Thanks to all of those who came out to the opening and attend the show, March 17th to April 14th at the Slanted Art Gallery in Montrose, Pa.
For those who were not able to make it to the show here are images of the collection. Kathy Taylor, jewelry artist of comingupdazees , created the enameled copper jewelry pieces for the raku pots. She did a wonderful job! Also thanks so much to the buyers as four of the eight have sold.
This project was a bit different for me as it has been some time since I fired raku pots. When I seen Kathy’s jewelry I thought it might be nice to do a show at some point. Kathy Taylor did an excellent job at matching up colors and style. Each jewelry piece can be removed and worn.
The stress from the raku process was hard on the pots and many of them fractured and should get the hammer. But many protested at the thought and after some debate it was decided that maybe the cracks added to the piece and that the buyer should decide. So all pieces will be clearly marked.
Below are the images of the pots. I hope you all enjoy them. Thanks Kathy for the great job you did and also for taking the photos.
Below is a link to the raku pots when they came out of the kiln.
A Blog post from a buyer and collector! Thanks so much for the support Gere!
https://i2.wp.com/creekroadpottery.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Through-the-Fire-Collection-1.png?fit=979%2C820&ssl=1820979creekroadhttp://creekroadpottery.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/preview-2-300x176-1-e1585854251916.jpgcreekroad2021-04-16 15:53:052021-04-16 16:20:45Through The Fire Collection: A Raku Pottery / Metal Jewelry Collaboration
Trim bowls after waking up from working nights. Start throwing bakers while bisque kiln fires. <–Not completed
Secondary Tasks: Clean Studio <—Not completed
I worked 12 hours at the paper factory nights. I slept until 1:30 pm then made a plan. I decided to finish trimming bowls and then start the bakers as I need about 40. I also planned to run a bisque of raku pots.
But then I went outside and the sun was shining. I sat on the porch with a cup of coffee in the sun for an hour. Then I felt like playing my guitar a bit. By then it was getting late and I ate dinner with my wife and we watched a fun show together on YouTube.I was able to come to my scenes that I was watching someone else’s story and not my own. It was much easier sitting on the couch having a drink watching someone else tell their story then creating my own. So I preached a big sermon to myself on it like a baptist minister and thought it far better to be living and creating my own so I went and trimmed the rest of the bowls and planned to start the bakers in the morning while running the bisque load I didn’t get done.
If I was living yesterday a second time:
I would have made more realistic goals. Working night shift is a bit more challenging plus I need to plan in a bit more fun time so I don’t get burn out. The world will still spin without my pots in it. It’s not like I’m making a vaccine or anything.
Things I enjoyed:
I enjoyed that cup of coffee in the sun after working nights. I enjoyed strumming my guitar and dinner with my wife. I enjoyed trimming out those bowls.
My story summary:
Realistic goals could get more things accomplished when I stick to them but at times resistance to doing a thing or to change might talk us into not doing things or making it easy to stay far longer than we need to. Like Aeneas staying long with Dido or Odysseus with Calypso resistance can delay our journey or deny us of reaching our destination and the adventure along the way.
https://i1.wp.com/creekroadpottery.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/156181959_10164521652535136_6345047061939862709_o.jpg?fit=640%2C1352&ssl=11352640creekroadhttp://creekroadpottery.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/preview-2-300x176-1-e1585854251916.jpgcreekroad2021-02-28 12:59:232021-02-28 13:11:37A Day At The Pottery: Enjoying the Sunshine
I woke up at 1:30 pm after working 12 hour nights at the paper factory and chatted with my wife some then trimmed pots until 3:30. I was able to get about 25 bowls trimmed out before work I covered the other 30 that were left then got ready for another night of work. I can do quite a bit if I schedule my time better. I need to work out a life plan and short term goals after the March shows are over. I would like to get some hiking and camping in.
https://i1.wp.com/creekroadpottery.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/155441134_10164519100335136_8789083875675915381_o.jpg?fit=1440%2C776&ssl=17761440creekroadhttp://creekroadpottery.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/preview-2-300x176-1-e1585854251916.jpgcreekroad2021-02-27 20:02:532021-02-27 20:03:12A Day At The Pottery: Trimming Bowls
Yesterday I had the day off from my job at the paper factory. At 8:00 am I went and filled 3 gas canisters at Tractor Supply because they charge by the gallon and not by the fill and it’s much cheaper. They also fill them all the way up. I loaded 10 raku pots for bisque and could not fit all 13 in. I normally fire with a full shelf 1.5 inches down from the lid but the pots were to tall so I over fired the bottom to make up for it. They will be fine as they are somewhat large raku.
I ran a 2 hour warm up to let the kiln steam out a bit and went through the firing process. Hour 2 I found a leak at the tank nozzle and had to switch it out and restart the firing. I did a slow climb until the cone 06 bent all the way down at 5:00pm.
