Jump to content
curt

Ian Currie Test Tiles Forums?

Recommended Posts

curt    117

Hi All,

 

Are there any forums for those who are currently using Ian Currie's grid tile technique to share information, discuss results, etc..  I have seen passing references to the grid tile technique on these forums but I am looking for a dedicated and active group who are actively engaged in doing it. 

 

I have been to Ian Currie's website and to glazes.org, great sites in their own right, but neither of these have forums and the sites they link to are either dead or old.

 

Thoughts?

 

Cheers,

Curt  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Marcia Selsor    1,301

It could be because Ian passed away several years ago. He was a great teacher. I don't know of any forums dedicated to his grid system.

 

Marcia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
curt    117

Hi Marcia,

 

Yes, although Ian did pass away in 2011, his work was very influential and his books including "Revealing Glazes" are still highly regarded.  I think you can get this and his other book on his website by the way at  ian.currie.to  

 

His techniques are very accessible and offer a straightforward way to go beyond simple line and triaxial blending and begin to really understand what makes glazes tick - and discover heaps of new ones!  I am only just now discovering its potential, not only to fix my own existing glazes, but also to use native materials to get some new glazes into the stable.

 

I know that there are a number of people out there who are very familiar with his methodology, and continue to use it or at least recommend it, including some on these very forums.  I think it is too much to hope for that there would be forums dedicated only to his methodololgy, but what I am hoping is that those current practitioners of his method (few though they may be) might have gravitated to a home somewhere in cyberspace to collaborate.   

 

Any other thoughts out there?

 

Cheers,

Curt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
curt    117

Yes, that is the right website, although one would want to do a bit of reading elsewhere on that site and become familiar with the methodology before going to the calculations page you have linked to, which is the bit where are you actually starting to mix test glazes.

 

However, it does show off one of the strengths of the Currie method, which is that you can turn 4 glazes into 35 by simply mixing them volumetrically. 

 

You would be surprised how different those 35 glazes can actually be when you start to slightly overload the base glaze with clay or silica, or stumble across interesting eutectics....

 

Any current Currie practitioners out there lurking.... ;-)....  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
curt    117

I never got the chance to meet him, sure wish I had.

 

If I can figure out how I will attach a photo of some recent Currie tiles I have done if anyone is interested.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
curt    117

Currie Tiles

 

I have stumbled my way through uploading some images to this site (I think) and hopefully the link above is visible.   I have also managed to add some Currie test tiles to my Icon (!). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
David Woodin    26

I have used the Currie 35 tile method quite often, but found that some of the tests were way outside the functional limits.  I started making other tests inside the grid  for AL/Si limits, which resulted in more good glazes.  I use the Matrix glaze program to do this.

David

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
curt    117

Hi David,

 

Yes the standard currie tiles I have done produce a combination of functional and non-functional glazes on every tile. Two for the price of one!

 

However, like you I am probably more interested in functional glazes, and every tile I have done using traditional glaze materials always generates several viable candidates (although not always aesthetically pleasing ones!). Using native materials it is less clear what is functional and what is not, although I suspect testing would prove this up.

 

I have used the grids as a starting point to cast a very wide net, then if the results are good I zoom in and expand on the more functional part of the tile. I guess this is what you are doing?

 

I am using Insight, and while it does not currently have any currie-style functionality I have worked this out on my own. I think Matrix does have it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
David Woodin    26

Matrix does have the Currie grid and also you can make your own grid.  I make my own grid and make the corners match the Al/Si limits for whichever cone I am firing at.  Matrix also has a very good method for testing colors used in glazes.

David

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
David Woodin    26

David what Al/Si limits are you using?

I use Matrix limits, Insight limits, and Food safe Cone 6, Cone 10 limits.  Insight and Matrix allow for cones other than Cone 6 and Cone 10. I usually fire to cone 7 in the electric kiln and in the gas kiln cone 9.  That way I only need one stoneware clay body.

David

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
curt    117

 Yep, never can have too many limits I always say! (or is it my wife that tells me that, I forget....)

 

I don't know the Food Safe Cone Limits, but I will google them.  

 

One versatile stoneware body is good.  Are all your glazes that versatile as well? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I decided to have a go at this 35 grid method. I am a little confused as to what I am meant to put in on the calculator on his website. Do all the flux have to add up to 100?

 

Made myself a plaster mould with all the squares to hopefully make my life easier.

