Conversation with James

I was slightly concerned about the big ceramic piece I'm making as it had large overhangs and it quite heavy, so could collapse in the kiln. I asked James (ceramics technician) his thoughts, and he suggested adding extra coils of clay to the exterior to reduce how sharp the angle was. I asked if I should stop building at this point in fear of the weight of the extra added clay increasing the risk of collapse, but James said as long as I add some more support coils it should be fine. Furthermore, in future, if I want to build bigger a low fire clay has a higher chance of surviving. This is because in the final firing it doesn't get as hot (1100º instead of 1260º) so the clay doesn't get as soft, so doesn't slump as easily.


Furthermore, I asked James about glazing these pieces. I have done about 50 glaze tests so far but only have 3 or 4 I like. Instead of trying out new recipes each time, he suggested I take the base recipe of the ones I like and remove the colourant (oxide or stain) and then test it with different variants to create different colours.


Next steps:

  • Decide how to finish large vessel - is it worth risking it all collapsing to have a taller neck? Do some designs and decide which is best

  • Get into the glaze room and do variations of the same base glaze to see what happens.




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