Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Clearing out the studio, to put it in workable condition. Here is the inventory of clay on hand:

Great Lakes Clay Company (from our time in Chicago):
50 pounds Buff (cone 4-10 and raku)
25 pounds Song Porcelain (cone 6-10, since discontinued)

Laguna Clay Company (from time in Phoenix)
~50 pounds Rod's Bod (cone 10 and raku)

Standard Clay Company
50 pounds 112: Light Brown (cone 4-6)
50 pounds 266: Dark Brown (cone 4-6)
50 pounds 308: Brooklyn Red (cone 5-6)
250 pounds 306: Brown Firing CLay (cone 4-10)

The condition of the clay ranges from throwable to leather hard. The Rod's bod and Song porcelain is extremely moldy as well (some potters covet the mold, as a sign of mature clay, others shun it). I'll work at reconstituting everything once we clear the studio for work.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Back From Atlanta

We had a wonderful time on our trip to Seagrove and Atlanta.

Approaching Seagrove, driving along the state highway, there is a sign that says something like "Potteries: Next 6 Exits". It was an inspiration to see all of the clay, and chat with the potters. We stopped off at one of the galleries, and picked up a tour map to most of the galleries in the area. We worked off of thumbnail images of what each pottery specialized in to choose where we wanted to go.

One of the potters specialized in a raku-like technique, where burnished clay pieces are pulled out of a kiln while orange hot, (about cone O7), and horse hairs are individually draped over the pieces. The hairs combust, leaving either strait or kinky black lines on the piece. The pieces are also sprayed with an iron oxide solution to change them to an warm orange color when cooled. The potter then waxes the pieces, or coats them with polyurethane to seal them.

Another pottery worked with crystal glazes. Julie chatted with them about their work, and showed one of her polymer baby dragons that she had made as a gift for Vicki. The are interested in bartering dragons for crystal pieces, and Julie plans to get in touch with them when we return home.

One of my favorite cone 6 glazes is called 'Floating Blue', and I like to use it on a chocolate brown clay body. I had heard that the Gerstley Borate mine had closed, which is one of the ingredients used in that and many other glazes. I was planning to ask Vicki what the center was using as a Gerstley substitute. One of the potters had a thumbnail on the brochures that looked a lot like Floating Blue, so we went to visit and chat. It turns out that Laguna Clay Company, out of California, has reopened the Gerstley Borate mine, so Floating Blue was working once again. (the art center now uses computerized kilns to do their firing. this provides more consistant results, but has lead to Floating Blue no longer maturing in the kilns. Vicki still gets it to work at home, by hand firing the kilns (with a pyrometric cone in a kiln sitter).

I never knew how much I missed Vicki until I got to spend some time with her again. We all had a great time, Vicki is a wonderful cook, and we stayed until past midnight both nights. Next time that we go, we'll stay closer to Vicki.