Monday, November 24, 2008

Journey Nov 23 to 30th. Third consultation

I discussed the October firing with Steven as I felt we had rather muddy overall results - I felt that we had had too much reduction. Steven mentioned that he felt that the best reduction results were when the reduction was controlled by the damper. You get less physical signs of reduction but get a more even result in the kiln. If by the gas, then you usually get lots of flames up the chimney. Even minute changes in the setting of the damper and gas can make a huge difference.
I seem to be carrying through with the applique theme with my other pots - though will try some of the stony yellow glaze instead of the Hannah ochre ash. The Hannah ash gives me blistering sometime.
Regarding the teapots - Steven still felt the end was not tapered enough - opening on spout was still a bit too big. As well the squared bottom teapot - the spout addition - the corner was too jarring - did not blend in well. So will work on my spouts and other aspects of the teapot.
The bashed teapot he felt had possibilities - liked the knob which I do as well - I may try some more though I don't think they will sell here. But it was fun to make.
The fish bowls - the circular finger marks were too predictable - acceptable but the uniformity did not go well with the looseness of the rim. Anyway another good session - keeps me enthused and focused a lot more than I was before as I was getting rather discouraged what with the bad glaze results and I felt at a dead end with regards to creativity.
We had our November firing on Thursday - this time the results were even muddier. In the slow cool (from around 1900F to 1500F) for the first half hour the kiln was accidentally in reduction - maybe that muddied the glazes? The fishing lady pot had the blue ash almost an olive colour and the ochre lacked the rich orange brown where thin.

The Stoney Yellow glaze worked quite well on two pots - especially the covered jar.
The fish bowl was not too bad, but the second fish bowl had a lot of blistering on the underside edge - even with the Stoney Yellow. It was on the front bottom shelf and I will try refiring it to see if I can get rid of the blisters. Again could have been due to the reduction during the slow cool. I have been trying to extend the bisque firing or bisqueing twice to see if that reduces the blisters by eliminating all gases from carbon burnout.

On Sat and Sunday our Guild had a workshop by Robert Tetu, a functional potter from southern Ontario. He demonstrated his economical methods of making his pots as time is money when you are trying to earn a living as a potter. Every movement counts - e.g. using a sponge (which he already has in his hand) instead of having to pick up a shammy and using it. Everybody is now anxious to try his faceting techniques.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Journey Nov 9 to 23

I decided to carry on the theme of the fishing lady but incorporating a mirror. Years ago I had made these mirrors, but used a landscape theme. I dried the slab very slowly - pressed between drywall for several weeks before I worked on it - cutting and insetting the thrown mirror edge. Again all was left to equalize for several weeks under plastic.

I made another couple of teapots incorporating Steven's suggestions - a spout that does not flare at the end and a shorted knob. On the first teapot the stamped applique ended up not looking right so I bashed it a bit and then kept bashing the teapot until it looked right. Very therapeutic.

On the second one I decided to apply the stamped applique at a slight angle to give it a looser look. I don't know that I like the spouts - perhaps I should cut them off parallel to the bottom.

Journey Oct 21 - Nov 9th

We had to postpone our gas firing for a week as there was not enough for a kiln load. It seemed to be a rather poor firing - colours a bit muddy. Could have been too much reduction - maybe our oxyprobe is not working that well or it could just have been the loading. However after having all these fishing woman pots sitting around the house I realize that they really are not a very attractive form. Will try and work on that.

I had double bisqued the stoneware pots that were to be ash glazed hoping that it would eliminate some of the blistering. It seemed to have helped though in most cases the ash glaze was a bit too thin so blisters would not have formed anyway.
The fishing woman again ended up badly glazed - not the right thickness in the right spots, though the back again was great. When will I learn - the plain back with the runny ash glazes looks great. The front with all the details is just too much with those glazes. I think I will have too try another glaze on those appliqued pots.
The stony yellow glaze that I got from Steven looked not too bad on stoneware once I had reduced the iron. So will perhaps try that glaze on with those pots. An overspray with Rhodes 32 and .8% manganese did some running and crystal formation so that looks promising.

On Friday several members of our Guild did a workshop at the Golden Lake Algonquians Reserve. We had about 15 participants - both adult and children and we showed them how to make coiled pots. They are trying to set up a cultural centre and bring back some of the traditional crafts. They had a kiln donated to them and we so will be back after Christmas and help them set it all up as well as fire it.
After Steven's consult I have tried to make the fish stamped handles more loose - so tried small dishes with cut edges and then wrapped the two ends with a stamped slab. Now not sure how to glaze them as these were done on procelain. I also made a porcelain knife to go with the dish - will be a challenge to glaze it.
I also stamped rims directly and then impressed a couple of lines, pinching and twisting the rim at the tail end to give the fish movement. I liked that effect best. Will see how it ends up glazed.