Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lithium/bauxite disc and yunomi

This is the little glass disc I used on a previously glazed pressed plate and it produced beautiful swirls in a myriad of colours. I was hoping I could be the lazy potter and not have to crush them up but I now know it has to be used sparingly to produce a good result with other glazes. Didn't have enough time to do a line blend and I doubt it will happen before the next glaze but I think I will get some surprises. I did find out it eats shelves when it seeps through a cracked tray! That little tray in the previous post didn't quite like another firing!
A big part of my two days glazing was spent on these yunomis mixing the glazes with the shino in all sorts of thicknesses over the bauxite and mixed clay body. The two outer yunomis are from local clay, not sieved so there were iron particles which created interesting fractures. I haven't tried firing this clay as is before and didn't expect the wonderful results. I will be using this a lot more now and still in its natural state, impurities and all. One thing I will be more diligent with is compressing the bottoms as the right yunomi has a crack on its base and it does leak - testament to my throwing on the hump and not paying attention to its base.

This dilly is made with the unprocessed Weipa kaolin and an addition of potash. It threw beautifully and although a fairly white body the firing process certainly bought out the iron in the natural kaolin. I am still happy that I can use it and get a really thin form - I lost a couple of pieces just moving them around as they are very fragile in the dry state. The varying thickness of the clear glaze gives interesting responses from the clay.

I had a bit of a run with the pressed plates - an easy task while watching a little two year old paint and play in clay - means I can stop and run when I am called!!! and it requires little creative thinking. I think I perhaps could have been a bit more adventurous in my glazing of this little set - there are six of these - but they are growing on me the more I look at them. This size plate is prefect for a snack and ideal for the fridge - I have one in my cupboard and its use proves its versatility. We are rice wrap junkies and these are perfect for finger food and the accompanying sauce.
I am always tired after glazing and firing and marvel at all those wonderful woodfirers who labour through long nights of firing. I love the results of the fire and ash but wonder how long it must take to recover from those labour intensive hours spent stoking. The woodfire community seems to be growing worldwide and I am glad there is such appreciation for the work produced.

I have to neglect clay for a little while as we are getting chickens - they are spending a whole day flying to live in our remote climes so hope they survive the trip - we are assured they will be ok. At least our Winter nights only go down to 23C+ and the days are still hitting low 30's. Nona and Mum have to try their hand at converting a steel frame canopy into a snake proof chook house - we have lots of pythons around so I'm sure chickens would make a tasty morsel. The things we do for little ones.......

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

How well do we care for our environment???

We have achieved a place in the Top 10 rating - I wonder when we will wake up and start looking at our environment through different eyes.

Monday, May 3, 2010


I don't use glass with my pottery but I have access to a quantity which contains bauxite so would really like to use it in some of my pieces, especially the handbuilt trays. This one I threw into the bisque and I vaguely remember glass should only go to 800C so this was a little higher and the crazing is wonderful but it would not make the piece user friendly as I can feel the edges of the larger crazes. I am hoping someone out in blogger world or on the ceramics discussion list will be able to give me an idea of the firing temps and cooling to make the pieces useable.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Glaze making to pass the time???

Had a busy day yesterday but I'm glad I managed to get all these buckets of glaze replenished while a bisque was happlily firing away. I hate, hate making glazes but once I start I quite get into the swing of it but wearing a mask makes it a hot job. I even decided I would make a couple of new ones up. I have never had a chun or good celadon so here's hoping they will turn out - testing in the next firing. I rarely sieve my glazes - don't think I'd make so many up if I had to face that the next day.
Here's proof my little shed needs replacing, its barely holding together and the chimney has really suffered in the past couple of months. We had light rain on and off and luckily I only had to divert water once away from the damper and that was in the earlier stages of the firing. I am glad the wet season is all but over as I wouldn't attempt firing with the leaking chimney. After such a long day the dog and I decided we would take a walk on the beach. I haven't been down to the actual beach in ages and have missed the sand and salt air. Midnight couldn't believe we were actually going down the hill to his favourite place and kept running doing his doggie checkout thing. A lone jabiru was out on the edge of the sandbar 'fishing' - that majestic loner seems to typify the peacefulness and solitude of the beach at dusk.

The paperbark are all in flower and the smell is sickly sweet but such an attraction to flying fox - we had a noisy night in the backyard with the continual squabbling over the blossums and tonight I can hear our night visitors back again.
A little someone was happy in this big sandpit planting his sticks and exploring with plenty of chatter about this new place.
We were all out here so I could film my shedbuilder (No. 2 son) practicing for the Finke Desert Race (the shed building has to wait until the wet and this event is over). I am definitely not a bike person but here I am perched on the back holding his huge camera being ferried slowly to a good vantage point. The little person in the pit crew loved all the noise and greeted our return to the car with clapping and a wide grin.
Unloading tomorrow so the week will be busy glazing and reloading but I have my one annoying burner to take off and clean - another job I try and avoid but I couldn't get it to light even at high pressure so it will have to be cleaned properly. This is what happens when months lapse between firings so it pays to keep the kiln functioning. I have a few pieces in a rich red clay and two pieces in the local porcelain so I hope they survived the bisque along with the most important pieces - the dinosaurs!!!