Tuesday, January 8, 2013

beginning of the project

I would like to start this post by saying that I am very thankful to the Northern Clay Center and the Jerome Foundation for giving me the opportunity to pursue this project. This past spring I was chosen to recieve a 2012 Jerome Ceramic Artists Project Grant awarded by the Northern Clay Center.  

My project for this grant was to make a body of work using slips and glazes fired to cone 3 with terra cotta. I did not have much experience with low fire clays or glazes as I had worked primarily with porcelain bodies firing in reduction to cone 10.

I wanted to pursue firing to cone 3 as I could easily use an electric kiln and save a great amount of energy compared to firing at cone 10 with gas. I knew I wasn’t going to have easy access to a gas kiln and needed to be more independent if I wanted to continue making pots.  I also wanted to be more environmentally conscious of the materials and energy I use. By using an earthenware body the clay becomes very vitreous firing to cone 3 and hotter, which I believe is stronger than stoneware or porcelain at cone 10.  When I flick one of these cone 3 pots with my fingernail it has a sweet sounding glassy ring to it.

I started by doing some melt tests of frits, Gillespie B,  and neph sye while firing the clay to temperatures ranging from cone 1 to cone 5.  I tested different slip and glaze recipes from fellow potters as well as mixing blends during these first firings. I found a lot of issues with these firings, a minimal amount crawling and/or crazing, but many over fired or under fired glazes.  The amount and type of frit in these glazes made a substantial difference in the outcome.  I decided to use frit 3195 for glaze development as it has the highest melting point compared to 3110, 3124, and 3134 frits.

some of the better slip and glaze tests

I was fortunate to find a couple of good clear bases that fired nicely at cone 3.  The clay body I decided to use is low fire red from Continental Clay as I know many potters who have used it for years. It is a high iron earthenware body that can be fired to cone 4 easily. At cone 5 I noticed a substantial amount of bloating with this clay.  I bisque fire to cone 07 as that seems to be sufficient to keep from excess off gassing during the glaze firing.

Varying amounts of fluxes, silica and epk while looking for a decent matte base. Most were under fired with a couple potential places to go from.  It is much more difficult than finding a matte glaze at cone 10. 

I hope that this has been a helpful post for some of you. I know I am not an organized writer or photographer, but hope to influence more clay artists to question their footprint. I thought I would always use porcelain but I have gone “dirty” and don’t see myself going back.

That is it for today’s post. I will be back soon to share more of the results I have uncovered over the past months. Thank you for your time.

These mugs are from my first successful firing using a basic white slip and clear glaze.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

getting back to reflect

Hello and thank you for stopping by this blog. I started this blog a couple of years ago with the intention of writing and adding photos for fellow artists and potters to look at. I haven't done anything on this blog since then, however I will now be writing frequently as I look at a project which I started in the winter / spring of 2012.  

I will post more in the days and months to come and hope you will join me here to follow along.