Flashing Clay Bodies

I am currently searching for a deep red/orange clay body that flashes this color in atmospheric firings to Cone 8 and above. I have mixed roughly 20 tests and made cups out of them and fired them in Soda and Wood/Salt kilns to Cone 8 and Cone 10 respectively. Here are my findings.

It seems that red/orange flashing is promoted by small amounts of iron chemically incorporated in high temperature clay and dry material ingredients introduced in the clay body.

What Parmelee suggests in his book Ceramic Glazes that clay bodies higher in silica will need higher percentages of iron compared to clay bodies higher in alumina, stays true. Though, iron percentages stay below 3% on a whole.

Also, it seems that the silica/alumina ratio should stay below 4. The current wood kiln has tests that are below 2 (showing a high alumina content)

My tests have 2 different realms. One direction is a grolleg/PV body and the other is a Neph Sy/silica body. Both directions are currently using high alumina materials.

These are the tests in a cone 8/9 Soda Firing
4
clay body test #4
5
Clay body test #5
6
Clay body test #6

These 3 tests were fired in a first firing on a clay slab to ensure they would not melt down with higher than normal percentages of flux I was a little worried. I believe the firing had too much reduction to promote the flashing and too much soda to allow flashing in some areas. Cup number 6 has engulfed in soda, so no visible flashing is seen except on the foot of the cup.

My belief is that too thick a layer of flux (could be wood ash, soda in this case or salt) will stop the development or cover teh development of flashing. Also, I think that an oxidation atmosphere during 700 degree to 900 degree Celcius is neccesary for red/orange flashing, though I’m unsure if this needs to happen in firing or cooling or both.

This cup is blah blah blay

These 2 tests have 35% Mica with different types of silica mesh in them. Notice the excess iron in the mica has colored them brown as if they were made from EPK or were a dark stoneware, even though they are mainly grolleg kaolin. The silica mesh made no difference in the color. They were fired in different parts of the kiln.

These two tests have lower flux, but more silica and less mica and the color is very light almost a pastel pink. I believe the iron should have been increased to counter the added silica. It seems that 4-5% iron material needs to be added to get a deeper color.

Soda firing

A friend let me use his soda kiln to fire my work last weekend. Here is the open kiln as I saw it a couple days after the firing. The firing was a little cold, but I learned alot from it and hope to use many of the pieces in my shows this coming spring.

Hottest part of the kiln. Bottom shelf – front about cone 9 down with heavy reduction

What I learned the most was how my glazes work in soda. Some did not turn out how I wanted them to, but some came out great. My core 3 glazes looked great and I can’t wait to use them again. there were maybe three other test glazes that I will mix up again. Also, there were several glazes that did not work and I hope to sieve them to get the materials to mix better in the firing and perhaps work next time.

Middle shelf front- About cone 8 down with medium reduction, but some carbon trapping.

I’m looking forward to firing soda again, though I dont’ know when that will be, but I hope to do some tests again soon to see if sieving a glaze will improve how it looks.

Me before I unloaded the kiln

Michael Sherrill Retrospective at the Renwick Gallery

Chance led me to the Renwick Gallery in Washington DC this week where I went through the exhibit of Michael Sherrill’s work. It was amazing. He has moved his focus from utilitarian work thrown on a wheel to ceramic, metal, glass sculptural pieces. All were done with explicit detail and professional appearance. In speaking with him he was modest, contemplative and completely involved in his creative ideas.

Here are some images:

Hardwick Handmade studio tour

I am part of the RVA Clay Studio Tour this year. They have been doing it for 4 years now, but his is my first time participating. All my work is going to be out and available for purchase. Both my electric low fire earthenware dinnerware and my wood/salt fired porcelaneous stoneware will be for sale.

I will have snacks and drinks for your pleasure along with the pottery and ceramic vessels available for purchase.

TJ Edwards will be joining me for the sale and he will have pottery and sculpture that he makes down Route 5 in New Charles. His work is beautiful and also available for purchase.

I hope to see you there!

Matt

Reworking my Website

WordPress has revised how the website can be created, so I am in the process of making a store. I’m very excited that I can have a full store set up soon. Don’t hold your breath as soon may not be too soon, but I’m still excited.

Part of my remaking this store is in response to my applications to NCECA and local stores this summer as well as my applications to a couple fairs/markets. I hope I get in and can make enough artwork for them all.

So far, I’m going to have a solo show next March. I’m currently selling at the Pop-Shop by Jo Louise, which is very exciting. The women that work there are some of the best salespersons I’ve ever met. Thank you so much, to them.

-Matt