Tuesday, 27 November 2012

burning terracotta

At college someone accidently put a terracotta pot into the porcelain firing... we expected disaster but got a beautifully toasted and very dark pot. Had been meaning to try this out myself and at last have started testing slip cast terracotta at high temps.

The clear glazed inside makes the pot almost black. Great texture on unglazed areas - a little bit of grit in the clay gives a good feel. I will experiment with a white glaze next time and see how that looks. The pots are amazingly strong and they did not seem to have the same warping/memory problems as porcelain. And I can do a mixed firing with porcelain which is important when trying to juggle space in a tiny kiln. Definitely worthy of more experiments and worth looking at combining porcelain and burnt terracotta items.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

more handles

Had another go at handles... trying to save electricity I biscuit fired a mix of pots including some burnished ones which meant I could only go to 800deg. This left the porcelain very brittle and I broke 3 out of 4 of my test mugs before I could glaze them. Another good lesson!

The surviving mug had a smaller and lower handle than the earlier batch and this change did resolve most of the warping issues.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

handles pt3

First batch of mugs... major warping as feared. On the plus side I like the glazes especially my new grey/blue. I think a set with varying strengths of colour on each mug would look good. And the coloured rim just about works too, a good bit of continuity with the earthenware bowls I used to make.

Still some work to do on dipping into glaze and getting a neat top edge. Next time I will try pouring in clear glaze and then paint wax resist around the inside of the rim which will allow me to dip the outside of the vessel without getting any of the outside colour on the inside. Hopefully.

I think that the weight of the handles is pulling the clay when its molten and soft in the kiln.

How to address warping?

- reducing the size and weight of the handles is a first step (they look too big anyway so thats easy).

- placing the handles lower down, away from the rim which is I expect the most vulnerable part

- deliberately warping a few raw pots in the opposite direction and see if the handle then pulls them back into the right shape

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


At last I got a small set of business cards printed. Kicking myself for not getting this organised earlier. Makes such a simple difference to be able to give people a card when they are interested in or buy work. I used MOO who were great and had option of printing 50 cards with one front and 5 different photo backs. Ideal for the indecisive.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

handles pt2

First batch of test mugs, survived biscuit firing with handles intact. Now to glaze and the real test - how they cope with 1270 deg C..

Thursday, 18 October 2012

bantam egg cups

... a commission to make egg cups small enough to fit tiny bantam eggs being road-tested before sending off to their new homes;

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


some slipcast pots awaiting test handles, getting into the spirit of the thing with a denby mug. Not my inspiration, just my cuppa in for scale.

The tall middle pot will be cut up to make strap handles. In theory making the handles from the same material which is at the same consistency as the body will greatly increase chances of success....

First strap handles on. So far so good (with nifty saucer for coffee cup). Will make a batch of six of each size and then fire. I wont be able to judge whether its worked until the glaze firing which is where any warps or cracks are most likely to appear.