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Adding Subtle Interest To Surface In Electric Kiln To Enhance Visual Qualities

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I have managed to achieve a nice blue glaze to keep me going for a while. I can make pots using my favourite white-ish clay and get results that are pretty much free of defects such as the pinholes suffered when I used other clays.

 

However, this ends up with a sterile-looking pot. So I'd like to achieve a little more interest to the surface, perhaps a degree of randomness more akin to what comes out of gas reduction or even wood firing.

 

I have tried adding iron fillings to the glaze but at cone 6/7 these came out as just black specks. Perhaps at higher temperatures they would break down more?

 

The attached images show the sorts of somewhat sterile results I am getting.

 

The bowl with the swirls and speckles I used the iron fillings.

 

The open blue bowl with the (unglazed) stripe, if only there was a bit of speckling/contamination(?) around that unglazed stripe, I'd probably have achieved what I am after for now.

 

The 2 teapots, the green one was gas reduction fired at 1320c when I was going to evening classes, the (slightly boring) blue one out of my electric kiln cone 7.

 

I know this is all very subjective, and perhaps I need a different kiln, but I'd be very grateful for any ideas that I could experiment around with... is there for example some chemical I could add into the electric kiln (without damaging elements) that might affect the surfaces?

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Tyler Miller likes this

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Have you considered airbrushing some ironey-chromey-cobalty-etc mason stains? I saw this one potter from Archie Bray that airbrushed a wee bit of degussa red on her white satin and celadons, and it made the most luscious blush...very subtle, but real eye candy! Maybe try fiddling around with different colors. :)

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I am looking at the top of the teapot where the glaze is breaking nicely on the concentric rings.  It may not be the dramatic effect that you want, but a similar textured surface in the clay, on the walls of your pieces might give you more interest.

 

I do like the clean lines of your forms, but even heavier textured accents with even the slightest spritz of different colors can take you a long way.

 

-Paul

oly likes this

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Program in a way longer cooling fire down curve.  The "interesting" stuff from most "reduction" gas firing comes not from the reduction.... but from the longer cooling cycle of the larger thermal mass and better insulated kilns.

 

It will surprise you.

 

best,

 

..............john

ChenowethArts likes this

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Consider applying a fake ash glaze over the blue or a crawling type glaze over the blue that will add surface interest.

 

If the blue breaks on texture, then try adding some lines to the forms. A simple line is often all you need to break up a larger color plane. Also, a streak of a darker blue (maybe the same glaze but with more cobalt to give a darker color) would make a nice contrast.

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Program in a way longer cooling fire down curve.  The "interesting" stuff from most "reduction" gas firing comes not from the reduction.... but from the longer cooling cycle of the larger thermal mass and better insulated kilns.

 

It will surprise you.

 

best,

 

..............john

 

That is VERY interesting, thank you!

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There are several cone 6 electric fire  forums that you can get a lot of help and information from.  Some you have to pay a small fee to join but they are well worth it if you work in C6.    Denice

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Program in a way longer cooling fire down curve.  The "interesting" stuff from most "reduction" gas firing comes not from the reduction.... but from the longer cooling cycle of the larger thermal mass and better insulated kilns.

 

It will surprise you.

 

best,

 

..............john

 

 

John, my kiln currently takes about 10 hours to reach 1260°c, then a 30 minute dwell, then about 14 hours to come down to 200°c. I could double the cool-down to say 28 hours as a first trial, what do you think?

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I don't know how well this will work in an electric firing, but I've been fooling around with just sprinkling some unwashed woodash on some of my pieces.  Misting a little soda or something over them might not be a bad idea either.  Things that just modify the melt in little ways.

 

Your teapots are nice.

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Have you tried spraying (mouth atomiser) a darker glaze over some parts.  Maybe using paper stencils/resists then spraying?

 

This sample was three coats white with a blue glazed atomised on.  It's earthenware, but could/should be doable at ^6.  I'm hoping it will work, as I've got samples going in next week's ^6 firing. (Sorry it's out-of-focus.)

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I was going to say the addition of ash might help. SOmeone already said it! Darn. Maybe a heavier coat on or near the rim, the addition of ash or something that will make the glaze flow more, or in conjunction add some texture where the flow can be interrupted and pool. Ive been following Katie Marks "anotherseattleartist" in instagram. Her direction is something Ive aimed to do. Not sure what glaze she uses but its simple and drools downward and pools nicely. Plus she uses gold luster which Ive been wanting to use silver luster for some time now.

 

From her Facebook:

 

cn0zWt.jpg

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I would like to say that there is a really elegant simplicity in your smaller sized bowls. The form is strong, and the simple glaze, especially the image with no streakyness, is an appealing combo by itself. That said, a simple form like that with a simple surface modification like this lovely lady, Sarah Pike, might be another direction. A pattern, more than a texture.

