Saturday, 29 January 2011

Some new pots.

Bowls, mugs, beakers, tea bowls of a fashion and pouring bowls (without handles.)

Monday, 24 January 2011

New pots!

Well actually they're not that new - came out of the kiln on Saturday morning.  They're ok - the tankards are suitably oversized and slightly wobbly/loose - the mugs are ok and the yunomi burn your hands if you put tea in them (but reports suggest they're very good for wine and milk.)

Pots are for sale on my etsy shop here.

There will be more pots soon-ish, but at the moment, nothing is drying!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Glaze Test Results

So I've done a couple of quick glaze tests based on some recipes that were given or which I've pinched from elsewhere.  Simple stuff really.

The first is a clear glaze, 80% Lead Bisilicate (LBS) and 20% Hyplas ball clay.  It has a nice creamy colour to it - no crackling that I can see, despite already being filled with hot water.  There are a lot of bubbles in it - I added an extra-thick pour to the patterned areas.  I like the bubbles but I'm not sure if it's a hazard or not.  In the foot ring, there are more bubbles - a bit rougher but it's ok.  I like.

The second one is 80% LBS, 10% FFF feldspar, 10% Hyplas.  I've also added some cobalt to the previous glaze - just a smidgen - and splashed some on the top, to see what it's like.  As you can see, I didn't mix the cobalt in very well - I didn't sieve it.

Again, I like.  Many more bubbles, good colour, nice where thick.

Well, I'm not sure you'll be able to see it in the next picture, but... it's coming away from the rims.  Well, it isn't, but it looks like it is.  There are lines and I'm not sure if it's cracking in the glaze where it's starting to shimmer off, or just marks in the underlying slip.  I'm assuming the former, because the others look ok to me.  Shame.  This is, I think, Paul Young's recipe, there abouts - different clays and feldspars though, probably, so not at all the same in reality.

Lastly, my original glaze - in fact, from the bucket of glaze I used last time.  I like it still - funny yellow though - in the foot ring, went sort of a snotty green, though.  A few bubbles and just one bubble has burst and given me a blister.  But it was much better than before.

I managed to get cone 02 bent right over, and 01 was starting to go.

Not sure what the conclusion is - I like the first glaze - simple - and my original glaze.  But, the pots have a slightly flat feel to them.  Dunno what to do about that.  It felt less so when they were fired hotter and the decoration started to melt in to the glaze.

I think too that I need to consider my decoration a bit more, perhaps, as some of the marks weren't nice.  A black slip would be good too (I've been keeping scrap red clay - turnings and off bits - to slake in to a slip.)  Decoration isn't my forte, unfortunately.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Slipping and cutting.

Today I've slipped some mugs and cut some feet.  The mugs are very Doug-esque, I'm afraid - just simple marks.  Not sure what they'll look like with a glaze on them.

I did three small ones with slip inside as well as out.  They weren't quite so successful.

For a start they changed shape slightly:

My slip was very thick and the pots probably a touch too wet still.  I am prone to impatience.  Thanks to Doug, Ron and Paul J I have adjusted my slip and I've slipped one pot just on the inside, which I'm going to let dry before I do the outside.

I cut some feet too.  Four yunomi and a couple of tea bowls:

I say tea bowls, but they're not really - they're probably too big for a start.  No japanese person would recognise them as such, I don't think.  The feet look fancy until you get up close  - the cross-cut one is a bit of a mess, but I made it a bit better with the help of a sponge.  It was too big for my wire.  I like cut feet like this.

Here are some beakers I threw yesterday, waiting to be fettled and slipped - almost all the same size.  Not bad considering I've been out of it for three months.

That's all for now.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Glazing and stuff.

 Ron asked about what glaze I am using.  It's a simple one - 8 parts lead bisilicate, 1 part flint and 1 part clay.  To get a honey glaze I add some iron oxide and a proportion (random) of the clay element is the body clay.  But, in order to bulk it out, I try and use a fair bit of hyplas as I've found the glaze a bit runny otherwise.  The recipe ingredients are what I had to hand and matched Mary Wandrausch's glaze, but the proportions are, i think, those of Paul Young's glaze (taken from the slipware book.)  I like simple glaze recipes like that.

Here's a first stab from last year:

As you can see, the glaze is quite rich but full of little blisters.  I quite liked the result except for the blisters, but I do know that it got quite hot, but how hot I don't know.  I didn't have any cones other than cone 1 and that went completely flat.

I thought I'd try again, anyway, but I bought some more cones.  Here's the result.

This time, I got cone 1 to go over perfectly (or was it 01?)  But still, blisters.  Far fewer blisters though.  And the glaze isn't as rich, although it was a remixed batch.  I don't like this nearly as much.  My only resort now is to mix another batch and fire even lower - cone 01 or cone 02.  I bisqued quite highly too, but I don't think I'll do that again - over 1000 degrees before, but I think I'll stick to my usual 980 or so this time.

I am dipping the glaze on to the pots, and I'm wondering whether to use a brush instead.  Thoughts?  I know I can get nearer the foot that way.

On that second batch of mugs and beakers I tried a black slip, without success.  As you can see it's just brown:

I think I might add some colour by mixing a clear version of the glaze and adding some oxides - small amounts of copper and cobalt should do for some colourful splashes and dots.

Another thing I did was to glaze all over, and use stilts in the kiln.  I like this, but the stilts I bought were far too small, so on my second attempt, a load of pots just fell over (the cats jump up on the kiln to keep warm.) I won't do that this time, but wondering whether the pots need wadding or not.  Do they?

Anyway, I'm no where near firing anything yet - it's so cold here, all the pots are in the house, but still they don't dry out.

Anyone any thoughts on what I've said?

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

A new year, a new blog.

Here we go again.  I've blogged on and off since 2005 and this is my third incarnation.  I wonder how long this one will last.

At the present time, I am completely out of money - virtually no savings left.  I should be looking for a new job urgently, but for some reason I have embarked on making, not just new pots but a new type of pot.

These are earthenware pots - slipware - different clay, different style of decoration, lower temperature.  The firings are much easier - there's no chopping of wood or lengthy processes of stoking and staying awake - they get put in the kiln, it fires overnight, and they're there in the morning.

The difficulty for me is that I relied on the fire to decorate the pots, because it's something I'm not very good at.  But i can dip things in slip and make marks, which for the time being, will have to do.  But I'm trying to make a similar set of pots that I made for wood-firing, so this is a take on the traditional English slipware tradition, I hope - tea bowls, yunomis, beer tankards and mugs are what I've made so far.

I will need at some point to think of a way of selling these once they're complete and if they come out ok (more on that later.)  Any ideas would be gratefully received.  So far, I have sold on ebay and through fairs.  I am not doing any fairs this year as they were largely a money pit.  I have sold a few items on ebay.  I will try etsy again.  Local markets - especially in Cambridge.  Any more ideas?

I reckon I have about four weeks to make this work or I am in big trouble.