Sunday, January 16, 2011

Testin' Time Again...

Well, it's the time of year for me to break out all my glaze ingredients and go to town testing, testing, testing!

I recently unloaded 10 cubic feet of glaze tests and ...

Wait for it ...

not a single one gave me what I was looking for!

Glaze testing can be a colossal pain in the ass. I'm not going to lie. But it's a necessary evil. Before I fired this kiln load, I only had a vague idea of what I was looking for. Sort of...

I want another pair of colours to compliment my new line of work. Something simple, and earthy. Maybe a bit "warmer" than the slate gray and ice blue I'm currently working with.

 I had ideas in my head for a kind of warm, wheat colour in my matte glaze, and a nice, toasty merlot colour for my glossy liner. The paint chips here show the colour of matte glaze I am after in the center. It's called "Desert Fortress". (Am I the only one that thinks that's a pretty bizarre name for a colour?) But I digress...The merlot colour is shown on the right.

Since my ice blue is a stain, I thought 'what the hell' and got mason's 6006 to try after seeing some AMAZING results with it from a collegue of mine.

After that last firing, I can assure you that I have no interest in pursuing the 6006 stain. I used this base glaze, which meets all the requirements for a chrome/tin stain (CaO in 12 to 15%, zinc free) but alas, I was disappointed.I want to maintain a somewhat translucent glaze which can be tricky with stains, especially since this one has tin in it. To keep the translucence, I need the stain in percentages of 3 to 4%. Unfortunately, it was too low to give good colour. But any more than that, and I loose the depth and end up with very commercial looking, flat, opaque colours. Oh well...

Then there were the results for my matte glaze. I was using iron, nickel, rutile, titanium, and even tin and copper in various blends to get the wheaty colour I was searching for but to no avail. Most of the tests came out pretty ugly. I got lots of orange-y browns, fleshy colours but not that beautiful shade of "Desert Fortress".

 if you are interested in any of these colours, let me know, I'm happy to share...

There was however, some good news in all of this testing. I didn't get to see all of my results until after a visit I had with an incredibly talented potter, Iris Dorton. We had a long chat about all things pottery when I went to visit her in her fabulous new studio. She has a stunning new line of work and I was picking her brain on how she made this transition. She was quick to point out that her new line of work uses the same colours and compliments her old line of work. This should have been obvious. My new colours and forms are such a HUGE departure from my arabesque collection that I had no idea how to tie the two lines together.


After this visit, and then unloading my kiln to see all these tests, it finally came together. I am going to bring my purpley-blue glaze over to the new collection of work for my glossy liner, and work on the wheat colour I'm after for the matte glaze.
 
 Seeing all of my test results, I can extrapolate and have a much better understanding of the blends necessary to get the colour I'm after.
 So some fine tuning and I'm confident I can get what I want. And I think the two colours will not only look smashing together, but will help to bring the two lines of work together. So stay tuned for some more testing....

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like finding the holy grail might be easier.

    ReplyDelete