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

Pocahontas State Park guest Artist

hand built ceramic workshop out in the rain, but under a tent.

December 1 &2 I was the guest artist at Pocahontas State Park.  The current CCC Museum was once a craft building built for the community to make arts and crafts in 1939. A wood kiln was built as well on the grounds to support pottery making.

Pulling up the sides of an earthenware cup

Each day I threw pottery and did a hand built workshop where the students made pinch pots and worked on different techniques such as rolling coils, attaching slabs, creating textures and making handles for cups.

The rangers did clay workshops with children and built a fire near the kiln. The made smores in the afternoon and talked to people walking or hiking by.

The weather was overcast, but being in the woods and making pottery outside was very cool.

I enjoyed all the volunteers that helped out and the park rangers who participated in making the event a success.

Making pinch pots and working on hand built techniques.

Teaching the volunteers how the wood kiln works, so they can pass it along to those that are interested.

Maybe, next time the weather will be nicer and there will be more people. Either way I would love to work there again. What a great time.

New Work from the Kiln

bee earthenware

I made a few commissions and pulled them from the kiln last week.

$55.00 per mug
Bee mugs

The ones I didn’t sell immediately I took to a work shop I did this past weekend at Pocahontas State Park. What a great time we had, but more on that in a post tomorrow.

Redbud flower dinner plate

back of the redbud flower plate

 

 

 

 

 

There are three different series created and shown here. I’m very excited in them and will tweak them a bit in the next round. The new ones are the bees, macro imagery and the redbud flowers.

I hope you like…

 

Macro inspired dinnerplate

Cups From The Kiln

Mug and bread/dessert plates in a summer gnome design.

I like the sound of this title. It makes me think of a horror movie title. I know I’m reaching with that one, but I have a vivid imagination.

These birds were made to match a commission. I wanted to try the design on a smaller surface

Here are a few cups I just photographed from my last firing.

These mugs have the Japanese Oribe black markings on a white background, but instead of green glaze I added colorful splotches of color in stylized sassafras shapes.

It is quite an assortment of different designs. The Gnomes and the songbirds are for a commision, but the others are for sale.

mugs are $55.00, just contact me at hardwickhandmade@gmail.com

contact me at hardwickhandmade@gmail.com if you are interested in purchasing them.

New Pottery Fresh From the Kiln

The goldfinches always came to my yard when I planted sunflowers to eat the seeds

 

Last weekend I fired twice getting out several plates for a dinnerware order. Pictured here are the ones I have not sold. I did several Virginia native wildflower designs as well as geometric and Eastern songbird designs. I really liked working on them.

This series is based on my love of Persian pottery.

Each style is working for me, but I like to change them a bit each time I do them to (in my mind) make them better or maybe, just to tickle my mood.

Dinner plate inspired by my time in the west where I gained most of my production knowledge.

I hope you love them as much as I do.

This little plate has my Dogwood flower pattern on it.

Throwing Pottery on Treadle Wheel

Back in the ’90’s I worked in Woody Creek, Colorado at the Aspen Community School. I did after school programs in organic gardening, resource efficient construction and pottery.

While I was there I used a treadle wheel to make pottery which is not electric. You kick it and make the wheel head spin.

It is a great way to connect with the rhythm of making pottery. I loved doing it, but no longer have access to a treadle wheel and they are expensive to purchase. I think they go for $3000 nowadays.

 

Barnes Foundation Collection is Amazing

One of many Cezanne masterpieces @ the Barnes Foundation

I drove up to Philadelphia, PA to see The Clay Studio and the Barnes Foundation Collection because my friend Leigh is turning 50 years old and I wanted to be at her party.

The entire weekend was amazing. First I went to The Clay Studio in the Old City part of Philadelphia and spoke to the shop director Dominique Ellis. I don’t know if I’ll get my work in there, but it was a great space in a cool part of town.

Dominique went to UNL which is where I went to Grad School, so it was cool talking about old friends and places.

While waiting for for The Clay Studio to open, I ran over to see the Liberty Bell which is around 7 blocks away. That was cool too.

Matisse @ the Barnes

Next I went to the Barnes Foundation. What an amazing collection of Impressionistic art.

This Toulouse-Lautrec is magnificent

Let me say, it is pathetic that they broke Barnes’ will, but this collection is so worth going to see. I would have loved to see it where it is supposed to be, but I’m guessing that the light is much better now which allowed for the images you see here. The old mansion it was in was renowned for dark lit rooms.

This Picasso haunts my dreams.

Anyway, some of my favorite all time paintings were there. Included are just a few of the amazing artworks up on the walls.

Bad image, but amazing painting by Redon

This article isn’t right without a Modigliani painting. So here was my favorite.

Reclining nude by Modigliani