Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Progress report...

I don't have much to show yet, but I thought I would give a progress report. Our last bronze pour was April 1st, and it went very well. It was a pretty large pour relatively, as we needed 3 full crucibles (each holds ~100 lbs of bronze).

I have two pieces from this pour, which together set me back a little over $300 for the bronze and the shop supplies. I broke both pieces from them molds last Wednesday, and they both cast beautifully. This is great news, because I'm still using the short cut method of skipping the mother mold process. Usually you sculpt the form you would like to cast, then using silicone you make a rubber cast of the form. Then, you pour hot wax into the mother mold to make a replica of the original. You refine the wax mold, proceed with sprue and gates, then build the plaster mold. The plaster mold is then heated for a day to totally melt and evaporate out all the wax leaving the void where the bronze will pour into. By skipping the mother mold step, I sculpt directly in wax. This results in a faster turn around time, but I have no backup in case something goes wrong in the plaster casting, or bronze pour. If it goes wrong, I've lost that sculpture entirely.

The first sculpture I broke open is my dragon head. In the interest of minimizing the mold size, and therefore the cost, this piece was fairly tightly cramped. In order to pour this in one mold, I needed to cut the horns off the head, and gate them as a part of the cast. So, it took nearly 3 hours just to saw off the sprue and gates. I stopped with that, since I really want to finish my "secret" project first.

My second sculpture from that pour was good, but there was a void near where the gate attached which I needed to fill with some small scraps and a welder. I removed all the excess gates and sprues, then cleaned up the piece pretty much and did the welding (oxy/acetylene). Most of the weld went well, but there is one spot I need to go back and fill again. I think I will get set up on the MIG welder tonight and weld that one spot, and then also I can work on welding the horns back onto my dragon's head.

Tonight I will take some pictures.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Some thing fun for Friday.

Help I'm steppin' into the Twilight Zone
Place is a madhouse
Feels like being cloned
My becaons been moved
Under moon and star
Where am I to go Now that I've gone too far...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The secret project

This blog's craft related topics are sparse currently. I'm working on a secret sculpture project as a present (belated birthday) for Angel. I started it about 3 weeks ago, and I've been had to keep it and only work on it at the studio. Also, the number of bisqued and glazed pots has dropped due to the new session, so the studio manager skipped a firing cycle and my work sat on the shelf for an extra week.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Some rock favorites for small boys...

... who dance around crazy in their PJ's.

Think of me, when you suffer...

I'm a sap for these romantic vocals. I admit it.

If you have a deep sorrow
Think of me
If you want to cry
Think of me
You see that I worship
Your divine image
Your nubile lips
being so small
Taught me to sin.

Think about me
When you kiss
When you cry
Also, think about me
When you want to take away my life
I don’t want it, not at all
It serves to nothing, without you.

Think about me
When you kiss
When you cry
Also, think about me
When you want to take away my life
I don’t want it, not at all
It serves to nothing, without you.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I have two questions; A) Why do they make this? B) Why did we buy this?

I'm feeling like a second pot today, so it makes sense for an "Afternoon Blend".

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Another mask free'd from the kiln...

This was the second mask I made from paper clay, this one was 15% paper before bisque firing. The final thickness of this stoneware mask (about 7" high x 4" wide) after firing is a mere 1/8", and it weighs only 6 ounces(175g). After the first bisque firing I decided to cover it with a thin layer of light blue porcelain slip, and then bisque fire it again. The lips are a lavender engove, eyebrows are delphinium stain, cheek designs are done with Rietz Blue/Green, and the chin dot was a glob of Pete's Red. I then covered it with a clear glaze.

The photo is a bit deceptive in showing more of the under body, and I'm not sure why. When I look at it, the light blue under the clear seems to lift up off the clay body like a translucent cloud. It looks more light blue, and less of the buff seems to show up to the naked eye.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Soda Kiln and Raku Pieces.

Today I was able to retrieve my first two pieces that went through the soda firing process.

This first one is a tea bowl that I tried to cover with dark blue porcelain slip before it was bisque fired, but the slip cracked and was coming off. So I decided to scrub it really hard to get as much of the cracked slip off then put it through the soda kiln. The inside is light porcelain with a clear over it.

This next one was my first pitcher, with a CR yellow on the outside, and cushing black on the inside.

Now, on to the fun for today. I ran over to MCA at 9am and we got the Raku kiln going and set up all the pieces to fire. I had to leave at around 10am to get over to Rane and Christian's school conferences (which went well), and then I returned to MCA at 11:45 to help unload the hot pieces and smother them.

