My Friend Greg from Schulz Pottery, working out of Canton, GA, is doing some amazing sgraffito work! This is where the work is dipped into one or more alternate colors of slip and the design is literally scratched and carved into the surface. This creates texture, either subtle or pronounced. Keep in mind this is all unfired greenware. It takes over 2 hours or more to create these designs plus the time it takes to throw and form each vessel. I can’t wait to see them when they are fresh out of the kiln!
First thing to test is the kiln. If it is over firing or some other malfunction is going on its of no use to be even attempting to make a base glaze. Sarah from Olympic Kilns gave me a few cones to test with. I’ll place on each shelf so we can see if we are getting even heating from top to bottom. One thing I noticed in the last firing was that the click to turn on the elements stayed on longer than I heard it before. Almost a full 60 seconds. I don’t know if that has anything to do with it, but we’ll see.
I keep notes of glaze tests that I’ve done in the past but got a great tip from Jason and Megan at Stone Mountain Clay and Glaze – Keep a firing log and record the times that it takes to reach temperature and I suppose its good protocol to record the cooling times to room temperature as well. This will tell you if your elements are going bad or a thermocouple or something like that. Or maybe in my case if it runs very short and over-firing we’ll know by the time it is supposed to take to reach temperature. I’m trying to eliminate as many variables as possible as is standard in just about every type of troubleshooting.
Also on order and will be here shortly:
Amaco Hydrometer – for measuring and keeping a consistent glaze density
The range for dipping or pouring glazes is 0.9 to 1.00.
The range for spraying glazes is 1.5 to 1.7.
The range for brushing glazes is 2.2-2.5.
Kemper DTA Glaze Dipping Tongs – Because I’m tired of brushing on glaze and getting inconsistent applications.
Aftosa Wax Resist – For creating a more precise glaze line on the feet of my pots.
Stainless 8 Inch Caliper – I really really want to get into making lidded vessels.
Ozeri Pronto Digital Scale – Need precise measurements for each ingredient (duh!)
For those interested in the base glaze recipe that I intend to match to my white clay body
Recipe – Plainsman Cone 6 M370 Transparent Liner Base
|Ferro Frit 3134||25.40||kg|
So I am getting better at carving my feet and they are looking good. However when handling I realized that I had made a “mistake”. The edges are sharp and do not feel good in the hand. I’m getting the form the way I want but I think I just need to tweak it a bit.
Another realization that I had is that the types of modifications you make to your work are sometimes born out of the way you work. Little mistakes can begin to form new pathways to other places. The direction you lean to observe the profile of the vessel makes a difference in the way you may approach what you think the completed piece will be. The amount and types of tools you use… What you had for breakfast… My pieces are minimal and will always be very minimal. I am finding that minimalism in my workflow as well I only need 5 tools:
- Throwing stick
- Small metal rib
- Cutting wire
- Small carving tool
Here is my latest foot carving which is deeper and more rounded and feels a lot better in the hand.
I got a bag of iron oxide from my supplier and did some experiments with this. This is a brushed heavy coat.
This is a light application via a spray bottle. I think the key is not to let any of the liquid “gather”. You can see on the rear or the bowl that it creates an interesting watermark but that inst quite what I was going for at the time. I think it might have potential as an accent type of modifier on rims and such. The next firing I do I will glaze over the iron oxide to see how it reacts. Also will spray directly onto the glaze to see if the application on top makes a difference in the end result.