Monday, June 15, 2009

UFOs..., flying saucers (well,... bowls actually!)

On a cold winter's evening, I happened to be in my studio trying to persuade my stove to put out more heat, when.....

strange things were seen flying close to my ceiling. Just as well I had the camera at the ready! (and I do admit to a little fiddling on the computer!)

Here is a pioneering solution to getting lots of freshly made bowls to dry in a hurry. All that is needed is an old car roof rack, some old wire shelves out of a shop refrigerator, and some rope and hooks to hang it from the ceiling. Suspend above a pot belly stove, and enjoy.....

Also to be spied in the photo are a red brick supported stack of wire shelves that are on top of a cupboard. Another drying solution for those without hooks, roof rack or string! Behind the photographer (hence unseen!) is another stack of wire shelves that have jugs and more bowls on.

I managed to fit most of the small bowls into the electric kiln and bisque fire them last night. I should be able to unload them first thing tomorrow morning and start glazing.

Have been busy today getting the wood fired kiln ready for another firing. I did a bit of a reconstruction of part of the firebox and an area which takes the load of the front lot of shelves.

I must say I'm struggling a bit with tiredness (and something not right with the tummy), but I am still hopeful of doing a wood firing either Thursday, or.. more likely, Friday this week.

Thanks to those who have written in and cheered me on. Thanks too to Clair for her recent comment (and request for helpful information about wood fired kilns) on my March post about my wood fired kilns. I will try to do some basic plans of some of the more successful kilns and ideas I have played with and put them on this site. Probably next week as time permits.

Also on May 22, Azam left a comment on my April 19 Post requesting help making a transparent glaze for tiles. If you are reading this Azam, I'm happy to help if I can, but do need more details from you about the clay you use and the temperature you fire to.


Judy Shreve said...

What a brilliant solution for drying your work (& some very cool photos!). Hope you're feeling better soon cause it sounds like you've got a lot you want to accomplish!

Arkansas Patti said...

You have been a busy fellow haven't you? So many bowls, so little time.
Loved the pattern those bowls made. Make a cool painting or pattern.
Do hope all the stress you are under will ease and let you eventually get some rest and a settled tummy.
Take care.

Linda Starr said...

Hi Peter, those photographs are awe inspiring I would love to do that design on a panel. Heat rises and so this a good solution. Good luck with all your glazing and the work ahead of you.

You mentioned someone brought up a transparent glaze for tiles. I would like to develop one for Cone 5/6 that isn't too shiny and add mason stains to it to produce translucent glazes, not sure if this is correct reasoning, but will give it a try, what do you think Peter?

Anonymous said...

Very clever and SPACE SAVING. I never have thought to go Up! I usually can find space behing doors for drying racks,etc. I just never thought to go UP. Lots of space up there to use!
Thanks for the tip!

Pat - Arkansas said...

Aren't you the clever one! Love the photos. I can't believe how many bowls you have made. No wonder you are tired.

Hope you're feeling much better soon.

Peter said...

A big thank you to Judy, Patti, Linda, Mary, and Pat for your messages, good to hear from you.

Life is continuing very busy, with glazing being done over the last two days, and still more to do tomorrow. I unpacked the second load of bisque fired pots (mostly jugs, some vases, and a few bowls) from the electric kiln late this afternoon, and finished getting them ready to glaze by 8pm this evening, when I thought it prudent to call a halt for the day. Hope to start packing the wood fired kiln tomorrow afternoon and probably fire on Friday.

Feeling more myself again, which is good as there is still so much to do here.

Those drying racks are really a great help, and I have them full up with glazed work now. Ceilings are a useful space in the studio if you can hang things from them. Our ones are fairly high here, which is handy.

Linda, the idea of starting with a good base glaze that you can add things to to get the colour you want sounds very sensible to me. Lots of good recipes are around for cones 5/6 now too as many people are firing at that range these days.

Mason stains would seem a sensible way of getting what you want efficiently, but it is amazing what you can also do without stains... using iron oxide, or copper carbonate, or a little cobalt. Copper and cobalt are expensive, but you only need a tiny amount in most glazes (usually only 0.5 -3 percent), so they don't work out too badly as far as price goes. Rutile too is a great addition to the glaze materials cupboard (and an inexpensive one!) and can make magic out of very basic glazes. The blue chun I play with gets most of its excitement out of the rutile that is in the recipe.

I would suggest starting with a good base recipe, then purchasing some red iron oxide, a small amount of cobalt carbonate, some copper carbonate, and some rutile. Do some simple line tests to see what adding increasing amounts of each metal to your base glaze does. Only add stains to your range of colours if and when you find that you need them.

There is some good technical advice about glazes on the site:

Here is a simple base glaze from their site:
FRIT 3134 25.00
SILICA 25.00
F-4 FELDSPAR 15.00

(Note, I haven't tried it yet myself, but it looks a good starting point)

Good Luck!

Linda Starr said...

Hi Peter, thanks for all your information. I actually already have some red iron oxide, copper carbonate, and black iron oxide, just a little cobalt (that's really expensive) and a tiny amount of yellow iron oxide. I like what rutile does to glazes - that mottled effect. Right now I am so busy in the garden I am not sure when I will have time to much else other than making a few pots. Next week will still be a bit cool, so I better take advantage and do some firings then. Thanks again.