 

post-23281-0-14663200-1429538533_thumb.jpg

post-23281-0-14663200-1429538533_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
David Woodin    26

No the fluxes don't have to add up to 100.  You are to take a glaze and leave out the clay and Silica, if it has any, and just put in the flux material even though they may  have some AL203 and SiO2 in them.  Ex: Custer feldspar. The calculation on the web site is going to add clay and silica to the batch.  I usually make test tiles because I want to see what happens on vertical surfaces.

David 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
curt    117

I like your test tile.  The individual cells seem to be stamped in with a little design, which should give you some raised surface to get an indication of how "fluxy" the material in each cell is.   If possible make sure you produce two of every kind of grid tile and keep one for reduction and one for oxidation.  There are often massive differences for the same materials in oxidation and reduction, and I find this is triply true with many of the native materials I am testing.

 

If you have a close look at the test tile pictures in my avatar (also in my gallery) you will see that I also give the bottom center of every cell a vertical scoring mark with a needle tool once the glaze has been applied to the cells.  I find this gives a very helpful additional indication of melting, supplementing Ian Currie's second pass application (the "striding man" as he calls it, but it looks like an upside down lower case Y to me), and the little raised marks on the upper right hand corner of his cells, which I also have. 

 

David Woodin is right - if you are using a pre-existing glaze recipe just strip out any kaolin, clay, ball clay, bentonite, etc. and any silica, flint, quartz, etc.  And as Dave says, the remaining materials don't have to add to 100 - Ian's calculation page sorts that out for you.   The important thing is simply to make sure that the RELATIVE amounts of all the remaining materials (relative to each other, that is) are the same as in the original recipe, if there was one.  If there was no pre-existing recipe and you are testing native materials :D then probably you only have one "flux" so enter it and put any amount and go! 

 

Since I am not testing any mature, proven glaze recipes at present, I don't make any test tiles until I have targeted a few cells on the grid that I want to test more thoroughly.  The currie test tiles are meant to sit flat on the kiln shelf (and ideally in stacks, but be very careful doing this as they can warp a lot if poorly propped!), so the marks in each cell are really your first empirical information on how a glaze is going to perform on a vertical surface.

 

Depending on what you are trying to test you might also like to exclude any coloring oxides.    

 

Looking forward to hearing how you go!   Your diving in has inspired me to post a few more of my recent test tiles - and some of their consequences! - in my gallery. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, thank you for the explanations :D I think I understand now. I don't have access to any reduction firing so won't be needing the extra tiles.

 

Probably start with the one flux and see where that goes from there for a little practise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
neilestrick    1,381

If you want the most possible useable glazes out of the grid, then you have to make sure all 4 corners fall within limits. Why run a bunch of tests if half won't be useable because they are out of limits? With glaze calculation software it's simple enough to figure out the 4 corners. The bottom left corner is the glaze with low silica and alumina, one axis increases the silica to the max of its limit, the other increases alumina to the max of its limit. This way every glaze has the potential to be useable.

 

In addition to testing the si:al ratio, I often use the Currie grid for color tests, or to test the effects of increased fluxes in the glaze (whiting on one axis, soda on the other, for example). Again, I make sure all 4 corners are within limits.

 

I also prefer to use vertical test tiles rather than flat tiles. It shows the behavior of the glaze much better, especially since 95% of the pots I make are not plates. It's not as fast as doing the large flat tile, but it saves a couple of rounds of testing in trying to get the melt in control.

 

It's a lot of work, but there's no better method to get a lot of great results at once.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
curt    117

I think when Neil says "useable" he is referring to glazes which have silica, alumina and flux amounts which make them suitable for functional surfaces according to general accepted guidelines.  Is that what you mean Neil?   

 

I am sympathetic to Neil's desire (I would love all my glazes to be functional!), but would argue against this kind of modification of the currie technique, at least to start out with.  Limiting the grid corners means you miss out on all the wonderful decorative (but non-functional) glazes which can magically emerge from the currie technique.  Some of the most interesting glazes I have found have overloaded one ingredient or another.  You would not feel comfortable putting them on an eating or drinking surface, but they still work in the sense that they will melt on the pot - and look great!  I am not advocating putting just anything on your pots - there must still be the usual potter-beware judiciousness in place, but that still leaves infinite possibilities. 

