Monday, 3 May 2010

I Was Mixing...

...A whole stack of doll's-house sized glaze batches today. Now the last time I tried mixing one of these 1Kg, 2.2lb bags of glaze powder, it drove me mad, trying to get a smooth mix, push it through an eighty-mesh sieve, clean multiple containers, I even resorted to pestle and mortar to scrunch the lumpy bits...
Then, wandering through the large supermarket, (where I bought all those snap-top containers)... I saw a little hand-blender. How much? £4:50? ($6.86), so I thought... give it a try. When I got to the checkout, the girl said, "Keep the till receipt, it's your guarantee!"
Ha!, little did she know just how far away from milky drinks my plans were. I can report it does an excellent job.
As you can see, I was not too scientific about water amounts, I'll adjust the thicknesses later. I'm still amazed what a totally smooth lump-free mix the thing does. I wish they'd existed back in my college days! It did get a bit hot, but hey, it's under guarantee. I wonder how many I'll get replaced in the coming year?

Next question is what colour to glaze each item in. And so far, I've not settled on a chosen clay body, and I've made NO test tiles.
 I used to make stacks of the damn things, some would go on a board on the wall as a quick reference, others would be tied to glaze buckets and bins as clear identifiers, given that one batch of gloop often looks exactly like another, in wet form...
I used to have a matt turquoise/blue/green/purple glaze, I remember it had a heap of barium carbonate, and copper carbonate, I think the purple might have had manganese, but... disaster. somewhere there's a dog-eared notebook, with every glaze I ever mixed, and I can't find it. I really don't think I could have ever knowingly thrown it away, but there have been a couple of chaotic periods in my life in between, with house moves and an interim period of posessions scattered all over the place, boxes, bags, basements, attics... I may never see it again.
The glaze recipe was given to me by a potter who died a couple of years back. It may take quite a while to reinvent it. It was such an electric colour, so bright, verdigris, lapis-lazuli, such a beauty.

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  1. I know how I felt when I thought that I'd lost my glaze books (started early 70s)

  2. hi soubriquet... this is my journey in miniature. i started with the sieves about 5 years ago and have moved on to the immersible unit like the one you just got and a cheap blender for slips. they do get hot but after about 5 minutes are cool enough to start over. i can't imagine doing glaze work without them or the magical crank sieve

  3. gz:Thank you. You understand my pain... There are clay body recipes in there too, and luminous paint recipes, and drawings, and things invented in long cone-watching vigils. Sigh.

    Jim: The magical crank sieve?
    Would that be a Talizman one, from New Zealand?
    I have one, somewhere, or I did, but.... where?

    As for blenders, search youtube for "Will it Blend?"....
    I think that ought to be an everything-proof blender.

    As for letting a hot motor cool, it's the right thing to do. But I'm impatient. Some years ago, I had to cut a lot of five-inch diameter holes, through a 38 inch thick wall, of stone, and engineering brick. I told the hire shop exactly what I was doing, and specified the drill I wanted for pushing the dry-diamond cores. Bear in mind each hole took about two hours... So the guy arrived with, not the drill I'd specified, but a shiny new De-Walt one. I said, that's not the drill I asked for, that's a toy drill. Oh no, he replied, it's guaranteed tough. Two hours later, I put the smoking ruin down on the shop counter, and picked up another new De Walt... I killed three before they sent their driver to another branch and got the Hilti drill I'd originally specified.
    After that, no more trouble.
    the man in the shop did ask why I let the drill get so hot that its casing melted. I pointed out that "Guaranteed Tough" was a worthless boast for a tool that could not do a grown-up job. My "guaranteed tough" De Walt boots fell apart too.

  4. That little teapot in the front's embarrassing. Spout too low, dammit!

  5. just stumbled across your blog and wanted to say hi! very entertaining reading and i love the piggy banks. :)

  6. Pretty colors!
    I hope you are going to give us a peek at the finished products.

    Losing track of important things...
    When I got divorced, I walked away from a houseful of everything. The only thing I regret leaving behind was a box of floppy discs filled with my deepest thoughts, reminiscences, stories, etc...that I had lovingly typed & sweated over on my word processor(pre-computer days).
    Alas, those efforts (important only to me) are gone forever, it's like losing my life's work.
    I'll say a prayer to Saint Anthony for ya. ;)

  7. P.S.
    Ref. Saint Anthony:
    Those darn Catholics are a never ending source of amusement. ;]

  8. Kim H: Thanks for the encouragement, I'm a lazy blogger, and a slow potter.
    Real life and work get in the way.
    But there's this guy in Iraq who wants to put $14 million in my bank account for a while, and will let me have 15% as a facilitation fee, so soon I should have a lot more free time to make pots and blog!

  9. Rita: Pretty colours?
    They look like ice-cream flavours!
    Alas, the colour of an unfired glaze is rarely much of a clue to its finished state. However, I'm expecting, if it's not too disastrous, to photograph the results.
    At the current rate of progress, that may take a while....

  10. I've always liked pastel colors. they are so safe. :)


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