Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Christmas 2010! A wide range glaze recipe for you!

ooops.... someone's been eating our moon!

Happy Christmas to you all. Some of you will be toasting in the sun at this time of the year, and others will be attempting to extract whatever heat that you can from electric heaters, fires, blankets, and hot water bottles!

Talk about the weather!
Here the sky is mostly blue, but we are being buffeted and abraded by strong winds.

The wind has been coming and going most of the week. Sometimes it is a hot wind, and then it will shift and become cool. On Tuesday we had temperatures that reached the early 30s and the gales were strong enough to bring down trees, cut off power, and actually shred the leaves that remained on the trees. When it had all calmed down, I was amazed at the smell of freshly cut grass that hung in the air. It was actually the smell of the damaged leaves!

On Tuesday evening, the moon had a big bite taken out of it and turned a peculiar colour. It was an eclipse, and we had a good view of it as we traveled back to Waikouaiti after seeing friends in Dunedin who had organized an evening of Christmas Carols at their lovely house, which is called "Captain Eady's Lookout" at Portobello. Our friends, Richard and Ana Good, run a bed and breakfast at their home, and if you are planning a trip to New Zealand and want a marvelous place to stay that is near Dunedin, do get in touch with them.

Mugs in Crystals... and pots too!
At some time I did manage a crystalline glaze firing, and have done the first prototype mugs just to assess what a crystalline glaze will look like on the side of the mugs, and how much it will run.

I have also fired some pots and vases, and am particularly pleased with a couple of the crystalline glazed pots that have been glaze fired a second time.

One of the other crystalline glazed bowls (shown below) that I fired in this firing, turned out particularly well, with just one glaze firing.

All about bowls!
Early this week I decorated some bowls that I mostly intend to give to people as Christmas presents, and I unloaded them from the kiln this morning.

The bowls were decorated with a simple clear glaze, and decorated on the glaze with cobalt blue, and/or raw umber, and yellow ocher brush decoration.

The decoration was made up as I went along (I was too muddle headed to plan anything), and I really quite enjoyed it.

I have not really tried using umber and yellow ocher in this way before, and I do like how they have turned out. I have often thought that umber should be useful in, or on, glazes, as it is really a natural clay that contains a lot of manganese and some iron. Yellow ocher is clay that contains a large amount of iron. I fired these bowls to about cone 8, which is about 1240 Centigrade (2264 F) in my kiln.

Umber gave me a colour that is almost identical to burnt umber in watercolour, and yellow ocher gave a useful warm orange-brown with just a hint of yellow where the colour was thin. One nice thing about umber and ocher is that it is less "strident" looking than a stain, and far less expensive.

A glaze recipe for you.... Happy Christmas!
Here is the glaze recipe that I used. The glaze is from "The Potter's Complete Book of Clay and Glazes" by James Chappell, which was published by Watson-Guptill in 1977. I don't know if they will do me for including the glaze here.... but, in the spirit of Wiki Leaks, here goes!

The nice thing about this one is that it works over a wide range of temperatures. I have used it with great success from cone 6 to cone 9 (approximately 1200 - 1260 Centigrade 2192- 2300F ), but the recipe claims to work from cone 01. As the glaze contains quite a lot of zinc, it is intended for oxidized firings, but I have used it occasionally in my wood fired kiln without problems. Used at the temperatures that I have tried, the glaze should give you an attractive satin surfaced glaze that is semi opaque at cone 6 to clear at cone 9.

Satin Matt Glaze Cone 01-9
Zinc oxide (calcined) 9.8
Feldspar (Custer) 50
Whiting 10
Kaolin (EPK) 17.6
Silica 13.6

+ Bentonite 2.0

Note 1 It may be a good idea to used calcined zinc for this glaze. This will help avoid crawling, especially at lower temperatures. If you use ordinary zinc, just use the glaze thinly and you should not have any problems. You can easily calcine zinc by putting a kilogram or two into a bisqued bowl, and putting it through a standard bisque firing, somewhere between 950 and 1020 Centigrade (1742- 1868 F). Do not fire higher than this though, or the zinc will form a hard lump!

Note 2 Don't panic about using Custer feldspar or EPK Kaolin, I just use what ever potash feldspar and kaolin I can get, and it seems to work nicely.

and.... it's Christmas Again!
It has been a somewhat difficult month. Both of us got sick with a tummy bug at one point, not a major event, and we are OK now, but it left us tired and made us late and slow to tackle the many pre Christmas tasks that we needed to do. When you are self employed no one else steps in to magically keep things going when you are sick, so... you just keep going if you can. Pots still need to be glazed and fired, shelves filled, orders met, the gallery opened, plants watered, leaks mended, tap washers replaced, gutters cleaned.... you get the picture!

I still haven't written a Christmas letter as such, I'm somewhat behind with Emails, and not many cards have been sent. The poor old blog has been gathering dust, and my web site good intentions have not developed far! Laura has been making a valiant effort trying to send some cards to people who just might receive them before Christmas, for the overseas cards that we were going to send..., hummmmm. Very sorry most of you!

A little Christmas Decoration by Laura

Anyway, "'tis the season to be jolly" so "jolly" we shall be! :)


Hannah said...

