Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Non GMO snacks and ceramic glaze tutorial

This morning I opened my little kiln lid after firing its last batch of wares. In there I envisioned bowls and cups with my new glaze combination "Harvest", new Skully goblets and a few pendants. I knew this load was not fired all the way to cone 6, so I was expecting a glitch or two. What I found was an underfired-by-a-lot load and a lot of crawled glaze.

I have been asking too much of my little kiln. It's probably 25 to 30 years old with all original wiring and elements. I myself have fired it at least a hundred times, give or take. It has definitely been dwindling in power. I could go ahead and redo the elements, but the brick is desperately brittle and I think it would cause far too much damage. Also, I would like to turn this kiln into a small raku kiln at some point, new elements would just be a waste.

Yesterday Boyfriend and I agreed it is high time to pick up my new Skutt kiln
from Plainsman Pottery Supply in Edmonton

The new kiln will be arriving tomorrow! Weeeeee!

Meanwhile back in my studio:
Today I took a chance with the underfired, way to crawly glaze ware. I figured I had nothing to lose but to go ahead and apply another layer of glaze, load it up and fire!

Here are the steps I took to make it happen:

First I grouped like objects and glaze together. So, all the reds go together, all the Harvest cups, then the Harvest bowls, and the blacks. The Skullys did not need to be included because they were refired in this load. (How I know this whole thing works!) Then I got all the glazes ready by stirring them or refilling their small jar versions.
Next I brought one group at a time, on a baking sheet, into the kitchen. After I made sure Boyfriend wouldn't freak out, "not allowed pottery in the house." I got a pass. :)
The reason I bring everything to the kitchen is that I like to warm up the ware in the oven to apply the wet glaze over the already fired glaze. I find it adheres well (doesn't run off all over my work table/canvas/drywall!). And I don't have to add any nasty weird adhesives or binders to good glaze.
Also I can eat while I wait. More on that later. I do have a piping hot cup of coffee beside me here.
I preheated my oven to 275 degrees F. This is just hot enough to get the glaze to stick. Also helps it dry not to quickly. If the oven is too hot the glaze will just crack and flake off. Not desirable. I put the baking sheet with the ware into the oven and let everything get nice and warm.
I used a wide hake brush to apply the glaze. This application does not need to be as thick as the first time. It only takes enough to create a bond between the first and second layer as well as fill in the bare clay areas.
The red glaze that I use is called Rollie Younger Red.

Sometimes if this glaze is too thick, or didn't have time to air dry it crawls. Sometimes if it's too thin it doesn't have any violet snowflake. It doesn't stop me. "Just go for it" is really how I live my life why would my studio be any different, as long as its safe right?!
This is the ware that I reglazed first. I used my glazing tongs to grab the pieces from the oven, working on one piece at a time. I rested the tongs on the side of the glaze pail while I apply the glaze because my arms get tired! With the red I glazed the inside first, then the outside because I had the whole pail, and it could drip into the pail while I glazed the outside. Photos will be following. When I finished each piece I placed it back on the tray in the oven. I repeated this process with each group of wares. On these pieces I did not wax the bottoms, so I have a handy metal scraper (spoon) and a sponge to remove any drips from the bottoms.
On the Harvest bowls and mugs I spent a bit more time as each color is applied by brush. These glazes are from Mastering Glazes cone 6
I use a version of spearmint, bone and raw sienna. All semi matte to matte. *le sigh

I wanted to make sure I kept the visual feeling of the glazing but still had a good bond. Also, these glazes are in little containers that made them more welcome in the kitchen than four dusty glaze pails!

As I took each group back to the studio I loaded it into the kiln right away. This whole process took me 3 hours.
It's taking longer to compose this blog!

There's a wait time between last piece glazed and dried so I had to make a snack. I try not to eat in my studio, and I keep my water in a sippy cup that has a straw so that I don't ingest something I shouldn't, nor dip a brush into the wrong bottle. I also try to drink my coffee before I go in the studio, but sometimes a mug follows me in all lonely like. By using the kitchen as a temporary studio I try to follow the same rule. Except for coffee... I used a different already-prepared-for-this-situation counter!
Ta-daa! Time for non GMO cereal

organic milk (I take the lactaid pill with it because lactose free milk does not come organic for some reason) and

Alberta unpasteurized honey
It was fantastic!

When everything was finished and put away I wiped down the kitchen and you couldn't even tell I broke the rules!
The kiln was turned off by me at 12:34 my time. At last check the pyrometers measured the bottom peephole at about 1956 degrees Fahrenheit. So I know that firing is too low by 200 degrees about. And it took almost 3 hours longer. Poor old kiln, even the kiln goddess could not see it through. I will post photos of the outcome tomorrow.
Please browse my photos! they may seem out of order. this blog is being published on the iphone app. it does not put the photo where you want, nor does it give you hyper links. not very satisfied is the box I'm checking! I'll use the web version next time.
Hope you have lots of questions....I'll google the answers if I have to!

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