I got no other critical tasks completed as the gas kiln needs to be monitored every 30 min which is how I caught the leak. Some of the pots were a bit heavy also but having them on the woodstove was a huge time saver and help in drying them.
If I was living a second time:
I would have held off the firing until today as I could have used the day to throw and trimmed pots today between checks. I would have help to pull that person out of the ditch as 10 years ago a kind guy did the same for me. Knocking on doors 6 am to ask to borrow a chain. Out there that was a good way to get shot at but kind and I never forgot. In the winter out here a person should always have winter clothing, boots, gloves, snow shovel and chain in the trunk. I took out all that to load in the propane tanks. I would have got hoses to connect to the large tank as driving to get propane is a huge effort and time loss.
Things I enjoyed:
I enjoyed steaming out that wet kiln even though it was more effort and seemed to take a bit longer. Between checks I watch youtube instructional videos and spent time with the wife. After the kiln went down The wife and I went out to eat and food shopping. I talked to my sister from Update NY for 30 min. When My wife was ready I went in the store to help a bit as I try to stay out of the way. She lets me pick out the Mrs. Dash seasoning, meats , and coffee.
On the way home there was a lady who was stuck real bad in a ditch. I drove home and got my snow shovel and chain and winter gear while my wife unloaded the groceries. Then I went back out and a few other were there with one chain but it was not long enough. I used my shovel and with my chain added the two kids that stopped were able to show off a bit by pulling the lady out. So in short they had a truck pull at 9:00pm on a corner. They must have known each other as they were talking a bit of smack and the one kid said that he would let the other guy go first and finish the job when they both end up stuck..I’m thinking maybe a Ford/Chevy riverly.
My Story Summary:
Getting scheduled tasks completed can be a challenge. There will be plenty of resistance to working new ways and getting use to keeping on track. There is only so much time in the bank and you should spend each penny of they in ways that are productive and enjoyable. If you do not make your own journey and plan others will make them for you no trouble. But you may regret not having a choice in the matter later. What hero’s journey are you on?
https://i2.wp.com/creekroadpottery.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/154196284_10164506819160136_1669152391843928083_o.jpg?fit=1440%2C934&ssl=19341440creekroadhttp://creekroadpottery.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/preview-2-300x176-1-e1585854251916.jpgcreekroad2021-02-24 15:39:292021-02-24 15:50:09A Day At The Pottery: A Wet Kiln Firing
Yesterday after 12 hours work at the paper plant I had dinner with my wife for an hour then had to dig out my gas kiln Hera from the snow bank.
I realized I also left my shelves out there and the lid was stuck. I put the burner under and ran it on low for 2 hours to warm things up and to u freeze the lid. I also had to build a fire in the big wood stove to dry the shelves but all the wood was wet from being buried in the snow. I had to use my winter camping skills to start the wet wood by splitting it enough to give the flame a dry edge to start. I put the shelves inside to dry out.
If I were living today a second time:
I would have covered everything before we had snow and brought the shelves inside. As it took until 1am to get done. Huge effort loss on time. I also need to put up a kiln shed ASAP and get my big kiln Rosie hooked up to the big tank.
The things I enjoyed:
I was reading “Indestractable” by Nir Eyal on my breaks. I took the scenic route home from work and watched a YouTube show with the wife. I also did enjoy all my sufferings in some strange way. I super need to get it together. Hope to get the bisque firing going.
My story summary:
I have a huge problem with effort loss due to poor planning and decision making that is costing me a ton of money effort and time. Also I need to weigh opportunity cost. Just because it sounds like a good idea it does not mean it will be.
https://i0.wp.com/creekroadpottery.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/153559080_10164503624865136_1754578025599200735_o.jpg?fit=640%2C1352&ssl=11352640creekroadhttp://creekroadpottery.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/preview-2-300x176-1-e1585854251916.jpgcreekroad2021-02-24 15:29:222021-02-24 15:50:53A Day At The Pottery: A Wet Kiln
Through The Fire Collection: A Raku Pottery / Metal Jewelry Collaboration
Slanted Art Co-op Gallery Montrose , PA
March 18 6:00 P.M. EST. – April 12 6:00 P.M. E.S.T.
I am happy to announce I am currently creating a body of raku pots in collaboration with metal jewelry artist Kathleen Taylor that will be on display at the Slanted Art Co-Op Gallery in Montrose, PA for the month of March.
The pandemic has taken a toll on all of us in ways we may not realize. We have been pushed to our limits at times as we traveled through our infernos. But the fires can also refine us.
May we all take time to see ourselves and each other, with community and collaboration, to recognize how the fires can make us all stronger and more beautiful.
I do hope you all enjoy this specialized collection of raku and metal handmade art. And may each one of you break forth to behold the stars in the new year.
