Studio Update: Week of 2/20/ 23
The start of this week I unloaded my test tiles for the glaze that my undergrad professor has been having success with in their cone 6 studio. I was really hopeful and excited that this would finally be the end to my glaze misery with the brown bear clay. You can imagine that I was pretty disappointed to unload test tiles that are yet again covered with pinholes. That is the confirmation that I need that this clay body is definitely the issue, and I am so so so close to ditching it and moving back to my trusty red earthenware that I used in undergrad. I have a couple of options before me. I am becoming less and less sure that I will be able to afford to stay here for another year even though I would love to. If that is the case, I am not so sure that I want to waste this whole semester glaze correcting a clay that I might not even continue to use if I no longer live near Kentucky. But the stubborn part of me needs to see the problem through. I am thinking that my game plan will be to purchase the super clear glaze that Autumn uses on brown bear that works really well for her. I think I am also going to get some red earthenware and make work with that as well, and glaze test with my current glazes to see if they are at least compatible with a clay body that is not quite as dark as brown bear is. I have been in awe of the beautiful waxy qualities of tera sigilata after seeing Autumns work and I have decided to transition from my engobes over to a tera sig. I think that this could also save me a lot of time on glazing because it looks beautiful under a clear glaze so I could get the colors I need with just the tera sig. Hopefully. If I do get the super clear glaze for now, then I could independently continue to test my glazes on the side without it directly affecting my ability to produce work. The work I am making is strong and I am really proud of what I have been making up to the glazing so it would be really rewarding to finially get some finished pieces. My plan of action for the next round of glaze tests ( after a deep dive on a facebook group with some people that use brown bear) I am going to try bisquing even hotter to cone 03 and then either glaze firing to cone 5 or trying a drop and hold firing at cone 5. I am so so close to figuring it out i can feel it, I did have promising results in two of my colors by just bisquing to 04 and firing to cone 6 so I really hope this is a step in the right direction. I feel like I am overflowing with creative ideas that I am so excited to start and get to a finished product so it would be a relief to finally be able to do that.
Over the previous weekend GH and I loaded the soda for a cone 6 residual firing. This was my first time personally firing a soda kiln so Gh walked me through it. The goal was to see if any of the residual soda would create a light sheen on the work without spraying soda ash in. Unfortunately, one of the cone packs exploded in this firing and the shrapnel ruined most of my work. We also let it sit in reduction slightly too long and it fired a little over to cone 7. ( which brown bear did not like at all, I am learning more and more that she really just wants to be a cone 5 clay, even though she is rated for 5-7). As always it wasn't a complete bust, each firing and failure leads to new information and ceramics is nothing if not a waiting game for success.
On Saturday 2/25 Gh, Molly and I loaded up the wood kiln and bricked up the door to prepare for the wood fire that we are starting on Monday. Some big experiments are going into the kiln including some giant pots made by Gh with some really experimental loading techniques. Molly included some dead birds to be fired on top of some of her wormy bowls and we are all excited to see what that does and if it leaves a shadow of the bird's silhouette on her piece. It did however, smell awful once we loaded it in so GH had to wear a respirator for the rest of the loading.
Image 1: the base of the most recent glaze test pinholing
Image 2: a COUPLE of my ever-growing pile of failed glazes
Image 3: Tera Sig. color testing
Image 4: Molly and her dead bird bag
Image 5: Back stack of the wood kiln
Image 6: Gh loading the wood kiln with his respirator