First, here is my first mask that I made using paper clay.

Then, a bowl I did with a wavey lip.

Here are a set of three small bottles with covers.

So, a big day for results. I have another mask going through the gas reduction kiln now, and it should be ready Thursday. I still have more than a dozen pieces in my locker at school ready to glaze, and a new batch of green pots in the basement ready to be bisque fired. I really can't wait to get my kilns set up here.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Some new treasures from the kiln...

Thursdays are always fun, because that is the day that both kilns at MAC are unloaded. Here are some of my successes from the reduction gas kiln.

The teapot that I made so long ago, I painted some delphinium flowers on and glazed with Piepenburg white.

Here is a 4" diameter bowl, also about 4" high. I painted the inside with blue stain and glazed with a celadon, the outside has blue stain with beach blue over it.

Here is a 8" x 3" high bowl. It has CR yellow on the inside, dark celadon on the outside, and a dip of the rim in Cushing Black.

And, finally, here is a 10" diameter plate in celadon, with a streak of Pete's Red.

Tomorrow I will publish some things that came from the soda kiln.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Results of my 22 bowl test

This will be a pretty sizable post and I'll try to present all the information I learned from my 22 bowls study. This was done on MB Clay from Minnesota Clay Company. I'm new to this clay, so I wanted to do some testing to see how well it performed with the glazes we have available. These bowls are small, about 3" diameter, and were punched from a slab and slumped on a plaster bowl shaped mold. I trimmed them up a bit, but not much time was spent in trying to make perfect forms.

I'll list the glazes/stains that I had available from the Minnetonka Center for the Arts.

First the glazes;
1. Robin's Clear
2. Rhodes White
3. MAC White
4. Piepenberg White
5. Dark Celadon
6. Light Celadon
7. Tenmoku
8. Denny's Blue/Brown
9. Cushing Black
10. Mamo Blue
11. *none*
12. Reitz Green
13. Dunham
14. Cushing Blue/Green
15. Red Shino
16. Wirts Shino
17. B/B Ash
18. Gold Shino
19. 3D Matte
20. Fake Ash
21. Pete's Copper Red
22. Frog Belly
23. Shanner's Green
24. Beach Blue
25. Pinell Bronze Green
26. Brokema Celadon
27. CR's Yellow

Then the extra stains, engoves, Terra Sigillata's
A. White Engove
B. Black Engove
C. Porcelain Slip
D. Porcelain Blue Slip
E. Dark Blue Slip
F. Iron Stain
G. Terra Sig. Mustard
H. Terra Sig. Newmans Red
I. Terra Sig Red Art
J. Terra Sig. Blue
K. Terra Sig. Black
L. Gerstley Rutile
M. Black Stain
N. Delphinium Blue Stain
O. Iron Wash
P. Ochre Wash
Q. Avacado Engove *new*
R. Lavender Engove *new*

Now, the bowls...

Bowl 1.

This bowl was layered with light blue porcelain slip, and dark blue slip before bisque firing. The lizard patern was painted with black stain. Then covered with Robin's Clear glaze. I liked the result of this test.

Bowl 2.

This bowl was engraved and inlaid with buff stoneware clay, then was glazed with a light coat of CR's yellow. The glaze obscured the inlays, so this is a bad glaze to use with this surface technique.

Bowl 3.

This bowl has 3D Matte around the edge, flowers painted with mustard terra sig. Then sprayed with a light layer of Red Shino. I think this has some potential for a nice yellowish dun type effect.

Bowl 4.

This bowl was sprayed with a layer of Pinell Bronze Green, then I painted the leaf with 2 more layers of the same glaze. I liked the green (where it was thick), but I need to do something else around the outside.

Bowl 5.
The center symbol had delphinium stain in the engraved parts. The larger dots around the exterior were painted with Cushing Black, and the rim was layered with a dip into Fake Ash. The overall effect was not too bad, but I would do something different to the middle in the future.

Bowl 6.

This bowl had a rubbing of ochre wash in the center figure, dipped in piepenburg white, then the rim was painted with Gerstley Rutile. The mixture of glazes obscured any surface details, so I know not to do this in the future if I want any surface details. The gerstley rutile did add some excitement to the Piepenburg though.

Bowl 7.

This bowl had a butterfly pattern set in light blue porcelain slip, then was dipped in Piepenburg White (top), MAC white (left), and Mamo Blue(right). Ok, so I was disappointed by much of this test. I like how the flower displayed through the glaze on the top. I liked the dark blue triangle at the bottom, so I'll do some further tests to see if I can reproduce that portion.

