Winter Cairns

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Fetishghost Totem All right… it’s started moving into the “it’s really cold, wet, and rainy” time of year for my studio. This is still Northern California so the temperature, at its best, generally is topped out in the middle of the day at 55 degrees, (and I count myself really lucky it’s this warm). This is the down side to working in an old Garagio. It really is cold… and work takes many, many days to dry, and sometimes… things freeze! So aside from the bit about things freezing, things are fairly manageable… I can boil water for my throwing bucket to keep myself warm… (that’s really nice….) the slow drying can be an inconvenience if you’ve got small work trying to dry, but it’s really nice if you have larger thick walled projects that appreciate being slow dried.

Fetishghost Totem Fetishghost Totem Or…. you can see if your friends will let you hang out in a spot in their toasty warm studios during the winter cold snaps. I like this option… they’ve got better hot chocolate, and… oh yeah… heating. Being a decent guest you might be expected to do a little wedging, maybe some trimming, definitely some story telling…. It’s all about that winter camaraderie thing.
So I’ve been spending to past week getting started on creating a series of Cairns for this spring’s exhibitions. These are large(ish) decorative ceramic post markers, and due to their size and complexity, they can be tricky to get across the finish line in a stately manner… (Understatement). Luckily, they really like to be slow dried and they make use of a lot of the techniques I’ve been playing with this year.

For me, these forms provide a more sculptural surface for developing more complex narratives and they also provide a glorified test tile for exploring studio archenemy. This could get really fun… we’ll see… I’m hoping to pick through the results of this winters work and gallery mount a few finished pieces for spring’s and summer’s exhibitions. I guess we’ll have to see…

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This is the cobalt slip…

Fetishghost Totem and a view of cutting the stencils with a razor blade.

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This is the proposed slip & glaze combo I’m planning to use… it’s a cobalt slip and MoonCrater White glaze.

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Working through the form….


Fetishghost Totem Fetishghost Totem Applying the stencils & sponging on the slip…

 

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All most there…

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Hallmarked and now we let it dry S-L-O-W-L-Y…

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Moon Crater White Glaze Cone 6

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This is the recipe for the MoonCrater White cone 6 oxidation glaze that I use in my electric kiln. It’s a fairly standard white satin matte glaze that I ran across in a February 2003 Ceramic Monthly. The only change I’ve made was switching out Tin Oxide for Zircopax as a opacifier to give me a softer white.

Moon Crater White Cone 6

Gerstley Borate 31.6%
Talc 14%
Kona F-4 Feldspar 19.8%
EPK  5%
Silica 29.6%
Add
Tin Oxide 5%
Bentonite 2%

By nearly all accounts, this is a bland unpredictable glaze that I should have stopped mixing up 2 years ago, but… well, I like it.

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It’s faults are what makes this glaze so interesting . When it’s over fired on a cone 5 clay body, the glaze develops a rich creamy semi-translucent white satin matte that’s inclined to develop patches of wonderfully textured orange peel effects that often transition into shallow open soft edged craters. This is a pleasantly usable texture glaze.

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The main reason this glaze is still made is that it’s mixed proportionally with a Nutmeg glaze to create an all purpose wonderfully warm earth-toned glaze that’s a customer favorite. In house, I refer to this mix as a NutWhite glaze.

The personal reason I still mix this glaze up is because I love what happens when I use it over paper stencil cobalt slipped designs on a red stoneware clay body.

While I’m still never really sure how this glaze will come out of kiln, I love and live for the anticipation of creating works for this glaze. It’s a glaze that provides me some of the highs and lows that make studio life so rewarding.

 

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