Thursday, March 10, 2011

A revelation in gray

Same gray glaze.  Different results.  Sometimes a smooth and satin-matt- consistent throughout, sometimes pin-holed and pocketed.  I've been wracking my brains all fall and winter trying to figure this glaze out.  I've wrecked countless pots on the attempts.  Ruined 3 custom teapots on it.  And sacrificed my level of quality control in some cases just because I felt so disheartened. Seriously beautiful when it's worked out, and so unfortunate when it didn't.
So I kept thinking that my kiln had hot spots.  That this glaze really doesn't like to be over-fired.  Or that it needs to be really thinned out.  Or that my recipe needed tweaking.  Just when I thought I had things figured out, I'd have a couple of great pots with this glaze in the kiln right beside one not so great pot. 
And last firing I finally figured it out.  Clay body.  I've been using 3 different clay bodies in the studio, one being my slip-casting clay body (image 1), the other being the original clay body I've used for the past 7 years or so (image 2)- I make all my bowls and large pieces with this clay body, and, the culprit: a porcelain clay body (image 3- look close: see the pin-holes?).  I had started using this clay a couple of years ago when my supplier for my other clay body went out of business and I could no longer get clay #2.  Then after a few months a new clay supply store, in a very inconvenient spot, opened up and started carrying my old clay body.   I quite like the porcelain for a number of reasons- my poppies have a sort of glow to them on the porcelain, but in many other ways, #1 being warpage, this clay body is a real pain. There are so many factors that go into a good pot- sometimes I forget that at the base of a good pot is the clay itself.  What a relief to know that I don't have to change much here- I just have to remember which clay is which.

Kiln is cooling today with plenty of striped bottle vases to go off to new shops and back in stock on Etsy!  I'll be announcing some new shops that will be carrying my work soon!


mckenzie said...

these are lovely, we saw some of your pieces at our friend Paige's house. They`re on our wish list.


Unknown said...

Glad you finally solved the mystery~ There are so many factors in our work to consider when something goes awry! Now you can sleep again ;)