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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Working Hard for the Money

Or just working stupid..either way the deadline of our home studio sale is breathing down my neck. I have to have the bisc kiln loaded by Sunday night. I'll be pulling glaze stuff out Friday morning. I worked my ass off today. I stupidly decided I didn't need any extra help today even though Mike offered to come out before his other obligations for a couple hours. A lot of today just didn't go according to plan.

I had planned on waking up, having coffee and going to the studio to throw Tankards. When I got to the studio I found all the stuff I had thrown yesterday was already starting to dry out. You can't put handles on dry mug bodies, so I quickly trimmed and pulled the most necessary of handles and covered the rest with plastic. Then I trimmed the butter keepers and the oil candles. I decided to put the butter keepers on top of the cooling glaze kiln to help speed dry them. When I came back to check on them almost all the lids had cracked.


I forgot they were Porcelain. Porcelain cracks for no apparent reason sometimes. It is the gorgeous ice queen of clay. The stunningly beautiful bitch goddess of mud. Porcelain is a harsh mistress. I didn't need the aggravation. I'm on a deadline. UGH.

So. I trashed the cracked lids and got on with my day. I wedged 50 lbs of clay and made 25 2lb tankards.

Then I took a break to do some glaze research because of course, right before a major sale, one of my glazes misbehaves. The maturing temperature has dropped with the new batch and I am getting a lot of pitting and bubbles and blisters where I wasn't before. Apparently I need to adjust the recipe to raise the maturing temperature. I think I came up with the answer..or at least two possible answers. The glaze is 61% cornwall stone and 5.5 % Silica..everything else is a flux to melt it down. There is no clay content in this glaze at all. My choices are add a few percentage points of kaolin to stabilize it a bit and raise the maturing temperature a bit. But I am reluctant to do that because this glaze contains no clay and I worry that I could change the overall character of the glaze. The other thing I could do is increase the silica content a little or the Cornwall Stone which should keep the character of the glaze the same but creep the melting point up. I think this is the way to go. If it gets worse I know adding clay will do the trick, but who knows what else it will do.

After that it was making some rice bowls and then a short break for dinner when Ro came home from The Creative Oasis. She was a hell of a trooper tonight. She was dead tired but she still came down and wedged clay for me before heading back upstairs to pass out. While she wedged I pulled the rest of the handles for the travel mugs and the round mugs. THEN I made good use of her hard labor and made creamers, apple bakers and some replacement butter keepers then a couple of Tea Pot bodies and 3 full size pitchers. The only reason I am awake right now is because I am wired as well as dead tired. Here are the pictures. G'night!