Monday, May 06, 2013

Pottery "Bubble" Glazing

Bubble Glazing with the kids this week. Mix soap and water with underglaze. Darker colors on white clay show up best. Use a long straw to blow into the tray of soaped up underglaze, until it builds up plenty of bubbles and suds.  Then, lower the plate into the bubbles and pop them all over the surface of the plate. Be careful not to lower it all the way into the underglaze mixture. Clear glaze over the top and fire. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Angry Birds

Kids classes at my house, we made angry birds.
Clay formed around paper balls, decorated.
Students love to "surgically" remove the paper when they are
leather hard.
Add a slot in the back, and it's a bank!

Yeah?...... no.

It's light, nice glaze. Pours well.
Ugly spout, drips.
Maybe next time.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Not Time for Tea Just Yet...

My sister in law gave me some loose leaf, pomegranate tea and an infuser for my birthday. It smells so wonderful and deserves to be brewed in a lovely teapot. And so, once again,  I am on a quest to make an excellent teapot. Good looking, lightweight, balanced, pours well. This is my latest attempt.

The spout seems to be where I always get stuck.
I am not a fan of thrown spouts- I have not seen very many of them that I like, and I can never seem to get the right bend in my thrown spouts without ruining them.

I decided to try Insomnia Pottery's method, found in a blog here: http://gingersteele.blogspot.com/2010/03/making-handbuilt-spout.html

I had difficulty getting a nice curve in my spout without alot of cracking- note to self, softer clay next time. So, my spout is stiff- it doesn't fit the curviness of the rest of the pot. I am very interested to see if it pours right.

I am also really interested in trying to make a spout like Jeffery Nichols- pulled, and then hollowed.
There's a good video on Ceramic Arts Daily showing how to do it.

And so, the journey continues. I guess I'm steeping my tea in the cup for now.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Campfire Pottery

My last 2 campfirings yielded very different results. I decided it might be fun to bust up a pretty budlight platinum bottle - very blue- add some borax and see if I could get it to melt.
Welllllll... it melted, a little, in chunks. Fused some. But, the mule team borax melted in a nice puddle in one of the pots.  Glaze, actually. But, the pots cracked completely and fell apart. No good.

So, I decided that maybe if I wedged (mixed for you nonpotters) some borax into the clay, it might help it to melt at a lower temp- this clay is very sandy and kind of short (cracky) so improving that would be good, but it wasn't as much my motivation as trying to get the pots to crack less in the firing.

I'm pleased that mixing in the borax actually did improve the workability of the wet clay, which was a pleasant unexpected bonus. Too much borax actually made it too sticky and wimpy, so there is a limit.

The last firing I did yielded some really beautiful orange pots with only a couple of cracks in the rim, and I was pretty aggressive in shoving them into the coals.  I preheated the pots for about an hour at the edge of the fire, and then just shoved them under the logs. They weren't even buried in coals, so I'm wondering if there was a temp. difference which caused the cracks.  I am, however, pretty pleased with the results. 

My next plan is to mix some salt along with the borax into the clay and see what happens. Stay tuned. Camp starts next week!