Friday, May 23, 2014

Glaze Test Tiles are Fired

After firing this mish-mash of test tiles I have decided on three base glazes for further testing.

The base glazes I selected are from MC6G. Next I'll run some simple line blends.  

Below are photos of the random recipes that I mixed.

The recipes with % are Mason Stains mixed with different MC6G bases.  The others are well known recipes available online.     

Interesting.. the tile for "Blue Hare" looks very similar to Potter's Choice "Blue Rutile".  

More adventures in glazing to come.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Glaze Recipe Test Tiles

I love the colors on these tiles and they aren't even fired yet.  

When ever I see a cone 6 glaze recipe that interests me, I pin it with intentions of one day testing it.   Months go by and the collection grows.  Finally I get around to testing and while sorting through these glaze recipes I ask myself.. How do I know if these are food safe?  This question is the main reason I'm committed to learning more about glaze chemistry.  I hope to one day be able to read a glaze recipe and based on the ingredients have a good idea if the recipe is food safe or not.   

I'm learning that glaze testing is much more than finding a pretty color and beautiful surface. Making glaze for functional ware comes with a huge responsibility.  Many things to be considered. 

I need to be sure that my pots are 100% safe for food use. I'm learning all I can about leach testing, freezing and boiling testing and dishwasher testing. 

Even though many of these recipes are fairly well know glazes, I will still share my firing results.

Have a great glaze day!     

Monday, April 28, 2014

Studying Glaze Chemistry

Understanding glaze chemistry has never come easy to me.   I have to work very hard for it to sink in and make sense.   In the past I avoided putting in the time to learn the science behind making glazes, even though I really had an interest.   There are so many varibles, it's easy to over-think the process and make it more complex than it needs to be.

Yesterday I woke up with thoughts of glaze testing consuming my mind.  I got out the Glaze Master Guide and with much determination I worked my way through the program.  To help me better understand some of the chemistry concepts I referred to the books "Mastering Cone 6 Glazes" and "The Complete Guide to High-Fire Glazes". 

Learning about the "Seger Unity Formula" is a hurdle that I'm still struggling to fully understand.  The problem with my brain is that I'm not good at just accepting a concept, I always think deeper and want to know why.   I'm learning that sometimes I just have to accept the concept and trust that the why will reveal itself as I continue to study glaze.

I cracked open John Britt's "Understanding Glazes" DVD. The DVD is a great intro to glaze chemistry.  
John gives a quick run through of different ways to test. He simplifies what glaze is chemically.  He talks about many individual chemicals, explaining what category they belong and a brief about what they do.  
* Glass former =  RO2 
*Melter / Flux = RO, R2O
*Stabiliser / Refractory = R2, O3

10 hours later I had a much better understanding of all the things I still need to learn. Ha! 

My glaze journey has just begun.

Happy Glaze Day!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Glaze testing and listening to Podcasts

 While mixing test glazes I listened to "Tales of a Red Clay Rambler" podcast for the first time.   It was episode 61 which featured Kristen Kieffer, Julia Galloway, and Michael Kline.  It was so good!   I also listened to the Steven Hill episode.  I really enjoyed it.   

Ben Carter does an excellent job hosting.  BTW.. He will be teaching a workshop this summer at Sierra Nevada College.   I might just have to figure out a way to fit the workshop into my budget.  Anyway,  if you haven't already listened to "Tales of a Red Clay Rambler" podcast, you should.  It's a treat.
One of my 2014 goals is to make more of my glazes and do more experimenting.  Buying commercial glaze is crazy expensive and very unfulfilling. 
I'm testing 10 new glazes.  All different base recipes.  
I'm hoping to find some new base glazes that I like, which also work well with my clay body.   Then I can try some blend experiments ala John Britt and see what kind of trouble I get into.
John Britt gave a glaze chemistry workshop at Sierra Nevada College several years ago.  That class was the first time I ever made glaze.   I was fairly new to making pottery and I had no idea how over my head I was.
Everyone else in the class were total glaze freaks and there I was pretending like I had half a clue. 
So John helped me a lot.  He taught me how to convert a recipe and run blend testing.   When the week was over, John told me to take his class again in a few years.   LOL.  
Slow but sure, I'm still working on it and still trying to figure it all out.

Happy glaze day :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Teapot Tuesday - Kyusu

Kyusu Teapot and Tea Bowls
I'm sure I wrote about it before, but I am jinxed when it comes to making teapots.  Goofy things happen every time I make a teapot.  Most of them end up on my seconds shelf. 

Since it's "Teapot Tuesday" (Thanks Gary Rith) I'm sharing the Kyusu I made yesterday.  Yep, I got brave and said forget the jinx, I love making teapots.  

It's been a while, so I'm kind of rusty.  The spout is a little long and low for a kyusu, but it's still a cutie.

Right after I finished the mishima illustration, I dropped the lid.  Ughhh!  Jinx!  It only dropped a few inches, but that was enough to make it completely out of balance.    So I made another lid and now I'm moving on to making a couple more teapots. 

Happy clay day :)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Mothers and Daughters

I received an email a couple months ago asking for 3 heart mugs. When I make my heart mugs I usually don't know the story the mug will be a part of.  I only know that it's about love. 

When I made these 3 mugs it was different.  I knew the love story and it followed me through the entire process.  Thoughts of Mothers and Daughters.  Thoughts of three daughters and a mother who signed her cards to them with hearts.   Three daughters that recently lost their Mom to cancer.  
Rustic Heart Mug

Cara wrote:
"  It was a difficult year for my sisters and I, and although surrounding ourselves with family and friends has helped so much…I have been looking for a daily reminder to focus on life’s happinesses. And there are a lot of them! She may not be able to write me letters signed with her heart anymore, but I know that seeing that heart on my mug every morning will bring a smile to my face, and hopefully my sister’s faces too".

Thank you Cara.  I am honored to make something that will be a remembrance of this Love story.

Truly a reminder for me not to take one day together for granted.

Any conversation is safe with me, I'm here for you any time of day or night. Angry words forgiven and forgot, lessons learned, lessons taught.  Tears shared and understood, triumphs praised and cheered.  A closeness only death can part, Forever I'll carry you in my heart.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Throwing Bowls

Last week I starting throwing bowls. Mostly Large bowls and noodle bowls.


Happy Clay Day!