Thursday, September 24, 2009

Testing Shapes

I'm still in the process of checking out the Potterycrafts Special salt clay - this shape is tricky to throw with most clays [unless you make it really thick,or in 2 pieces] because of the long narrow neck and steeply angled shoulder,but the clay seemed quite happy to perform. Apart from the technical aspect,it's a shape that looks good with flowers. If I were glazing it by dipping,as I usually do,it would present some challenges,since there's no base/foot to hold during dipping,but with brushed slips and salt firing,there's no problem - an example of fitting the shape to the firing technique...

Just checking

...if I can blog from my mobile ...

Rolled Handles

If you have nothing better to do for 4 minutes,you can click above and see my latest amateur but well-meaning cinematic adventure. I'm not sure these are the most wonderful or suitable handles for the salt-glazed mugs: I don't want to use regular pulled handles because I'm looking to do different things with the salt,and these are at least fun to make and pick up the salt well.


Monday, September 14, 2009

New Clay on the Block

Suppliers Minerco have started importing from the U.K. firm Pottertycrafts [who used to be Podmores when Robin had his clay made by them,affectionately known as "Poddies" ]. I asked them to get some of a clay I sampled many years ago,and remembered as the best throwing clay I had come across,and it has duly arrived. It's [now] called Earthstone Special,and is meant for salt firing,so next up in the studio will be a batch for the salt kiln. What's a good throwing clay? " You'll know one when you find it" is the annoying answer - another would be: forgiving [especially in Elul], resilient,amenable,with inner strength,'tooth' and flexibility. Those are all wheel characteristics- the firing brings in another bunch [warpage,proneness to cracking,glaze fit,colour,reaction to atmospheres] and then we'd also like it to be cheap,but you can't have everything. Hamada claimed the Mashiko clay wasn't particularly good- but,as Sydney says,every clay does something and much of our work is finding out just what that is. It's certainly true that you learn much more from difficult clays,the extreme example,of course,being my beloved poprcelain,which I think of as "the Teacher with the Big Stick".