Happy Christmas Peter, I hope it's gentle and peaceful for you all. Enjoy that warmth!

Peter said...

Thanks Hannah, lovely to hear from you. Almost Christmas Day here. If I stay up much longer I might put poor Santa off if he tries to come down our chimney, so I'd better go to bed!

Paul Jessop said...

Merry Christmas Peter and to Laura. The pots look great, I find crystal glazes amazing to look at.
thanks for some great comments over the past year.
I've given your info to a number of people around here that are going to New Zealand over the next few months.
best wishes for 2011.

Paul & Marion

cookingwithgas said...

Merry Christmas from North Carolina!
Oh- that moon! how luck you are to have seen it- I wanted to see it very badly and the clouds came in-boo!
And the mugs- lovely!
And your bookend cats how many treats and how long did it take to get the picture?
They look lovely as well.
Best for 2011 Peter and Laura all the best!

Matt Grimmitt said...

Merry Christmas Peter. Here's to a great 2011 for you.
All the best.

Linda Starr said...

Merry Christmas to you, Laura and the cats, love the bookend photo and the xmas decoration that Laura made. Love your cobalt and yellow ocher brush decorations, a bit like majolica drawing over the glaze, what fun. Hope you get some relaxing time in this next week.

John Tilton said...

Hi Peter,

Merry Christmas. Keep making those crystalline pots. You have to stop stressing out your kittens.

All the Best,


Eleanor (the niece) said...

Merry Christmas!!!
I like the last two mugs a lot :-)
Hope you have a great day. We will definately have a white Christmas. The downside is all the salt is already used up for the roads and therefore is pretty evil for driving.

Gary's third pottery blog said...

Merry Christmas to you, my first visit here, and look at your wonderful work and cats :)

Arkansas Patti said...

Early this morning, our weather radar was tracking Santa and he was right over New Zealand. Hope he was good to you.
Love the picture of your feline book ends.
Merry Christmas Peter and Laura and the four legged wonders.

Armelle said...

Merry Christmas to you and Laura, Peter,

Lovely photos,of the cats, the moon, the mugs and and bowls that seem to be "majolica". The umber and yellow ocher, really look like watercolours.
Must go and finish preparing the "Christmas Log".
Best wishes

Angie said...

Where to start .... what a wonderful post filled with great photos the cat book ends. I have to say that I absolutely adore those mugs ...not sure which is fav ..maybe the 2nd one. I also love the bowls ...I can see Lauras influence there especially on the blue and gold ones ...and I think Lauras decoration is stunning. Again i wish you all the seasons greetings ... enjoy xxx
ps There is still snow and ice under foot

Tracey Broome said...

Merry Christmas to you too Peter!!

Christine H S said...

Happy Christmas, Peter, and here's to good health and great pots 2011. Your eclipse photo was amazing, I hadn't thought about you being able to see it either, but evening for you and dawn for us. I'm sure our cats would happily swap places right now Ginger looks ecsatic.

am said...

Merry Christmas!

ang said...

the mugs will be a hit!! and love your blue and white deco....sweeeet, well merry christmas its all over now but i still feel the cheer, have a super season peter..

mudheartpottery said...

Thankyou for the Xmas wishes. Am not feeling very Xmasy as my 18 yr old nephew passed away suddenly. Life can throw us some hard deals.

Peter said...

Thank you everyone for your comments, it was lovely to hear from you and to think of you all. Christmas is often a time when we reach out and make contact with friends and family, this can be a happy time, or it can sometimes be tinged with sadness.

I am sure all of us would extend our sincere sympathies to Lyn of mudheartpottery who lost her 18 year old nephew recently, and to her family. This Christmas will be a very sad time for them.

A warm welcome to John Tilton, to Gary, and to Andrzej (am).

(John, I have greatly admired your work ever since I saw some examples of it in John Britt's High Fire Glaze book. Wonderful.)

Thanks Paul for passing on our details to people who will be visiting NZ soon, it is always nice to meet up with people from the other side of the world, and you can tell them that they will be most welcome to call in.

Meredith asks how long it took to take the picture of the "book end cats"... The answer.... probably about 1/125th of a second!

Patti, I am so impressed that the weather radar picks up Santa, technology today is amazing! :)

shekate said...

Belated holiday greetings and thanks for the gift! Lovely work! I found you whilst looking for a reliable wide fire range glaze.

I have the 1991 edition of the same book and it does not seem to have that particular recipe. Wonder why? I have found most of his glazes to be good but recently ran into problems with a couple; now I'm wondering if it's me or him or a change in the ingredients?

New Zealand is definitely on my gotta go back there list. If I make it - no, when I make - I'll look you up, South Island rocks!


Peter said...

Hi Joyce,
Lovely to hear from you, thank you so much for getting in touch, and welcome to my site! Books and glazes are a bit of a mystery. Certainly some ingredients do change, and that is certainly a good reason for keeping on testing, especially when new bags of materials arrive. I had some trouble with zinc over recent months, I think my new lot is finer ground and goes into suspension more enthusiastically than the stuff I had before. This does affect the way my chun glazes and crystal glazes work, and adjustments have to be made!