“e quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle” – Inferno, by Dante Alighieri, Canto 34
It’s not just pottery, but a lifestyle with art that’s affordable.
https://i0.wp.com/creekroadpottery.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Through-the-Fire-Collection.png?fit=940%2C788&ssl=1788940creekroadhttp://creekroadpottery.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/preview-2-300x176-1-e1585854251916.jpgcreekroad2021-02-14 18:17:472021-02-14 19:00:59Through The Fire Collection: A Raku Pottery / Metal Jewelry Collaboration
My love for clay and history was combined with this multi layered themed project of references to ancient warriors from some of the oldest Hebrew texts of the biblical literature. Each brush was hand thrown on my pottery wheel using 1/4 lbs lumps of clay. Each form was then sculpted, carved, imprinted with texture patterns and text was applied. After the bisque fire all the handles were then washed with red iron oxide to bring out the texture lines. Each handle was then fired to 2223F in my gas kiln.
The texts selected were out of what scholars say are the oldest texts preserved among the sections of Hebrew literature and in the rough and tumble environment of the Ancient Near East the hero in the biblical literature are not always written about in the most romanticized fashion. While the romanticized version of any history can be useful we must not depend totally on them. The Hebrew writer told also of the failures which helps us see the heroes as human. Below are the texts that were used on the handles.
Brush 1 – Jdg 3:16 ויעשׂ לו אהוד חרב ולה שׁני פיות גמד ארכה
And Ěhuḏ made himself a sword, it was double-edged and a cubit in length,
Brush 2 – Num 25:7 וירא פינחס בן־אלעזר בן־אהרן הכהן ויקם מתוך העדה ויקח רמח בידו׃
When Phinehas, son of Eleazar son of Aaron the priest, saw this, he left the assembly and, taking a spear in his hand,
Brush 3 – Gen 34:26 ואת־חמור ואת־שׁכם בנו הרגו לפי־חרב ויקחו את־דינה מבית שׁכם ויצאו׃
They put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword, took Dinah out of Shechem’s house, and went away.
While looking for a glaze cost savings and going though our glaze raw materials I realized I had a few opportunity areas. I try to review the raw material pricing every six months to keep the prices of my pots at a level for the local area while also maintaining quality. I was taught to hand mix glazes and always have, only buying premixed glazes for special projects in very small amounts. To make it cost effective it is important to have as few raw materials as possible while still maintaining the safety of the finish wares.
The Search For A Glaze
In the past I have seen some glazes have six to eight raw materials. If a pottery were to have five or six glazes each using different materials the cost for maintaining the glaze recipes and raw material storage can rise creating loss in studio space, storage space, and grow into a large financial burden. All of this adds up over time, driving up the cost of the finished product. So I set out to correct some of the issues by looking for a low material glaze that would have a wide firing range.
Since I fire to cone 6/7 in an up draft gas kiln, the top of my kiln is always cooler. I hit a cone 7 on the bottom, cone 6 in the center, and the top a cone 5. With my old glaze I would sometimes loose the top shelf of pots to under-firing. If I fired longer to make the top of the kiln warmer, the temperature on the bottom would over fire and vitrify the pots. That ‘s why I was happy to find the “Blue Dawn ” recipe on the Facebook pottery group.
Janet Holdcraft’s “Blue Dawn
“Blue Dawn”, was created by the late ceramic artist and teacher Janet Holdcraft donated by her friend and colleague artist Jerry C. Williams Sr.., who put the glaze “Blue Dawn” in the public domain. Hearing about Janet from her good friends Jerry Williams and his wife Lea Ann Nall-Williams , I found Janet to be an amazing person who was loved very much by her students and kept very good records of her glaze research. I have included part of the post below:
The blue glaze used on this piece was created by Janet Holdcraft and she loved her bubbles. This is Janet’s recipe we are calling it Janet Holdcraft’s Blue Dawn. Base glaze 2500 is EPK of 500 grams, Flint of 750 grams, and Gerstley Borate of 1250 grams with 5% or 125 grams of Cobalt Carb. She has a whole page of trial and errors and this is the last one on the page with a * and a “YES” we have her book and it is a treasure. Thank you Janet for all the good you did in this world. This is for the last few Good Will Friday’s that I have not posted but the good you showed to me and Jerry will never be forgotten. RIP Lea Ann Nall-Williams. Clay used is 50 pounds of premix with 5 gallons of reclaim and red art added to the mixture there are also other things he adds but trying to get him to measure anything is as impossible as getting Jerry C. Williams Sr. to post of facebook. Posted by Lea Ann Nall-Williams. I use to be there sometimes when she mixed her glazes she was very percise and on a mission.”
