Friday, February 14, 2014

The Cash Money Blues

I've been making a bunch of demos for our upcoming NCECA demonstration table, and I've been having a blast doing it.  Making pottery for work?  Livin' the dream, right? Previously I wrote about the Catalyst tools by Princeton Artist Brush Co. that I used to create my wheelthrown forms; today, I'm going to talk about glazing.  I just opened my little ConeArt test kiln this morning, and here are my results -- not too shabby!

Mean muggin'.

These forms were made with Standard Stoneware 259, which is a very easygoing claybody for throwing.  Very forgiving with enough grog to make you feel kinda tough, this is a claybody that turns an extremely attractive toasty brown in reduction.  Because I primarily fire oxidation here, though, I needed my glazing to punch up the electric kiln results.  Luckily, here at The Ceramic Shop we make our own Professional Cone 6 Glazes here that aim to do just that, so I had plenty of options.  

The mug pictured in back is glazed in the Ceramic Shop's cone 6 Tomato Luster. This glaze has always been reasonably popular, but for me, it's one of those glazes that I have become fanatical about over the past few months.  It's a workhorse -- delivers beautiful results with incredible consistency across a variety of claybodies, and has this gorgeous, variegated surface complete with tiny green crystals. Here's a picture of Tomato Luster over some mugs I made from the deep dark Standard Stoneware 266, fired, again, to cone 6 oxidation:


Toasty situation.

Here is a close-up detail of those awesome little green crystals:


That's rich.

The other two mugs pictures in the top image were glazed with The Ceramic Shop's deep cobalt-blue cone 6 offering, Cash Money Blue.  It's rich enough to pop up a beautiful deep blue on most claybodies (save for the very darkest, such as Standard 266), but has just enough translucence to allow the underlying body to peek through.  This works great for me, because I love the juxtaposition of glazed surface and raw claybody -- and I toyed with just this in my NCECA demo mugs. With the mug on the top left, for example, I simply dipped it and then let it dry; once I could handle the dried glaze, I took a moist (but wrung-out) sponge and removed the glaze from the bottom and the lower surface.  This just left behind some glaze in the mug's textured cracks, resulting in that shiny glaze/matte clay look that I love so much!


Won't you join me for a drink?


"But Gina," you may ask, "what about all of that glaze run-off you create when you wipe perfectly good glaze off with a sponge?"  Fair enough, good people of the internet -- and there's an easy answer for you.  Because I have the storage space here at work to do this, I keep a series of well-labeled deli pint containers (with lids) filled with water.  Each container corresponds with a glaze that I use frequently, so when I elect to do a wiped finish, as seen above, I can simply dip my little yellow sponge into the water and the remnants of that glaze collect in a contained space.  Once I accumulate enough wiped-off glaze, I simply drain off the clear water once it has settled out and am then able to fully reconstitute that run-off back into a glaze, with no worries about contamination. 

If you are looking for reduction-worthy results from your cone 6 oxidation firings, consider our Professional Cone 6 glazes -- and, as always, we welcome your own tips for application and images of your work using our glazes as well!

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