Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter "Eggs"

Angelique is a genius. She came up with some glaze combinations that she commande......I mean, suggested I try. Sounded simple enough. 

Here's what she came up with for the blue bowl: "Glaze the foot in blue. Wax the foot. North Fork glaze bottom half up to the design line. Wax the top of the North Fork glaze. Glaze the interior in blue, including the lip. Wax the lip and wax the interior down one inch from the lip. Glaze the exterior top half in the ash glaze down to and including the design line and make sure the glaze "bloops" just under the wax line on the interior.

There are some other pots for which she had combination designs as well. We love the green and the beautiful, buttery semi-matte finish of the brown that the North Fork clay produces.

North Fork clay is a native clay. That means it comes from "around these here parts." That's right -- right out of the ground. Free. Untouched by human hands for tens of millions of years. My friend and mentor, Jeff Procter discovered this rich clay deposit many years ago and actually used it as his liner glaze for his salt fired ware. In January, Jeff took me to his secret spot where I dug two 5 gallon buckets of the greenish clay. Because Jeff's firing temperature was significantly higher than mine is, he didn't have to add any fluxes to the clay in order to get it to melt. 

The interior "liner" glaze of the tea bowl below is 79% native North Fork (..of an un-named river of the Willamette Valley) plus three other materials to make up the 100%. The ash glaze is 60% North Fork clay, plus two other materials to make up the 100%.

I want to give a very loud SHOUT OUT to Craig Martell, the master potter and glaze whiz who suggested the formula for the 79% North Fork glaze recipe. Craig is probably one of the best potters in Oregon and ranks right up there with Pat Horsely, Don Sprague, Dan Wheeler of Mossy Creek Pottery and of course, Jeff Procter (who sadly is no longer throwing pots). 

I hope you like the new pieces!

This mug is glazed throughout in an Oribe green. The chattering leaves a nice surface design on the lower 1/5 of the pot:

Angelique wasn't crazy about this combination of the ash glaze and the Oribe green. I, on the other hand, LOVE IT!

Interior shot of the North Fork on a tea bowl:

"Blue Foot":

Again, Angeliques idea. She wanted to see how the ash glaze bled into the blue. In the Paul Simon song, the orange bled the blue. But not here. No. The yellow bled the blue. :-)

A better shot of the North Fork glaze. Plum Red overlaps the native clay on the lip.

What's not to love about the lattice goings-on of an ash or, in this case, a fake ash glaze?

Tea bowl with the Oribe overlapping the North Fork:

Focal point is on the interior center of the pot so you can see how wonderfully smooth this native clay glaze is:

Focal point is on the lip of the pot so you can see how it lies on an edge:

Angelique likes the Plum Red running and trickling into the center. I'm undecided. I might like such an effect more on the exterior of a pot. We'll have to see.

Again, focal point on the center of the interior:

And then on the lip of the pot:

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pottery Studio

Here's a little visual slice of what my pottery studio looks like. A friend helped me enclose one third of our 36'x36' carport. Walls are 2"x6" studs, ceiling is 2"x8" -- lots of fat gaps to insulate with R-19. The drywall "seals the deal," and now it takes about 30 minutes to bring a 47 degree interior air temperature up to 70 degrees. Once the room feels comfortable, the wall mounted 220v forced air heater goes off and temperature is maintained by that oil-filled radiator free standing floor heater. It draws 1500 watts, but I need to keep the room heated day and night when I'm drying pots.

The ware rack on the right is what I used in the old studio. I built it about 30 years ago and used it up until about 1988 or '89 when I stopped throwing pots to explore other careers. Once removed from the old studio, I simply used one side to share a support for the new set of racks on the left, thus doubling the space for sliding those ware boards onto the 2"x2" rails.

The Shimpo wheel that sits out in the middle of the floor was given to me by Jeff Procter, the Master Potter under whom I studied in the late 70s and early 80s. Jeff was a salt glazer and it's a shame that he is no longer throwing. We are in touch after many years of drifting apart and I'm hopeful that he will get back into clay. He has a gift that few potters have, and which most potters wish they had. I threw thousands of pots on that old Shimpo, but I recently scored a fabulous deal on a Brent Model CXC. All I can say about the new wheel is that it is QUIET; there is no motor running when the switch is on the "ON" position and the silence is wonderful.

The pots in the photos have been thrown, dried to the leather hard stage, were trimmed, then dried to the bone dry stage before being loaded into the kiln and fired to 1830 degrees to turn them into bisque ware. They are upside down because they have all received a coating of wax resist in to prevent glaze adhering to the foot of each pot when it is dipped into the glaze bucket; you don't want glaze on the foot or the pot will adhere to the kiln shelf and that, my friends, is a bad thing.

Post comments. Ask questions. Chime in.

Monday, March 11, 2013