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oly and Joy pots like this

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I've zero practical experience, but as I understand it you only need to slow the cooling over part firing schedule.

 

See for example

http://ceramicartsdaily.org/firing-techniques/electric-kiln-firing/firing-up-and-down-2/

... and the freebies it offers.

 

Two examples, each shows a glaze with different firing cycles

http://ceramicartsdaily.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/DixieTeal_675.jpg

http://ceramicartsdaily.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/JohnsTenmoku_675.jpg

Tyler Miller likes this

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I've zero practical experience, but as I understand it you only need to slow the cooling over part firing schedule.

 

See for example

http://ceramicartsdaily.org/firing-techniques/electric-kiln-firing/firing-up-and-down-2/

... and the freebies it offers.

 

Two examples, each shows a glaze with different firing cycles

http://ceramicartsdaily.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/DixieTeal_675.jpg

http://ceramicartsdaily.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/JohnsTenmoku_675.jpg

Wow!

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it is a VERY nice matte mid-blue glaze.  may i have your recipe?  i would modify it slightly by adding another colorant to give a little variety.  how many color tests have you done?

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I really like the look of the middle image of the three bowls. Illustrates what simple lines can do. Your forms are strong and clean so I would opt to stay simple by either firing down your kiln to lengthen to cooling or making those kind of simple separation marks. Nice!

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Not to derail the thread but how would one achieve a slower cooling process with only a nob controlled kiln. I have low - med - and high. Ive been wondering that if upon shut off how fast "high" raises temp, if "medium" keeps things consistent, and whether "low" keeps things gradual. I havent put much thought into it glaze wise because Ive only thought about it during glass melts. But Im sure like some of us I never knew that fact that J Baymore stated. I guess it makes sense considering those ridiculous crystal forming glazes take long cooling times.

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It is a pain using a manual kiln.  You have to experiment and record the pyrometer readings and then develop a profile of switch settings.  And remember that that profile will CHANGE a tad as the density and layout of the loading changes.

 

best,

 

....................john

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oly,

 

Your forms are really nice, and well-suited for minimal glazing. If you want to add some subtle textures, I like neil's suggestion to use a darker or a speckled claybody. But if you don't want to switch clays, then I recommend that you purchase a mouth-blown glaze sprayer. I consider this a "can't live without" tool for cone 6. These jars are dipped in a light gray glaze (which is very boring by itself) then sprayed unevenly with a darker gray glaze. It creates gradations of tone, and a grainy texture.

 

http://community.ceramicartsdaily.org/gallery/image/3776-textured-jars-with-wire-handles/

 

(note that I am using a dark and speckled claybody, and that the stamped textures are part of the equation too)

 

Take your favorite glaze, mix up a small batch of a darker version of the glaze, then spray it unevenly over the base glaze. I often taught my students that any cone 6 glaze can be made more interesting by spraying on accents of white glaze or black glaze.

Darcy Kane likes this

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You would be amazed at the difference of holding a ^6 glaze at 2100 or 2000 for 30 minutes will make in your results.

Your glazing looks well applied but a little more breaking might make them look richer. Try holding the temperature on the way down. After 30+ of firing reduction, firing oxidation was a whole new learning curve. Beautiful results can be achieved. Several potter friends with oxidation experienced helped me along.

Marcia

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oly,

 

Your forms are really nice, and well-suited for minimal glazing. If you want to add some subtle textures, I like neil's suggestion to use a darker or a speckled claybody. But if you don't want to switch clays, then I recommend that you purchase a mouth-blown glaze sprayer. I consider this a "can't live without" tool for cone 6. These jars are dipped in a light gray glaze (which is very boring by itself) then sprayed unevenly with a darker gray glaze. It creates gradations of tone, and a grainy texture.

 

http://community.ceramicartsdaily.org/gallery/image/3776-textured-jars-with-wire-handles/

 

(note that I am using a dark and speckled claybody, and that the stamped textures are part of the equation too)

 

Take your favorite glaze, mix up a small batch of a darker version of the glaze, then spray it unevenly over the base glaze. I often taught my students that any cone 6 glaze can be made more interesting by spraying on accents of white glaze or black glaze.

Thanks, I love the koi and stork, not seen anything quite like them before.

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Have you tried using slips on your green ware or washes/stains over the top of your glazes?  You can get very dramatic results with washes and can make one glaze look like 4 or 5 different glazes by using slips.  Simple, cost-effective and it definitely widens your palette.

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What about using a bit of rutile on the surface? It tends to do some localize fluxing and texturizes the surface a bit. Matter of fact the commercially bought texturizers have a lot of rutile in them.

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