Sunday, December 13, 2009

Black Walnut

A classmate of mine and I have been working on a project at Manassas Clay, and today we got to reap the benefits. One week we threw probably around 50 "spouts" with a clay called Black Walnut. It's a beautiful clay that throws really nicely, but it produces such different glaze results than the other clays that we have been almost afraid to use it for fear of winding up with bad results. To rectify this problem, we tested each glaze on the spouts. Each spout was assigned a letter or number that was carved into it for tracking purposes. We dipped each spot twice so we can see how the glaze looks with a single dip and a second layer. We had also carved into the spouts so we would be able to see how each glaze "breaks" over horizontal and vertical crevices. After we had each glaze done, we tried combining glazes. We kept careful track of each spout so that we could replicate the results later. Since all of these steps require time in between, today was the first day we could sit down a see the end result, and even better, use that information to make glazing decisions. These are pictures of all the spouts. Some of the glazes are horrible on the clay - which we already knew based on our haphazard glazing. But some of them were amazing on the Black Walnut.
I have another glaze test in the works for the very dark clay I've been using lately. It's not quite as black as the Black Walnut, but it is still producing surprising results compared to the "dark" clay sample tiles in the glaze kitchen. I'm working on a different for for those tiles, and I'll share the results when I finish those.
In completely unrelated news, the painting in the den and the foyer is done, and we only have one more coat of paint left to get done in the master bedroom. I'll take pictures when we finish putting the rooms back together, and if it is ever light again in this very dark, dreary winter.

1 comment:

loneweever said...

Wow -- so much work! These samples must be very useful to everyone working in your studio.

So if you followed this procedure with with every clay, and every glaze, and every glaze combination .... you could hang them all in a gigantic reference wall, right? (Combinations, permutations, excitations ....)

The kiln gods may sometimes snicker at potters' expectations, but even they must be impressed.