Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Well, not exactly clay, but I'm enjoying myself none the less. Hope everyone has a Happy Holiday! I'm signing off until next year. See you in 2009!



Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cone 04 Lizard Skin Glaze

Thought I'd share one of my favorite new glazes.
Cone 04 Lizard Skin

40 Magnesium Carbonate
15 Lithium Carbonate
10 Borax
20 Gerstley Borate
5 Silica
20 Nepheline Syenite
5 Rutile

It crawls best when applied thick. For more low-fire cone 04 glaze recipes check here.

Happy Glazing!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Today's Glazing Results

Here are some of the glaze test results I unloaded today. I was layering 2 red commercial glazes underneath and on top of some of the glazes I just mixed. I'm trying to tone down that bright fire engine red.

It's definitely hard to tell what's going on in this picture. The surfaces and colors really need to be studied up close and in person. But there were a handful I liked. Maybe I should explain a little bit about what I look for in a "good" glaze. Since my work is sculptural, I don't worry about whether a glaze is food safe, dishwasher safe, etc. Usually, the stranger the glaze, the more I like to use it. What some potters might consider "defects" in their glazes, I love for my work! I love crawly, crackly, beady, crunchy, crazy glazes.

Here's my current glaze tile chart with my both my old glazes and my 24 new ones added. The 2 rows at the bottom involve layering glazes and were also unloaded from the kiln today.
That it for today's glaze report. Thanks for tuning in!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cone 04 Glaze Testing Madness

Thought I'd share a few images of the latest batch of test tiles to come out of the kiln. The goal with these was to see how different glazes would look when layered on top of one another. As expected, some of these were really hideous.
But I did find 15 with some potential.
Today, the plan was to just straighten up the studio so it would be ready to go after the holidays. I had test tiles covering basically every horizontal surface, and it was time to box/trash many of them. But... as soon as I went out to the studio and saw those tiles (no, I didn't run away), I was compelled to do yet another round of testing! You would think it would have the opposite effect, and seeing tiles everywhere would prevent one from feeling the need/desire to test even more. But not me! I have the kiln going again with the 3rd batch!

This could really be a never ending cycle if I don't get a hold of it soon! Each tile just seems to give me more ideas of how to test and improve my glazes. However, I did decide that the testing madness must come to an end tomorrow. It will be time to move onto implementing these new glazes into my work. (well, not a complete end of testing. I'm sure I won't be able to resist sneaking in a tile or two into upcoming firings...)

Thank you for following along in my quest for amazing Cone 04 glazes!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Yes, Yes, Still Testing.

Back at glazing again today. Of my 24 favorites from my previous testing, I chose 9 to cross/layer with each other to see what kind of effects I can achieve. (I actually would have liked to test more, but I ran out of bisque tiles.) My goal is to have these new glazes ready for new ceramic work by 2009.

Tonight, I'm waiting for a kiln to cool so I can load up these and fire away. Yesterday I fired a small load with experimental glass work. I'm anxious to see those results as well.

I've been doing some much needed computer work while I wait for that kiln to cool. Hopefully I have things straightened out with Blogger. I made some changes to my my format and feed burner. Wow, do these things take time! It's been tough for me trying to figure out how to do all this fancy web-stuff. Thank you Ang, Brian and Will for your advice and on-line tutorial recommendations. I can use all the help I can get.

Hope you're doing well wherever you may be.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Problems with Blogger?

Is anyone else having problems with their comments section on Blogger?!?

I've had people tell/email me they've commented but I have yet to receive their remarks. Just now I had several older comments awaiting moderation, but they just showed up today. If you commented and I haven't responded, I apologize. I promise I wasn't ignoring you. AND, I seem to be getting junk-type comments for random medical prescriptions.

Help? Any ideas? Hopefully I'll be able to get your suggestions.

A bit frustrated,

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Back to Glass

In Monday's post I talked a little about how I'm hoping to get back to incorporating glass in my clay work. Yesterday, I spent the afternoon cutting strips of Bullseye Compatible fused glass, so that I could see the color palette I had to work with. Quite a range, and similar to some of my new glazes.

Since the show 2008 season has has pretty much come to an end for me, I'm hoping I can spend the next few weeks just experimenting and "playing" in the studio. It seems to be time for me to push my work and challenge myself. I usually find these studio days extremely refreshing and needed. It keeps me excited about my work and helps nurture those creative ideas.

[An older piece with clear float glass slumped into the "window"]

I've been craving more color in my work. Not bright, flasy colors, but more a little more color nonetheless. Maybe it's been the influence of living in Florida the last 2 years where is 70 degrees in December. Whatever it is, start looking for new/experimental work in 2009. I'll try to share pictures of both the good, and not-so-good ideas.

I hope your finding ways this holiday season to enjoy life and do the things that make you happy.


PS - I added a "Currently Reading" section at the bottom right hand side of this blog. My library list is quite long and growing. But, I'd love for you to share any good books you've read lately.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Glazes - Full Spectrum Results

My 250+ test tiles came out of the kiln this weekend. Overall, I was very pleased with the results. Some nice surprises, interesting textures, and great colors.

It amazes me how the same amounts of the same colorant added to different base glazes can produce such different results. Look at the ranges of blues from cobalt carbonate or greens chrome oxide!
[Cone 04 ceramic glaze test tiles using line blends of (L-R) dark rutile, red iron oxide, cobalt carbonate, chromium oxide, copper carbonate. The single tile to the far right is the base glaze with no additives.]

Of course, there were still some things I wanted to work that didn't turn out. But here are my 24 favorite. And to think, I was only hoping for 10! All that mixing and calculation was worth the time and energy.
I thought that I'd be so sick of mixing glazes that I wouldn't want to even look at the triple beam balance much less strap on a respirator and start adding chemicals together. But I was so excited when I saw some of these, that I was back at it yesterday. Unfortunately, I ran out of a few materials, so I'll be placing an order with Highwater Clays this afternoon.

I'm hoping this increased color palette will allow me to get back to working more mixed media - incorporating both glass and clay in my sculptural forms. I've often felt like the clay/glass combinations in my work compete with each other, so I'm hoping to find a pleasing harmony of sorts now.

For all you low-fire potters and ceramic artists out there reading this - stay tuned. I'm planning on posting a few glaze recipes once I get a few more of the kinks worked out.

Thank you to everyone for stopping in. Hope you're enjoying your day, wherever you are. Time for me to get off the computer and get to the studio!


Friday, December 5, 2008

Testing, 1, 2... 300!

Well, I think it's actually more like 250-something. Seriously! I spent all week mixing up test glazes. It took much, much longer than I anticipated. Guess, I really hadn't done the math to figure out just how many new glazes I wanted to try. (Thanks John Britt for giving me so many ideas during our workshop!)

I started with 8 base glazes. Sounds simple enough. Then, for each one I wanted to test various stains/oxides/colorants. So, I the picked between 5-8 oxides for each base glaze. THEN, I wanted to see what varying amounts/percentages of the oxides would do, so that I would have a gradation of color.
[Unfired Test Tiles]

I lost count of exactly how many of these line blends I did, but they're all in the kiln now, cooling down. Tomorrow will be the moment of truth. My goal is to find new cone 04 textured/crawling glazes and to expand my current color palette. If I get 10 out of this firing that I like, I figure I'm doing pretty good.
This was actually only the first series of tests I hope to do this month. (Though the thought of mixing any more at the moment makes my head spin a bit.) The plan is to take the successful glazes from this batch and cross them with each other.

So, tomorrow morning will feel like an early Christmas when I open the kiln. Cant wait!

Thanks for taking the time to stop in and see what I've been up to in the studio.