Thursday, September 30, 2010

Same Form, Same Glaze, Same Clay, Different Firing Temperature

These beads are both formed from the same clay, (Toas Red Stoneware from Texas Pottery and Clay Co.), and the  same glaze (Speckled Pink A Dot from Mayco).

The difference is the firing temperature.  The brighter pink/red beads were in a cone 05 firing (approx. 1870 degrees F.) and the browner, more subtle pinks were in a  cone 02 (approx 2034 degree F) firing.

I am always a bit astonished at the differences in the stoneware clay bodies when it comes to color values in the firings.

Each bead is so different yet many aspects of their creation was exactly the same. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kiln Opening

This is my new manual Paragon kiln. It sits outside on my back porch beside my bigger kiln (for the bigger functional pottery). This promises to be a good workhorse of a kiln.

I put this batch in it yesterday around noon. When they finished, about 8 pm, I started my other small digital controlled Paragon kiln with a small batch of whistles (more about that in a separate post). Both kilns share the same outlet so they cannot be fired at the same time.

This is the view that I see when I open the kiln for the first time after a firing. It is when I am thrilled or exhale a disappointed sigh. I did both with this particular opening.

In this kiln I had a variety of porcelain, stoneware, and earthenware beads. The porcelain I had covered with a black underglaze which I wiped off before applying Mayco's Foundations "Light Blue". I had expected more of the underglaze to pop through the glaze, but it is more opaque than I thought it would be.   I do like these beads, however, I was going for a certain look. I will try again, but with a different shade of blue, hopefully one that is more transparent.

The earthenware beads were textured. I had also rubbed a black underglaze into the recesses. I covered with a new glaze (well, new for me anyway) "Victorian Red". The red of the earthenware clay simply deepened the red of the Victorian Red. It is not undesirable, but I did desire more of a contrast.

The round pink beads are an experiment with Speckled Pink a Dot on smooth earthenware. It's glazy and drippy, kinda gaudy, but in a good way.

This is how I pile the beads when they are still on their rods onto a plate to carry inside the house. Click through to see the photo bigger. 

This is not the greatest of lighting. It is on my kitchen counter sans a flash bulb with the settings on 'auto'. No, this plate is not used to eat from, just to carry beads from the kiln to the inside of the house. Removing the beads from the rods is just a matter of holding and pulling.

Sometimes a bit of the glaze runs onto the rod. Usually the bead can be twisted enough to break the hold. Sometimes too much of the glaze pulls off onto the rod and has to be discarded. Other times, the bead won't budge and has to be removed via wire cutters and discarded as well.

The nicest part in this firing was how the porcelain beads with stoneware sprigs turned out. I did this same technique with this as the earthenware and I love how they played nicely in the fire. Lots of contrast and texture.

The Victorian Red glaze glows off the porcelain and is transparent. It does not hinder the black underglaze which has settled nicely in the recesses.  The  stoneware sprig is blushing nicely with this particular shade of red. I am happy with this glaze, sprig, and texture clay combination.

Monday, September 27, 2010

In the Kiln ...

Today I have a variety of beads in the kiln, from whistles to a pendant, to textured beads with underglazes and overglazes. I'm excited to see how they turn out (if they turn out) the way I want them to.  The beads on the left are what came out of the kiln this morning. I am going to try to have something to showcase every day this week. 

This particular bead is a new design of mine. I have long been fascinated with silver beads and the many textural designs silver artists engineer.  I've been toying with the idea of attaching PMS clay to my ceramic clay but so far I have not.

I've been doing a lot of adding sprigs to beads lately, and I got to thinking about bead caps.  I've been thinking about pods, especially since its the fall and they seem to be everywhere.  I thought, "What would a pod look like if a pod had a bead cap?"  So this is what I came up with. Interesting?  I hope so!  I really liked making these and hope to make more.

Next time I will experiment with some underglazes. I'd like to find out what it will do in the recesses.   However, I have to get glazing for the load to put into tomorrow morning.  I'll try and remember to take a picture of the batch before they come out of the kiln. This morning I was so excited to see how these turned out, I completely forgot until the kiln was completely unloaded. I was ooohing and aahing, cooing and rolling them around in my hands. Suddenly I remembered, "OOPS!"

Tomorrow will be better.  Tomorrow is ALWAYS better!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

What I did Over Summer Vacation

The summer raced past.  I made a lot of whistles, beads, and pottery.  This morning I have spent the day organizing bead sets and deciding what to add to my bead store this next week.  Already on my to do list is another batch of 20 mm rounds to bisque fire, some odd shape beads to glaze, and at some point I have to go up to LMRA pottery studio and put my greenware on the correct shelf so it can be bisque fired.  Better yet, I need to go and load a bisque fire kiln over there and do my part.

Here is a mug I have finished and have not yet listed in my pottery store. I finished this over the summer. It is a red stoneware covered by a clear glaze -- that didn't go clear. It came out bright white!  I like the matte effect of the whole thing.

I thought it would be fun to add bright flowery decals for a final firing.  It's so Christmas-y, don't you think?

It is one of my favorite mugs, nice and big to hold hot chocolate in or a lot of coffee topped with cream and sugar.  Whipped cream should go on the top regardless of what it holds.

In any event, I'll eventually be adding it to the pottery store, once I get all the beads sorted out, the geology II test studied for, and the bizzilion other things that seem to need doing.  I can't believe I haven't written a blog article in over a month.  But it has been busy. I had two very fun custom orders over the summer.  One was to make mini neti pots, and the other mini cups, or should I say 'many' cups.  I have the cups uploaded over on Flickr, but as of yet have not added the mini neti pots. I'll do that now.  If you haven't yet seen these cute little mini cups, or if you are interested in seeing what I have been doing this summer, hop on over to Flickr. Click here for FLICKR PICS.