end. I am realizing that 14 oz of clay should end up being about 14 oz after I’m done, at least when wet, so that I can make repeatable objects.

I’m also thinking about my inspirations for new vessels. Color wise I might just do a white slip and a black slip and see how many combinations I can come up with. In fact I could even do a white on white stoneware and see how many combinations I get. I can think of dozens of ways to decorate using slip, wax, wipe, dip, dunk, splash, brush, hakeme brush, etc… Actually now I’m getting excited.

The raku clay has treated me nicely as far as firing goes. I would prefer something with less grog for throwing though. I need 2 white clay bodies so I can make one into a slip of a slightly different white.


Random 4:30AM Inspiration

Some random 4:30AM ceramics inspiration. Based on a winter scene I found. The clay body being sky grey and slipped with contrasting black. Inspiration for vessels is literally EVERYWHERE! Nature, man made items, man’s interaction with nature, the great void, & the great potential. It may not always resonate with me and turn out to be something I want to create but its out there.