Things had got to that last minute state as a direct result of my poor old brain trying to think of too many things at once. I had known that the exhibition was coming up, but.., another Spring exhibition event in a month's time smeared some of my date remembering neurons, and things were scrambled up there!
The good thing was that a potter friend of mine got in touch about a week ago and asked me if I could deliver his things to the gallery for the Spring Show. This alerted me as to the actual date, and our place became a scene of frantic activity.
I had several commitments through the week that ate into my productive time, but managed to bisque, glaze, and then fire two electric kiln loads of earthenware pots that I had made some time earlier and had been accumulating for a wood firing.
Something to the exhibition was that I did
glaze the earthenware pots, including some large ones that I was a bit scared of glazing! I was very pleased with the result. Also, I mostly resisted the temptation to play really safe in the glazing. Things were so desperate anyway, that a glazing disaster hardly would have made things worse..., but something daring, could result in an exhibition piece.
As well as getting pots ready for the exhibition, I have also managed to squeeze in some time to repair and, hopefully, improve the wood fired raku kiln that I built some time ago.
I have my group of teenagers coming to do a raku session as soon as it stops raining, so I am getting the kiln ready for that.
About the Glazes.
A few years ago I played with a Janet DeBoos glaze. This was for Cone 05 -03 and had frit 4110/ 90, Ball clay/ 5, Lithium carbonate/ 5, Tin oxide/4, Copper Carbonate/6
I liked the blue green colour of this alkaline copper glaze, but it had a really bad tendency to form a huge lump in the bottom of the glaze container, was impossible to apply with a brush on bisque, and matured just slightly on the low side for the clay I am using and fitted very badly. I decided to use it, but I modified it by reducing the frit to 85 parts, doubling the ball clay to 10 parts, adding 1 part bentonite, replacing the Lithium carbonate with Petalite. I also cut back slightly on the copper carbonate, to 5.5 rather than 6. The extra ball clay and the bentonite made the glaze a pleasure to apply with the brush, aided glaze suspension in the glaze bucket, and also raised the maturing temperature. I suspect that replacing the Lithium carbonate with petalite may have also helped prevent the solid lump in the bucket as Lithium carbonate is not only poisonous but is partially water soluble. (Petalite is a mineral that contains lithium, alumium and silica.). I took a risk in using my modified version of the glaze untested, but I was really pleased with the result. The first pitcher that begins this blog is an example of this modified glaze.
I used two other glazes, one a commercial white "safe" glaze (which I usually find too refrigerator like white in some situations). The other glaze was a lead bisilicate glaze with some earthenware clay, ball clay, and tin oxide. I love this one as it is a warm white that has character. I also found that it was possible to do watercolour like washes with oxides over this white without fear of it blistering or lifting off. So I tried some free runny washes, which were fun to apply and did pick up any incised detail. You will see some examples of the runny watercolour-like washes in some of the photos above.
Drying the glazes at night by the stove. The pale glazed pot on the right is one of the tall green pitchers.
For those who haven't seen unfired glazes before, I thought you might be interested in these photos. As you will see, the pots are shades of gray at this stage. The final colour only develops as the pot is fired in the kiln. The dry, powdery components of the glaze have to melt and make what is in fact a special sort of glass.
My sister, Christine, has recently started putting a blog together about a trip that she and her husband did to England, Europe, and Africa, if you are in the mood to do some arm chair traveling, you might like to hop over and have a look. Here is a link Turners' Travels