Thursday, April 28, 2011

Charming Chartreuse

I have been working on a fantastic project lately. I was commissioned to create 50 vases for a hotel opening in Paris! I'm sure you can imagine my excitement! While I will keep the details quiet until the order is completely finished, I did want to go ahead and share my latest glaze triumph. The first image is a cooler shade of green I recently made.

For this new order I needed to develop a warmer yellow toned chartreuse green that would work on my cone 6 creamy white stoneware and porcelain blend. For starters, this clay is primarily Highwater's Little Loafers stoneware, which fires a warm yellow toned white. I mix in a portion of Highwater's Helios porcelain into the stoneware to soften the yellow hint of the stoneware clay. In my last firing I took the clay to cone 7 with no issues.

The most difficult part of mixing my own glazes was to first find a suitable clear base. After trying several options here is one of my favorites from Mastering Cone 6 Glazes:

Glossy Clear Liner Glaze:
G-200 Feldspar:   20*
Ferro Frit 3134:  20
Wollastonite:     15
EPK:              20
Talc:              6
Silica:           19

*My supplier is now carrying Minspar instead of G-200 Feldspar and I have been using this as a substitute without any issues.

Once you have a suitable clear base adding colorants is where all the fun is! I've become a big fan of Mason Stains, but I also work some common ceramic materials into my glazes. These test tiles show a gradual transition from a cool yellow glaze to a richer greener hue. From right to left I used a yellow stain beginning at 8% which I increased to 15%  along the way. I also added small amounts of copper carbonate to each tile beginning with the third tile in from the right. A little bit of copper goes a long way. I added only 0.25 grams up to 1 gram of copper to these tests. Happy testing!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

House of Pots

My life is being taken over by pots! This used to be my dining table. The counter was at one point used to prepare meals. My garage is filled to bursting. I've moved off surfaces onto the floors.

The thing is, I own these fantastic, huge utility shelves that I keep forgetting to bring down to NC from my parent's house in VA. I've been holding out on buying a new set of shelves, because I technically already have these. No more waiting. I will be buying new shelves this week. I'm sure I'll now need at least two sets anyways! 

The first week of May I will begin converting my dining room into a studio. I've simply outgrown the garage and the tiny work space I've set aside in my bedroom. For the new studio I'm planning on hanging tons of shelves and having large work tables. I don't know where I will be putting everything that is currently in my dining room... but I will deal with that later. I can't wait to have a larger space to work and create!

So happy my business is growing! Which, is really what all these pots mean! Thank you all for the support!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Purely Pink

I've written a few times about my quest to find a suitable pink glaze. I never said much more than this because I was only slowly gathering pieces of information. I now have a pretty solid stack of research and a fairly large amount of samples, both failed and successful. I am ready to talk about pink.

My search for a reliable cone 6 oxidation pink glaze proved rather challenging initially. In the beginning I was coming up with endless, useless search results. I finally stumbled upon a very helpful article from this website: After finding this site my search began to have some direction!

This article explains the difficulty in achieving an oxidation pink in terms of chemistry. While this approach required I re-read the article half a dozen times, by the sixth time or so I was beginning to catch on to a few of the key points. Crazy thing is, the author of this article was already condensing his extensive research into a shortened version. I will take it a step further. If you are trying to formulate a pink glaze:

1) Avoid Zinc.

2) CaO content is very important. This should be relatively high.

3) Although MgO does not normally impact a glaze, keep very low.

4) 8% Stain will yield a brilliant color such as the first picture. While smaller amounts result in pastels. Some glazes begin to run with the higher colorant amount, so use caution.

5) Some stains work better with a slow firing and cooling cycle. I use both a slow firing cycle and a slow cooling cycle attached to the end of the firing, and I am very happy with the results.

Visit my shop for more lovely pinks:

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Hands Are Too Dirty

I wish I had an interesting excuse to explain my complete disappearance here the last three weeks. I did spend a weekend with family in D.C. and I have done some minimal shopping and friend visiting, but mostly I just haven't done much of anything (well, outside of the studio). I have of course been busy making pots. Lots and lots of pots.

When my hands are covered in clay I am happy, but the scrubbing that goes into cleaning up before sitting down at the computer has just felt like the biggest hassle. Most nights I work right up until dinner, take a break and then work again until I want only to crawl into bed. Basically my hands are too dirty to do anything other than make pots. Besides, I'm having fun so why worry about being clean? Here's what I've been up to:

New perfectly pastel pots just in time for Easter, Mothers' Day and all those Spring Weddings! Visit my shop here to see additional items and purchase: Did I mention I am currently running a 10% off sale? Simply use coupon code: HAPPYSPRING10 at checkout! Enjoy!