After seeing the post I gathered the raw materials and hand mixed a 100 gram batch as a test and gas fired out the glaze in my test kiln. The results for such a simple recipe were quite amazing. I was able to make the full range I needed with zero loss from glaze defects which was a huge relief. I was quick to show Jerry the results and took images off my coffee table. The poor lighting did not do the glaze color justice, but the blue shown through just beautiful enough to cause excitement.
A Janet Holdcraft Tribute
So after I was pleased with the results I decided to try the glaze on a collection of shave bowls I had started. And what better way to create a collection then to have it be a tribute to the person who made it. It was amazing to think about how many artists, teachers, and craftsmen live far beyond their years in the work, research, and contributions they left behind. I am proud to have the opportunity to mix this glaze and I am more than happy to post Janet’s recipe here so others may try it if they wish. Below is the recipe converted to a 100 gram batch:
If you have work with these stamps on the bottom, or your citronella lamp has the “Mariposa Pottery” note seen below, then you may have a Janet Holdcraft piece. Thanks very much to Lea Ann Williams for sending in the images.
“Blue Dawn” – A Janet Holdcraft Tribute Collection
The artist Jerry C. Williams Sr. has inspired me with his work and forced me to think about the bottoms of bowls as a whole new canvas begging to be worked with texture. Jerry’s Native American inspired designs capture the native culture in very unique way. On first seeing Jerry’s work the patterns, textures, and drawings on the bottoms of his bowls made me appreciate all sides of the pots I was making and forced me to think about what other parts of the work I might be missing out on experiencing. You can find Jerry’s ceramic work posted on his page or at the Green Door Art Gallery. I would like to thank Jerry and Lea Ann once again for posting this recipe to the public domain and it was a pleasure to use the glaze and I’m sure many other artists, potteries, and ceramic lovers will enjoy using and seeing the glaze . If you the reader try this recipe please let me know how it turned out by posting a comment here with a link to a sample! I would love to see where this might go!
Jerry and Lea Ann, if you are ever in PA feel free to stop by and I’ll show you my little pottery! Also thanks for the beautiful bowl you sent over to me.
https://i0.wp.com/creekroadpottery.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/20191208_203047-01-scaled.jpeg?fit=2560%2C1440&ssl=114402560creekroadhttp://creekroadpottery.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/preview-2-300x176-1-e1585854251916.jpgcreekroad2018-03-19 00:33:512020-07-29 01:54:30Janet Holdcraft's Blue Dawn Glaze
Carbon coring or “black coring” can be an issue when firing clay bodies. While doing some experiments with reduction firings I had many pots that were cracking in the process and had no idea why. It seemed that the cracks were from fast cooling, as they were clean breaks through the glaze with sharp edges. Little did I know that this cracking was caused by carbon coring or “black coring”. I did some comparisons wth cross sections of the broken pots and noticed that this discoloration did not happen in my oxidation firings but only in reduction. I dug out my ceramic books and searched online to find out what this issue might be.
Shattered By Black Coring
While researching I found a post by the Lugna Clay company entitled ” Bloating and Black Coring”, which seem to suggest that I may need to bisque fire my clay body properly. The theory behind the article suggested that not all the carbon was burned out of the clay body and the kiln also may need to be vented better in the bisque firing. The clay body I was using was AMACO high-fire warm brown 58-M stoneware clay. I only had issues with bloating when I accidently overfire it a few times on the bottom shelves while trying to reach cone 6 in the middle of the kiln. The clay body was high in iron content which, I later found, created the issue with black coring when I reduced the updraft kiln to produce a body reduction. The iron in the clay and the reduction process was a bad combination and would produce a bad kiln load of pots. Bowls shattered as they cooled.
“The following factors determine the extent of black reduction coring in red clay ware:
- Firing time – a longer ring time can eliminate the black reduction core.
- The oxygen atmosphere during ring. Lack of oxygen promotes the formation of black reduction cores.
- Iron oxide content in the raw clay.
- Carbon content and burnout or oxidation of carbon during firing of the raw clay.”
The research in this report stated also that the red iron oxide was converting to magnetite.
To the potter, according to “The Potter’s Dictionary of Materials & Techniques” by Frank and Janet Hamer, on page 26, means this conversion created weakness to the clay body caused the clay to vitrify at a lower temperature due to the red iron oxide and carbon converting to black iron oxide and carbon dioxide, which creates an active flux . The pots become brittle and fragile. One mug I took from this load popped apart while I poured coffee in it as a test, sending shards across the table, because it could not withstand the thermal shock due to black coring.
Black Coring – The Solution
The solutions to black coring from the article link to above would be to use a clay body with less iron content. Also, it is suggested that bisque firings should be slower and to the correct temperature to allow carbon burn out. I personally found that in my high iron clay body, if I skipped the body reduction of the firing and reduced the kiln towards the end of the firing, I still got reduction glazes to look great without black coring.
If any of you who read this have found this helpful or have your own findings, feel free to leave a comment!
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