Testing, Testing… 1, 2, 3…

I had some photos for this post, but my card reader’s borked, so I can’t get them onto this computer.

Anyways. I did up two test tiles for the cephalopots, and they’re out of the kiln. I’m using a modified version of a glaze that’s been around the studio for a while… I made my mom a set of dessert bowls two Christmases ago, and that’s what they were glazed with. The bowls have been in near-daily use, and have even been put in the (gasp!) dishwasher for the past six or seven months. The glaze is still perfect, so on top of being nice to work with (easy to get an even coat, doesn’t clump on the bottom of the bucket), it’s sturdy as heck.

The first test tile is the base glaze without any colourants added, and the other has 0,5% red iron oxide. The first came out a very white colour… sort of like the foam on top of a cup of steamed milk. The second is a very pale, creamy beige. The surface texture is matte, and almost feels under-fired, even though I know the kiln hit the right temperature–it’s just the way that base comes out.

I did up a third test tile today. This time, I fiddled a little more with the recipe–brought up the fluxes and brought down the refractories, which means it should melt a little easier, and maybe make a smoother surface. (I don’t know if I *want* it to be smoother. I feel like tentacled pottery should have more texture to it. But I figured I should see if I can make it happen, just for fun, and then decide which texture I like best when i can touch the result, not just imagine it.) I also brought up the iron oxide by another percent, so it’ll come out a wee bit darker.

Should be fired Monday.

4 thoughts on “Testing, Testing… 1, 2, 3…”

  1. “…put in the (gasp!) dishwasher…”

    Do you frown on pottery going in the dishwasher? If so, why?

    1. I don’t (as long as you don’t have hard water, and even then you’ll just get some surface scratches on softer glazes), but lots of people do, especially for handmade items. You have noooo idea how many people gave me horrified looks at the Craft Fair when I said my stuff was microwave- and dishwasher-safe. “Oh, I would *never* put it in there!” Yeah, but they’ll still pour boiling water in it when they make their tea, and that’s just as bad a temperature shock, if not worse.

      It’s like anything hand-made must be ten times more fragile than brutish factory ware… It’s not, but people have this idea in their heads that it is.

  2. That’s really interesting. I’ve been given the impression that if the pottery can withstand firing at high temperatures they are certainly safe for the dishwasher and microwave (minus the ones with metal glazes, etc.).
    Those are some pretty interesting reactions from your craft fair customers! I certainly believe pottery is fragile but I’m comfortable putting mugs in the dishwasher. That said, I do handwash the crystalline stuff (but the maker puts *everything* of hers in the dishwasher at home!).
    Hmmm.. I’m going to take a closer look at my wares to see how they’re faring with my household abuse!

    1. Well, exactly. Unless your kitchen appliances can hit 1200 degrees, your pottery’s pretty safe. The worst that could happen is a little crazing, but that’s just the nature of glass and clay. Commercial ware does it just as often.

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