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! 🔥🔥

Motif

From Wikipedia – In music, a motif or motive is a short musical idea, a salient recurring figure, musical fragment or succession of notes that has some special importance in or is characteristic of a composition: “The motive is the smallest structural unit possessing thematic identity”.

In my last firing I started thinking about decoration of my vessels. After a decade in photography I realized that I had an enormous amount of knowledge and was able to solve just about anything that came along. I had my own language.

So now I have a template to go by for learning and mastering what I want to create in ceramics. The template is repetition, the ability to solve problems and exercising your imagination. Once you  get it rolling you are able to create a motif of your own with infinite variations.

Small guinomi / shot glass from the recent firing. Nuka over Temmoku on white clay body in cone 10 reduction.

“Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment.”
– Zig Ziglar

You start with the basics: Color & Texture.

  • Single Solid Color
  • Blending of two or more solid colors
  • Floating colors
  • Creating Breaks
  • Where do you create the delineations of colors / textures / shapes
  • Color Combinations – What looks good together
  • The breaks can be on any part of the vessel, what parts look good?
  • Patterns, both in color and or texture
  • Other things I cant think of at the moment

The sketchbook is out and I’ll try on paper each variation and combination and see what suits me. The happy accidents are the deviations that can lead you down a new path.

Memorial day firing

Had a great time glazing and firing some greenware with some new glazes and found probably one of my most favorite – temmoku! Oh it breaks just so perfectly and no pinholes on the white body. On red it is black with a complex mix of matte and shiny black spots. Just beautiful.

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I tried some iron oxide colorant but that is finicky for me at least with the clay body I am currently using. A thick mix of iron oxide in a spray bottle seems to show some promise as long as you don’t let it run. The key is to get the droplets but not let them collect and pool. I think that a very thick application for drawing or accenting certain parts of the pot might be interesting but it didn’t turn out nearly as expected. I feel that it will be very specialized application only and that I’ll use it when I find the need.

Still getting some pinholing with certain glazes even with the tips mentioning a slower cooling period. I will try a soak for 30 minutes next time to see if that’s the ticket. I’m slowly but surely working out what glazes to use on what bodies to get the best effects. Firing journal is very helpful.