Saturday, July 23, 2011


I fired the kiln yesterday, the hottest day of the year, so far. Just would figure that would be the intersection between plans made and nature. It was brutal firing the kiln and the cat was even giving me these looks like; “what the h*ll were you thinking”. In my mind, I wanted the kiln fired to get some orders unloaded and packed and shipped out right away. Good customer service goes a long way and it is always a relief to have some things finalized. The other reason I was so stubborn was I wanted to see a couple pots in particular and a group of pots that were testing a new glaze.

As may be apparent for anyone on the outside looking in, I have a hard time leaving any one glaze alone. I seem to have a compulsion to tamper with, tweak, tear and re-assemble a glaze to see what I can get it to do. Sometimes this works and, well, sometimes it doesn’t. The positive results don’t necessarily make for a good glaze, the ones that don’t work, sometimes are dull, uninteresting or fail catastrophically. That is probably what makes this chemical tinkering fun and keeps me on my toes when it comes to glazing.

This firing had a half dozen pieces with a radically altered iron glaze that I have been working with. At first, a few of the tweaks were entirely random, then after a few firings I decided it was time to “engineer” an iron yellow glaze. It didn’t work over the temmoku as it used some of the iron and copper from the glaze and just came out like the iron glaze I was using. After thinking about it, I decided to try it over the clear glaze that I use. The first pod test was rather promising. In for a penny, in for a pound, I threw a group of pots this last cycle destined for the new Iron Yellow tests, glazed them up and waited for the results. The results are varied and show some promise and are directly related to the glaze thickness. Overall, it has given me some things to think about and certainly some ideas for the next firing.

Illustrated is a paddled stoneware water jar with clear and iron yellow glaze applied rather thin.The second pot illustrated shows two views of a stoneware bottle with hakeme slips under a clear glaze and the iron yellow glaze a bit thicker. It is immediately apparent, this is a really runny glaze, so glaze breaks will have to be planned into the pots I intend to use it on and secondly, it still maintains that Karatsu influence and style that I am currently playing with.

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