Monday, August 20, 2012

getting stuff done

I managed to get a few things done this weekend, despite the heat. It managed to get up to at least 29 degrees with no breeze or a cloud in the sky. I started the day on Saturday at 9:30 by going to the mall (I know, I know, I hate the mall too). I needed to go see a man about a power cord for my macbook. Lately the cord has been kinda flaky and not charging properly. I took it in, saw a “genius” and got a new cord. Works like a charm. The mall is on the way to the studio, and after the apple visit, I toddled on over there, but splurged on a venti caramel latte before I left. My theory was to try to get to the studio as early as I could to beat the heat, but it was pretty toasty inside anyway, there was a kiln that had recently finished firing and was doing a good job at heating up the joint. When I pulled into the parking lot, there were hundreds of cars parked in every conceivable space in every lot, along the road (except ours thank goodness). There is a motor cross track at the end of the road and normally all you can hear is the annoying whine of dirt bikes flying around the track. Not so on Saturday. There was a Spartan race going on, and if you don't know what that is, and neither did I, it is an obstacle course that involves crawling under barbed wire in the mud, running up hill, running down hill, etc. I saw a lot of very muddy racers walking to their cars when they were done.

Anyway, I mixed 3 glaze tests, fingers crossed, glazed a billion pieces, and loaded a kiln. Ok, probably not a billion, but there was a lot of stuff to glaze, and not knowing exactly what will fit in the kiln, I try to make sure I have enough glazed to be able to pack it as efficiently as possible. I managed to get the custom “fire” bowl in, about 24 mugs, some tall stuff, a large platter and 4 smaller square plates, a couple of casseroles, and teapots, as well as all the test pieces. As I had mixed 3 tests, I had the 3 test cups in there, plus one where I poured all 3 in an overlapping manner around the outside, and then for giggles, I dumped all 3 tests together and tried that out on a couple of small cups. The base glaze was identical, but the oxides were different in all 3. One had just copper carb, another had copper carb and iron, and the 3rd had cobalt oxide and iron. I am hoping for a mottled green/brown, a pale mottled green, and a dark mottled greenish blue and all will hopefully have a lovely satin feel to them.

I am hoping to get the crystal firing loaded this coming friday night and then program it so that I can be there during the critical cooling and holding phase to ensure that the temp. drops as fast as possible by opening up all peeps and running a fan across them to draw as much heat out as fast as possible until the hold temp is reached.

When I was unloading the student glaze load yesterday, I became quite aware of how little people actually pay attention to anything. I sent out instructions about what to do when glazing with the crystal glazes and where to put them when finished to avoid confusion with regular ware etc. But in spite of that, I pulled out a spectacularly horrible pot yesterday that had a dry and ugly surface on it (glaze not thick enough), but where it was thick, little spiky, poorly formed crystals were evident. So, not only did they not read or follow the instructions, or ask for advice on how to glaze their work, they then put it with the standard cone 6 work. Thank goodness we limited it to the inside of bowls only or there could have been a huge mess.

Here's a pictoral rundown of my Saturday and sunday

This is some of the bisque I had to glaze

Here is a close up of a couple square plates

The ware cart starts to fill and then move into the kiln. This is the 1st shelf.

Then the second, third, and a half. My fingers are crossed right now. I'm hoping for some good tests.

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