Monday, March 16, 2009

Mission .... Impossible?

The mission? To duplicate the wonderful color in these beads. I was asked by a customer if it was possible to get some more of these in my etsy bead shop and since I've been a very good potter and keeping actual notes on glazes and firings, thought, "SURE."

Now before we go any further, I must say that my notes were somewhat lacking. When I consulted them, they ran somewhat like this, "Love this glaze! (type of glaze and how many layers are described) Try it again with texture and deep holes. ... must put them on different kiln shelves again sometime soon, nice variations!"

Um, not very good very notes. Something like, "These ones, beads A were put on kiln shelf 2, the east side, during the month of (fill in the blank) when the temperature varied from ??? to ??? degrees. The sky was clear and it was not humid that day" would have been SO much better! Oh, it would have been nice if I had also mentioned what cone I had fired to, though I assume it is the normal temp that I fire beads to... although I was doing a lot of variations last summer when these beads were originally fired. Lesson learned.

Yeah, additional notes like that would have helped a whole lot. I know now.

So I looked through my bisque beads to see what I could experiment with. I had no rounds in stoneware available, but I did have some with texture. And the clay body on these beads I was almost certain was Ironstone and not Red Taos. I'm still pretty certain about that.

These are from a firing from about a year ago. I know these were fired to cone 6 because they are glued to a piece of cardboard and labeled. I have a lot of beads that I have documented this way and it does help tremendously. But I haven't done it with every new firing of each glaze combination. The flower bead at the far right looks like it might be what I am looking for. It is the closest of the three. However, I'm thinking I can find a closer match at a different temperature.

Normally I fire at either cone 6 or cone 06, but recently I've been firing mostly at cone 4. Therefore, the question is: did I fire the originals at cone 06 or cone 4? And which part of the kiln did I place them into? And will the temperature/humidity make a difference or not?

Here is an example of cone 06 on all three types of clay bodies. I put these in different places in the kiln and they all fired much the same way. I still don't know precisely what they would look like in a smooth round, but I do have a good idea.

Tomorrow I will fire to cone 4 and see what happens.

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