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QotW: What kinds of organic materials have you added to your clay or glazing recently? Please specify if fired by electric, gas, wood or raku, in oxidation or reduction.

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Recently LeeU asked in the question pool.. . "There are some posts in the archives about using coffee grounds for texture or glaze effects, and some old Clay Art posts about using everything from crushed walnuts to granite dust.  What kinds of organics have you used recently? Did it “work” or not so much?  Please specify if fired by electric, gas, wood, or raku, in oxidation or reduction." If I get this question right, I imagine it is What kinds of organic materials have you added to your clay or glazing recently? Please specify if fired by electric, gas, wood or raku, in oxidation or reduction.

I have worked at Penn State in graduate classes(credit, but non-degree). While there we did quite a bit of experimentation with Don Tigny. I did add straw, chaff, raw oats, wheat, and other materials that were organic to the clay bodies, especially when working with raku. I also put the proverbial banana on the top of plates and lids, or just the peels, peach skins, apple slices, and even flowers on while doing reduction gas. I really did not fire these kilns. Then I did salt where I tried some pieces with organic and mineral materials added to the clay, but as at the time I did not understand how to work with the chunkies in the clay while throwing they were not very successful percentage wise. 

Later I had a workshop that used sawdust added to the clay, and pearlite added to another body. Both of these to help speed drying for 2 day workshops.

So what have you done to you clay and glazing that may be of interest to the community?

 

best,

Pres 

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3 hours ago, Pres said:

What kinds of organic materials have you added to your clay or glazing recently? Please specify if fired by electric, gas, wood or raku, in oxidation or reduction.

Folks will recall the low-fire mermaid dish, images of which are in the "What's on Your Workbench" thread. It had sifted unwashed beach (dune) sand. Functionally it seemed to work pretty great and looked OK too. The dish survived being put from the freezer into a 400 f oven. There was an iron spot on it I didn't like, in retrospect I think that came flying off a pair of steel tongs I used to remove a small waster I'd left accidentally propping the lid open at around 1k f...oops...found iron bits scattered over other stuff too. Does the iron count as an added material? If so it was a fail. 

In a recent low-fire (^O5 -f) I put a fresh petunia flower in the center of a top plate out of curiosity, to my surprise it left an unattractive brown smudge I felt obliged to sand off. I was just going to glaze it also at low temps and wasn't sure if the smudge would burn out. It took some effort. 

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It hasn't been that recent but I added some vermiculite to some clay I was using for a mural.  I thought it would make it lighter and give it that rough look I was wanting.  It succeeded on both of those but failed in burning out.  It was only fired electric to C04,  I took a dental probe and dug out all of the powdery vermiculite on the areas that were visible.   It might of burn't out if I had fired it to C6.    Denice

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Lots of times, when experimenting with clay body additions, a test tile or test piece is helpful to ascertain correct temp, or any other oddity that might show up in a finished product. Especially if you added something that caused melt down or extreme blow up, rather have it happen in a small piece than a large finished project.

 

best,

Pres

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When I participated in a barrel fire, I used banana, dried mushroom, copper scrubby, coffee grounds, horse hair, and a feather.

Yesterday I opened a previously unopened bag of red clay I have had since March and was surprised to smell and see some mold on the outside. So that's in a couple of things I threw yesterday. Is that safe? What will mold do in firing? My unintentional organic addition.

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I'm especially curious about coffee grounds added to glaze (any colors) for cone 6 and cone 10 fires, and as well added to the surface of wet light buff clay and not glazed, for mid and high fires. (Yes, I'll be testing, but a heads-up is nice if it is essentailly a waste of time!  

P.S.   I have  read the current CAN Daily post "Caffienated Texture"...I'm more interested in surface and glaze effects than working it into the body.

 

Edited by LeeU

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22 hours ago, Gabby said:

When I participated in a barrel fire, I used banana, dried mushroom, copper scrubby, coffee grounds, horse hair, and a feather.

Yesterday I opened a previously unopened bag of red clay I have had since March and was surprised to smell and see some mold on the outside. So that's in a couple of things I threw yesterday. Is that safe? What will mold do in firing? My unintentional organic addition.

No problem with mold, it usually makes things a little more plastic, but will only burn out in firing. Now if it were mossy, then has to be removed before using the clay, especially for throwing. 

 

best,

Pres

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On 8/28/2018 at 4:09 PM, LeeU said:

I'm especially curious about coffee grounds added to glaze (any colors) for cone 6 and cone 10 fires, and as well added to the surface of wet light buff clay and not glazed, for mid and high fires. (Yes, I'll be testing, but a heads-up is nice if it is essentailly a waste of time!  

P.S.   I have  read the current CAN Daily post "Caffienated Texture"...I'm more interested in surface and glaze effects than working it into the body.

 

I think the sculptor in the article uses coffee beans impressed into the slabs because they are big enough to be an obvious textural element when burned out. 

I'll be interested in seeing if grounds in the glaze (left to soften or not?) give you any effect since they would probably burn out far sooner than the glaze will melt. Maybe with a stiff glaze and your feel for organic surfaces you'll make something new!

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