Bowl 8.

This bowl has Rietz Green in the center, with the rim dipped in Tenmoku. I really like how this bowl turned out. There are some really exciting things happening with the interactions of these two glazes. I'll try some further testing with more vertical surfaces.

Bowl 9.

This bowl has the center painted with 3D Matte, then dipped in Dark Celadon. I think the tan portion is a little dull, so I'll do something different there. I like how the center fluxed between the two glazes.

Bowl 10.

This bowl is a triple dip, with Rhodes White on the top, Denny's on the right side, and Dunham on the left side. The center triangle I painted with Gerstley Rutile. I like the overall effect of these three in complement to each other.

Bowl 11.

This bowl had a flower carving, then dipped in Light Celadon, with blobs of Pete's Copper red on the petals. I was thinking the Pete's Red might run more, but it stayed put pretty much. I like this bowl.

Bowl 12.

The bowl had carving deep around a moth figure. It was just dipped in Cushing Blue green. There was so much that happened to this for just one glaze. Overall, this was a pretty successful bowl which revealed how this glaze will act for different surface thicknesses.

Bowl 13.

This bowl had a slip trailing of white engove before it was bisqued, then I painted the petal with Pete's red, the center had a blob of 3D matte and then the whole thing was dipped in Brokema Celadon. It was interesting how the glazes reacted to the white engove. It was either the Pete's red, or the Brokema that made the white engove crystallize and black. Anyway, it was an interesting result.

Bowl 14.

This bowl had 3 deeply carved butterflies, which were then filled with dark blue porcelain slip before bisque. The entire surface had a light coating of Bleach Blue, then 1/2 was dipped in Robin's clear. You see the side with the clear over the Beach Blue faired better. The side with just the light Beach Blue went yellow.

Bowl 15.

This is my Shino test bowl. The pattern in the surface was rubbed with Iron Wash, then triple dipped into Red Shino(top right), Wirts Shino(bottom), and Gold Shino(top left).

Bowl 16.

The center of this bowl was painted with Delphinium stain, then it was triple dipped in Mamo Blue (top), Cushing's Blue/Green(left side), and Beach Blue(bottom). The most interesting effect happened at the nine o'clock position on this bowl. I also like what is happening in some of the center area's. I'll do some more tests on the interactions between these three glazes.

Bowl 17.

This bowl had some deeply carved butterflies in it. The whole thing had a dip in Fake Ash, then I painted the butterflies with CR Yellow. The mottling of the Fake ash tends to obscure the surface patterns.

Bowl 18.

This bowl has a butterfly sculpted and added to the surface. The butterfly was painted with Wirts Shino, and Gold Shino. The rest was painted with Shanners Green, and I added stripes of Frog Belly to try to give a grass effect. Then right by the butterflies head I added a dollop of Pete's Red to make a kind of a flower. This turned out pretty good.

Bowl 19.

This bowl was dipped in Moshiko, then I painted Cushing's Black on the stamped areas, and a Gerstley Rutile 4 leafed clover in the middle. I like how vivid this bowl turned out.

Bowl 20.

This surface has a carved scene. The butterfly was rubbed with Delphinum blue stain. The grass was lined with a green underglaze. The flowers petals were done with gerstley rutile, and the flower's center was painted with 3D matte. The whole was then sprayed with Robin's Clear. Mostly this worked. I would have liked the grass to turn more green that the brown.

Bowl 21.

This bowl has carving around the butterflies. The butterflies were painted with mustard Terra sig., the flower was painted with gerstley rutile, then I did a wax resist over them, and dipped the bowl in Dark Celadon. Then I painted the rim with Shanners Green. This one I quite like.

Bowl 22.

This bowl I first did a tape pattern and painted with black engove before bisque firing. After it was bisque fired, I made a similiar tape pattern perpendicular to the original and dipped it in MAC white. Then I removed the tape and sprayed the whole surface with Robin's Clear. This was a very successful test. This was the class favorite bowl.

Well, that the basic data. I'd be happy to answer any questions about any specific bowl.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bowling for Dollars

Here is a bowl I retrieved from the kiln today. I'm thinking of donating it to my son's school fundraiser "bowling for dollars". It's a silent auction where most of the staff in the school go use the pottery wheel, glaze their bowls, and then offer them at auction. I will need to check with Angel though first. She gets first dibs on my work for her private collection.

Thursday, February 12, 2009