Moar Tests

Mixed up a few test tiles yesterday. I’m hunting for two glaze bases I can use over cream or white clays, one variegated, and one which will take well to being turned pink. And hopefully also be clear, or clearish.[1]

I know from this article over on Digital Fire and this batch of test tiles that it’s possible to do it with Mason Stains. I’ve got two tests mixed up of my own, using the fourth recipe variation without cornwall stone (one with talc, and one without), to see if I might have any luck getting a nice colour with tin and chrome instead f the commercial stains.

I also mixed up a glaze called “Powder Box Pink”, which elusive internet rumour has it came from a book that was featured in Ceramics Monthly in some issue or other, where the author talked about getting pinks without having to use chrome. I have one tile for the recipe as written, and one with rutile, just for shits and giggles.

Oh, and I also mixed up a glaze I found one day in the studio notebook. It’s called “Surf”, and predates my involvement with the place, but when i asked one of the oldtimers about it she got all misty-eyed and nostalgic, so I want to see what it looks like. I switched the colourants around so it should come out looking sort of turquoisey instead of dark blue, but otherwise left the recipe as it was.

[1] The plan is to mix up a bunch of buckets–one pink, one apple green, one purple, and one bright blue–and use them on the Just For Fun mugs I made back in January.

Friday Night

Robotized some plates and mugs for Model Citizens… they should be delivered sometime mid-week.

Did up some colour tests. Duncan’s Really Red and Paprika underglazes on light and black clay, and also some pinks and purples. One side of the tile is under the studio’s current clear glaze, and the other is under a new one that’s been proposed. The current clear is a recipe from Pottery Supply House, and has the advantages of being reliable, forgiving of temperature fluctuations, and really sturdy. It’s also very simple–just four ingredients, and they’re things things any pottery studio has lying around. The new one is less simple, but is purported to be more compatible with colourants, especially chrome-tin pinks. If it also turns out to fit the clay and stand up well to use, I will be one happy potteryist. And there will be more pink Robots around.

Then I broke out the black clay. This stuff is not very plastic, which means it’s hard to center, hard to keep centered, and difficult to throw. Keeping your forms–no matter WHAT shape you try–from collapsing in on themselves or twisting on the wheel is really hard. On top of that, the dark base has a strong effect on any glaze you try to put over it, so the colours always come out really dark and sombre. But it’s the first clay I fell in love with, and now and then I always find myself going back to it. It has this wonderfully smooth texture, and you can make the most glorious mess with it.

Test result

I… actually was aiming for a turquoisey shade of blue-green. Will (reluctantly… I love this shade of green) switch to a blue for the big bowl; that would fit in better with the sky/wave vibe the curved bits give off.

The white feathery bits are only visible if you look very closely, so a thicker layer of white would be a good thing for the big bowl. If I end up layering the clear and white glazes often, I may even end up switching back to cream clay so the contrast is more visible[1].

There are two spots where the glaze pulled away from the clay, and even a little crazing; I blame it on the very thick layer of clear. Must go thinner next time.

[1] Or black or red clay! Ooooh, throw lines and carving and stamps and highlights… I could play around a lot with this…