Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Back to Clay

We picked up thirty cinderblocks over the weekend; an entire pallet full. The weight nearly overloaded my little pickup, even with five of the blocks in the cab on the passenger side.

I built the raku pad in the back yard on Sunday, which was one of the few nice days that we have had in the last few weeks. We also drove down to pick up our glaze chemicals, which occupy the workbench in the garage. Its mainly bags of white powder, with some colors in the oxide (cobalt carbonate is a pastel purple, copper carbonate is a light green, rutile is a medium brown).

I was wondering what would happen if we had gotten pulled over while hauling a hudred pounds of white powder, packed in bags and boxes. I'm sure things would have worked out, but it may have taken a bit of time.

Things to do before first raku firing:
1) drill holes in floor and lid of kiln. The one or more holes in the lid needs to have an equal or larger area than a four inch diameter circle. The ones in the floor of the kiln need to exceed the same area.

2) trim overhanging limbs off pine tree - there is a rather tall pine that overhangs where the kiln will sit. I need to cut off a few of the lower limbs. It should be a ten minute job on a stepladder, since the base of the tree is up an embankment behind a retaining wall.

3) mix glazes - I need to mix a new batch of Seth's, and I want to experiment with adding red iron oxide (in one percent, two percent, and three percent concentrations) to our raku base to try to make a transparent amber or honey colored glaze. The test batches will be a hundred grams each.

4) buy a new 20 lb propane cylinder - standard grill size

5) Buy another good reduction chamber, like a standard metal trash can.

I'll be on vacation from work starting on Thursday and all next week. My medical problem trashed most of our vacation plans, but at least I can get back in the studio and fire the raku kiln.


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