Monday, March 24, 2014

a bit more snow

I just checked the weather forecast and it looks like one more week of cold with a bit more snow. We will finally be busting out of this cold and moving directly into warm weather. We don’t fool around with spring for too long, gotta get green quick. I see that it will be 10 degrees by the end of next week. This winter has been very, very long, with very little in the way of Chinooks. I can not wait. We will be able to put pots outside to dry soon. No more waiting forever for things to be stiff enough to trim, or even fire. Speaking of firing, I put a load in for bisque on Sunday. In that load is a whole bunch of little bowls that were thrown off the hump very quickly. I will be using them purely to calcine Alberta Slip for our new “purple rain” glaze. The recipe comes courtesy of Plainsman Clays, but we need cool studio names, not a boring number, so as I was the one to push for it to be included in the studio glaze repertoire, I got to name it. I have had a lot of water in my life, so purple rain came to mind. The purple is a bit transient, in that if you get it too thin, it will be more of a light amber brown, but when applied properly to a buff stoneware or white porcelain, it is a floating lavender blue on a brown background. When applied to a dark body, it is a beautifully intense and compellingly juicy (too many adjectives?), floating blue. It also works really well with all of our studio glazes. If you are curious, the recipe is this: 40% Raw Alberta Slip 40% Calcined Alberta Slip (fire the raw to ^022 and hold for about an hour to drive off excess moisture) 20% Ferro Frit 3134 4% Rutile I will hopefully be mixing up a slightly larger test batch for the studio this weekend. I am using my labor as the incentive to include this glaze in the studio glaze line up. If Dave doesn’t have to do it, then he gets more agreeable. We are quite limited in colour choices. We have dark brown, celadon green, turquoise, hares fur blue, pale stone blue, periwinkle blue, white & clear. You can see the trend. The addition of a purple(ish) glaze will hopefully get the creative juices flowing. We try to keep the costs down with each glaze, as well as ensuring that they are all as non toxic as possible. We don’t use barium or lithium or anything that could leach out or cause problem. Fairview Studios is a reational studio where there are times when nobody is there to ensure that students are not eating, drinking, breathing, or bathing in the glaze buckets, so we try to keep it simple, the result being quite a neutral pallet. The cost of frit is also quite a challenge to overcome. We try to make glazes that use very little, if any, to avoid not only the cost, but the inevitable hard panning that occurs with heavily fritted glazes. This new one should be quite acceptable. The cost is a bit more with the 20% frit, but there are only 2 other ingredients, 80% of which is clay (AB Slip). Even though it settles quickly, it does not hard pan, even after sitting undisturbed for 3 or more months. I guess glazing is the next thing on the agenda, I have a sale looming on the horizon (end of May), and I just don’t have the stock. I did however do a down and dirty studio sale this past week. Essentially, cleaned out all the pots that have been sitting on my shelves, that have travelled to one too many sales and never sold, or are just not quite good enough for the galleries and sell them off to the students. I put all the pots on a rarely used hand building table with a note saying to take these pots if you want them and if you feel the need to pay, to put what you feel is fair in a jug on my shelves. It worked great. I cleared a lot of space and made a few bucks in the process. So that has been my life lately: cold, waiting for summer, working, glazing, mixing etc.

Oh ya, this one is waiting for the snow to melt too, she doesn't know it though. She has only ever known snow.

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