Thursday, 19 November 2009

Lots of learning curves... and photos

Ok, so I may have put just a little too much faith in Mayco glazes. Not that they aren't good glazes, just that there are still certain rules that need to be adhered to if I want good results - the glazes can't do all the work!

#1. They're obviously not designed for covering over a previously badly glazed item! The glaze stuck well to the shiny surface when I was painting it on, but then this strange separation thing happened in the kiln...

Where the glaze cracked apart you can see the previous glaze. It's quite an interesting effect, but not quite what I had in mind for these bowls! I still can't decide if I want to include these at the weekend or not. Part of me likes the effect, but part of me thinks they look awful. (and I have no idea why blogger has uploaded the photo upside-down!)

#2 - and this is a major one - I really need to match my glazes with my clay body. I have a problem with glazes cracking on the inside of vases and such like. John (my tutor) mentioned previously that this could be because I am using low fire glazes on stoneware clay, although sticking to low temperatures. This has happened on the inside of my large Ivy vase, although not on the outside where the crackle glaze was!! Instead I ended up with this mottled effect...

I'm not really sure what caused this. The firing range of this glaze is the same as the other Mayco glazes that I have used. I'm guessing that either the crackle range is more sensitive to temperature variations, or again, this is because I'm using the wrong clay body.

This strange thing happened at the bottom of the vase as well...

...which is ok, because I quite like it. If the glaze had actually cracked like it was supposed to I think this rough edge at the bottom would have added to the aged effect. I'm not sure if I really like this piece as it has come out. It doesn't look aged, it just looks... dingy. The leaves didn't come out quite as green as I was expecting either.

Back to the cracking on the inside though; I realised that this is going to be a problem with my goblets that I have made for my girlie night. Obviously cups with cracked glaze on the inside can't really be used for drinking out of, but John has been thinking about doing a high firing, so I have ordered a high fire clear glaze to use on them.

I'm also looking for a nice white low firing clay now, to match my glazes. In the mean time the clay I have seems fine as long as I don't make anything that needs to be glazed on the inside.

So, as if it wasn't bad enough that my Ivy vase came out... not as expected, and my small Ivy vase stuck to the kiln shelf last week, and my bowls have also come out looking... not at their best, this evening I broke a leaf on my tree fairy vase! I'll have nothing left for the show at this rate! Somehow I'm feeling quite positive though. I think I've learnt a lot recently and I'm looking forward to improving. So I shall knock every-one's socks off at the next show!

Not everything has been a disaster recently though. The vase that Leanne carved for me has come out beautifully.

This glaze was more opaque than I was expecting and didn't pool in the carved areas as I thought it would. But I love it! Thank you Leanne for your beautiful carving, and thank you She-she for glazing it for me!

There were other lovely pieces that came out of the kiln this week. Pete's mini vase...

...and Zandra's beautiful horse...

...I also wish I had photographed Fiona's leaf bowl. The autumn colours on her leaves were absolutely gorgeous.

So that's about it for this week. I need to try to cram in some more goblet making before the weekend... and then it's the show!


queencraftygirl said...

Hey Un-D!

You will kick tush at the art show! Your pieces look great!! You need to include the beautiful, light, blue plates in the art show, definitely.

The teeny little vase is adorable!


Angela Finney said...

It is great you are being so productive and solving problems so that you work will just keep getting better and better. The vase with the leaves looks pretty interesting, though not what you intended.

Congratulations on your Commission. Those goblets do have
a very nice shape.

It must be fun to share with you neice and nephew -- what a great exdperience for them!

Undaunted said...

Thank you Queeny! Yes, I have decided to include those little bowls, and call it a "fleck design" - as if it was planned! :)

I have no idea how Pete managed to make a vase so small! The detail is incredible!

Thank you Angela. Yes, I'm quite surprised at my attitude at the moment - I would usually get very down when things go wrong, but now I'm seeing these mistakes as a way of learning. My medication must be working! :D

I do love sharing the experience with my older nieces and nephews, but now my brother has demanded that I give his kids a clay lesson too!