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Monday, 2 February 2009

Beginning of a new era

Okay, I realised my last post was April 08. I'm writing off 2008, mainly because my three ventful visits to the emergency room made the year pretty bad. I'm all mended now and ready to make that resolution to get back on the blogger wagon, and stay on it.

As a summary of some of the major moments in 2008:

I finally managed to polish off the 250 kilos of specked stoneware that I bought back in 2006!

Back in August, I embarked on a mission to find a white firing clay which fired around 1220-1260 and could not only handle big thrown items but various handbuilding and attaching.
I ordered 17 different clays from various suppliers and made small thrown bowls to assess firing colour. Once the colours were narrowed down (and I tell you, lots of suppliers selling bodies as "white" are not really marketing their clays as the right colour!!!), I managed to get 3 bodies that seemed possible.
Next were the throwing tests: small and large plates, large cylinders, small and large bowls, bellied vessel with small neck. Handbuilding test included thrown and assembled cylinders.
Fortunately, I found a clay that I prefered! Unfortunately, it was thirsty as hell and didn't want to go very high on the wheel.
So, off I went to the pottery supplier for some molochite and further tests adding varying percentages to the clay body.

Another huge set of tests I embarked on were the development of glazes and slips for the 1220C range, as I had always fired to 1260/80. And, frankly, because I hadn't really bothered to get a real grasp of my kiln firings, I couldn't verfiy that temperature.

Another achievement for me was conquering the concept and use of pyrometric cones. Still working on the analysis part though, especially trying to get the damn kiln to fire evenly. I am just now starting a series of firings which will include cooling ramps - a concept that many of the fab potters on recommend!

I started using stains for my slips and continue to test the percetages required for the effect I am going for.

Finally, I managed to explore other ways of making that incorporates throwing and handbuilding; a process that has produced lots of bad pots and fired ideas - but all of which incrimentally assisted in the development of the ideas.

So, what about 2009?

Figure out what percentage of molochite I need to add to my new clay body. As I have only tested out on medium tall pieces, I'm awaiting more clay to be shipped to go bigger and see the results.

Once these additions are tried, its off to firing to see what (if any) negative implications this will have on glaze/slip addition and firing strength.

Finalise tests and confirm my staple slip and glaze bodies

Get a website sorted

Um, actually sell some pots this year.

Wish me luck!