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.  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

Kyusu Teapot

Teapot Tuesday - Kyusu   4-15-14

Kyusu Teapot and Tea Bowls
by DirtKicker Pottery

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.    

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 inlay 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 :)