Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Mixing Glazes

My display at Manassas Clay
I visited Manassas Clay today. Fran Newquist and Jane Cullum have created a wonderful full-service pottery where you can take classes, rent studio space, fire your work, exhibit your pottery, mix glazes, and buy pottery supplies. Situated in the old city of Manassas, Manassas Clay and Tin Barn Pottery Supply has been going strong for over 15 years.

Today, I brought new work to replenish what had sold. I cleaned up my shelves and reorganized. It was also a day for mixing and buying glazes. I got 15 lbs of Laguna Satin White and mixed 10 lbs of Randy's Red. I also mixed 2000 grams of Variegated Slate Blue. 

The fully stocked glaze kitchen at Manassas Clay
The slate blue glaze has been giving me a very difficult time. Even with the new kiln, it continues to be a problem. I plan to mix this new batch in a brand new bucket using distilled rather than tap water. If it doesn't go back to the being the great blue glaze it used to be I will have to (sadly) say that I'm done with it and start looking for a new blue glaze. In December I bought four commercial blue glazes to try out but I'm not happy with any of them. I tried a cobalt blue from Standard which is okay and actually sold, but I don't really like how shiny and dark blue it is. The other two glazes I tried were Oasis Blue from Laguna and Pam's Blue from Coyote. Unless I made a mistake, which I don't think I did, these seem to be the same glaze. It's an ugly green when thin but more attractive when applied more thickly. I might return to the Oasis Blue and work a bit more with if I can't find something else. Finally, I tested Coyote's Mottled Blue, which I like but it's more gray than blue. I made the mistake of applying it a little on the thick side and had to do a lot of shelf grinding.

I also mixed test batches of two new glazes. One is Waterfall Brown from the Mastering Cone 6 Glazes book (p. 106-107).* I've been staring at it on the cover of that book for ages and it was just time to try it. The other is Matte Iron Red from John Britt's new book, The Complete Guide to Mid-Range Glazes (p. 88-89). I'll be holding my breath because both of these mouth-watering glazes are a bit tricky.

Keeping the water warm on top of the heater
It was cold and sunny again: 20 degrees F when we got up this morning. The water in the bottle I forgot in the car was frozen. But it did warm up to 40 degrees later in the day. Drying in the studio are 12 brie bakers, a cheese bell, 6 mugs, and 2 cylinders for a very, very large lamp.

*Mastering Cone 6 Glazes by John Hesselberth and Ron Roy has been out of print for a while and I believe that there are no plans for updates or reprints. Note that this great book, that I bought for $39.95 when it came out, is selling for $163 on Amazon. A black and white version is available for $24.95.

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