Monday, June 13, 2011

Day after the TRAC tour

The last day of the tour was pretty slow - just two cars in the afternoon; but I sold six pots with those two cars and got an order for a teapot, so the day worked out fine. Since I had a lot of non interrupted time, I decided to retrieve a big rubbermaid box of cone 6 glaze test batches from the basement and went through a couple of buckets of cone 6 tests tiles and selected several possible glazes that would work for a firing I'm planning, possibly later next month. I added a bit of water to all these containers of dried glaze and these will all have to get remixed an sieved later; but first I need to get some cone 6 clays to test, throw and glaze test tiles and see how they work in a slow, firing down schedule in the larger electric kiln. My initial tests were fired quickly in my small test kilns.

I'm not planning on giving up my cone 10-11 soda/salt firings but rather, want to add a line of cone 6 oxidation pots which can be priced more reasonably than the soda/salt fired work. Since I'm basically looking for brighter, summery tones, which will be a nice contrast to my earthy soda/salt pots, I'll probably settle on a porcelain or white stoneware. Highwater has 3 possibilities - a white porcelainous stoneware - Little Loafers Glory, P5-6, a porcelain and a white stoneware. I'm hoping one of them will give me good glaze results as well as be suitable in soda/salt and be able to be used for small slab pieces.

Right now it's time to cut some spinach for tonight's simple ham steak dinner, then make more follow up notes on these glazes. I want to check the formulas and see if any are suitable for testing as liners and exterior glazes in cone 6 soda, which I will be exploring as well.


  1. June, there is also Bella's Blend which Highwater advertises in their earthenware section but it's a nice clay and fires easily to cone 6. It might not go much higher though I've never seen it slump or anything in a slightly overfired kiln. I like it better than Buncombe White and equally as much as Little Loafers. It would probably hand build better than Little Loafers. I think I have some small amounts of a few of those. If you'd rather not buy full bags, let me know and I'll check what I have on hand. I may have some P5, too.

  2. Thanks Marian. I didn't know about the Bella's Blend. I don't like throwing with Loafers glory; but I figured it would be ok for the small items I wanted to make for the electric kiln.
    I need 25 lbs of each. I have to make about 60 tiles of each clay, and have some leftover to try on a couple of pots. I read on another post that Highwater is out of P5 at the moment, so I'll put off my Asheville planned Wednesday's visit until they get a new supply. I'll check their website and check out the Bellas blend. Thanks!

  3. I spent last winter testing Bella's Blend. Threw beautifully. One note of caution it was only compatible with about 40% of my glazes.
    It was a learning curve to adjust glazes. Just switched back to Tucker clay....... it's a process for sure :)

  4. I checked the Highwater catalog and that Bella's blend has a high shrinkage rate of 14% at cone 5 so I can imagine that it can causes problems. Maybe bisquing higher to about Cone 03 might help the glazes. I really need a clay that can go cone 6 to 7 if I want to also use it for soda firing.