 

The other wrinkle is that to vary Currie's standard grid (ie, change how his existing calculations page works), you need Matrix glaze software (which has a currie module) or your own custom calcs or spreadsheet.  Insight does not do it easily, although I think what Neil is implying is that you can go plug in recipes by trial and error and eventually figure out what blends are inside the limits, but this might take a while. However, I like Neil's thinking about using the grid axes to vary fluxes (not just clay/alumina and silica). 

 

Another reason to use Currie's technique as it is out of the box is that you can learn a great deal looking at "extreme" blends of your glaze components.  I have a glaze I am working on at the moment which was not as glossy as I wanted - something in the glaze was leaving a very subtle kind of swirling roughness on the surface, even in cells which fell within functional limits.  It was only by looking at extreme blends in the silica heavy part of the, and then visually following the silica trail down the grid, tile that I realized that this roughness I was seeing was due to a still ever-so-slight silica overload!  

 

Having many slightly differentiated tests of a glaze mixture on the same ceramic object, fired in the same firing, in the same place in the kiln makes those results highly comparable and the learning from them is increased.  Since I can get a very good indication of melting, runny-ness and vertical movement of a particular glaze from the currie tiles themselves, I wait to do individual tile tests until I cherry-pick the grid for what I want to test further.  And I can say, hand-on-heart, that more than once I have gone straight from the grid results to mixing up a much larger batch for use on pots, without going through a second-stage test tile run -  although this is not without some risk.  

 

I also find that once I have used the same currie batch to make up three or four grid tiles from for testing on different clays, reduction vs oxidation, etc.. that I don't really have enough of each glaze left in the cups to properly dip test tiles. 

 

I don't think there is really any wrong or right in the experimenting stage (says the guy who is flying by the seat of his pants with native materials), as long as you are cognizant of the risks, and realize the strengths and weaknesses of your results.  As you can see from this discussion, this technique is very powerful, and can be used in SO MANY different ways.        

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
neilestrick    1,381

I make functional work, so I focus my efforts on food safe glazes. I guess what I'm getting at is that the grid can be used in a multitude of ways, to achieve very broad or very specific results. It's a wonderful tool.

 

I use Hyperglaze glaze calc software. It has a function where you can plug any glaze into the limit formulas and adjust them easily. 4 corners of a grid can be done in a matter of minutes. It even has a quadraxial blend function. I think glaze cal software is worth every dime. It's a great way to catalog your glazes, it saves a ton of time when working with formulas, and it enables you to see what's really going on with a glaze. Unity formulas are far more informative than recipes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
curt    117

Thanks Neil for the tip on Hyperglaze, good to know it has this functionality. Could not agree more with all your observations about the value of glaze software. I use Insight, but as far as I can tell it doesn't have any currie-like functionality yet. I live in hope.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
curt    117

awesome!  and very interesting.  I have not seen a pattern like this in my tiles.

 

I assume the tile is "right side up" so that the bottom left hand corner (corner C in currie speak) in this picture is the one with flux only?  is looks like that because that is where the best melt appears to be coming from.  although you also got some melting in corner B way up the top by the looks of it (or does it just appear that way in the photo?).

 

Normally (ok, from my experience) there is a comparatively well melted zone from bottom left to top right.  Corners A and D, which get overloaded with clay and silica, respectively, always seem to come out matte-ish on my tiles.  Yet your tile has a big unmelted zone running from A to D... 

 

From corner C it seems you are picking up some action from the claybody itself, assuming your whiting does not normally fire up brown?

 

Cell 21 and 27 look interesting. 

 

There looks to be some dark blue appearing in a few of the cells around corner C.  Have you added a colorant of some kind?

 

For the next one might suggest you put a bit more glaze in each of the cells so that you completely bury the raised pattern in your cells. Then if a cell does do some melting the pattern will start to appear, giving some idea of the runniness of each mixture. 

 

Look forward to the next one.  Any thoughts on what you will do from here, based on these results?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes it is orientated with bottom left C, pure flux. Fired to cone 8 with cone 9 just starting to bend. The top right few have the best melt, very crazed but they have formed a glass. The lighting was not the best, going to work on that for the next to get some more detail.

 

The bottom left side is really interesting. I have no idea were the purples and blue/greens came from. No colourants used.

 

Going to work on another one today. This time I was thinking of keeping whiting as a flux but going 50/50 with another flux. Not sure what to choose from my many rocks. Probably pick a good melter. 

 

Do you weigh out 100g batches? I was doing it in 10g lots, 100 seemed like too much of a waste.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×