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stupid beginner tricks

updated mon 16 sep 02


Martin Rice on sun 15 sep 02

Here's a good one for you.

My friend, Dave, who decided about three months ago that he would like to
try his hand at potting, too, bought himself a wheel and some of that red
clay I used to use and wrote about.

He made four pots and asked me if I'd fire them the next time I was going to
fire. "Sure, Dave, be glad to."

Yesterday was the day for a bisque firing for me. Dave brought me four pots
which bisque at the same temp my different clay does, ^04. The thing is, one
of the pots was glazed (not bisqued, of course). Interesting glaze job.

1. The glazes he used were a Duncan underglaze color and a Duncan clear

2. He put the underglaze on top of the overglaze.

3. I was firing to ^04 for bisque and these glazes are meant to be fired at
cone ^06 on already bisqued ware, not greenware.

4. He had made a nice foot ring on the glazed pot and proceded to glaze the
bottom of the ring and not the bottom of the pot within the ring. This I
didn't notice until after the firing.

"Dave, you can't do this, it's not gonna work."
"Aw, com'on Martin, let's see what'll happen."

So I decided to do it for him with some precautions. I used my bottom shelf
just for his stuff. I put his glazed pot inside a flat dish-like one that he
had made, and put the other two, which were higher, close to these two to
catch whatever went flying as best I could.

While the stuff was firing, I spent some time thinking about all the ways
the disaster might take shape.

Opened the kiln this morning, took out my stuff on the top shelf, removed
the shelf and looked in. Nothing broken, nothing sticking to the walls of my
kiln. Reached down to lift his glazed pot and the one it was resting on came
right along with it, but only for a 1/2" and then fell off back onto the
shelf but didn't break -- that's how I discovered the glazed foot ring.

The glazed pot looked great! The color which was to be purple was a medium
blue. The clear glaze on the red clay under the underglaze came out a soft
ivory instead of clear. Obviously the glazed foot ring didn't stick too much
and just has a few specks of red on it and the plate below has a few specks
of ivory.

The other two dishes had some ivory splatter on them.

Who woulda' thunk? Maybe more experienced people would have known, but for
a beginner like me, I couldn't imagine anything but disaster from this. I
guess it's really worth trying virtually anything you want, isn't it?

Lagunas de Barú, Costa Rica