Saturday, August 17, 2013

What I Learned This Summer

A dissatisfaction with shiny or inconsistent clear glazes lead to a little exploration of cold finishes, and to other options. My friend, Liz, had a wide assortment of clay bodies. So, she made tiles for each clay body. I only use two different clay bodies, so I made tiles for those. Then, we fired and glazed and experimented. Here are some things that I learned:

-    I don't like the lack of porosity of the clay, when it is bisque fired to Cone 3. The underglaze
        doesn't readily absorb into the work.

-    I will now be firing my first bisque at Cone 04, then the second at Cone 3, and the finishing
        firing back at Cone 04.

-    I like what Cone 3 does to the clay, so it is essential to fire at this higher temp. It makes the colors
        more vivid, and the clay vitrifies more fully.

-    I learned that the matte stoneware clear glaze looks kind of cool, when it is fired way too low at
        Cone 04. It has a snowy, ashy look and feel. It might be interesting to try it out on a piece.

-    I learned that I can melt wax and spill it!  I'd like to try using furniture paste wax on some
        smoother, textureless pieces.

-    I learned that tile sealant gives a nice finish.

-    I like the finish that a coating of Delta Matte Varnish gives after a piece has been fired.

-    I'm going to try a couple of clays that Liz made tiles for, just to see if I like how they feel.

-    I learned that using cafeteria trays helps to transport work.

-   This was a no brainer: I learned that Liz has an awesome studio, and that she is an amazing
        person to have in my clay community!

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