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Hello, I am new to the forum and I already see answers to many questions I have been pondering.  I have been an amateur potter for many years, and now as I am reaching retirement I want to work more seriously on my skills.  I also like to experiment.  I have access to boxes of out of date medications, and currently have thousands of iron tablets, and potassium tablets I thought might be fun to play with in glazing.  Has anyone else ever done this or knows of anyone who has.

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Welcome to the forum Nancy...I would guess that, like Callie says, the amount of iron or potassium in the pills would be inconsequential when it came to the glazes. The problem that I would see is the amount and composition of the fillers that are used to make the pills...

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Go for it! Nothing hurt by testing them. I'ld weigh out X grams of them and slake them down in water then add that to your glaze water. (keep track of weights so you can replicate something if it turns out) I could see the iron being more useful in a glaze than the potassium pills. The iron might be so fine a grade that it might not speckle in a glaze, the potassium will be adding a flux so depending on how much you add it will increase the chance of both crazing and running. Organic fillers will burn out.

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Iron pills are ferrous sulfate, you can see the wiki here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron(II)_sulfate

They decompose into sulfur and iron at 572f, but at 65-300mg per pill you're going to end up with a very small amount of iron.  The cool thing is that ferrous sulfate is green, and so are glazes low in iron, so maybe you'll end up with a glaze with a slightly green tinge!

The bad part is that since they are a sulfate they'll release some pesky gas in firing.

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Thanks to everyone for your quick response.  I appreciate the friendly and knowledgeable advice.  I forgot to tell you that I use an electric kiln and usually glaze fire to cone 6.  Since I recently had to replace all my elements after a kiln mishap while firing local fossils (I made lava), I'm concerned about any off gassing that would coat the new elements.  After looking at the post about the pennies fired in clear glaze, I might start by dropping a whole tablet in the bottom of a cup.  I recently bought an old kiln for a hundred dollars that I might dedicate to experiments when I get it going.  Some interesting  things are happening when I fire local clay and stone.  I will gladly post photos if anyone is interested in them.  Again thanks,

Nancy

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Having recently read 'bout all I could find on lithium, petalite, spodumene, etc., I'm curious if lithium prescriptions have been used in glazes.

Could be loaded question; I'm just curious 'bout usage in glazes.

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2 minutes ago, Hulk said:

Having recently read 'bout all I could find on lithium, petalite, spodumene, etc., I'm curious if lithium prescriptions have been used in glazes.

Could be loaded question; I'm just curious 'bout usage in glazes.

Well lithium medicine is lithium carbonate with binders, so you COULD, but hopefully if you have a lithium prescription you are taking it!

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Hmmm, the well water in our area has lithium in it.  I assumed all the minerals in our well would probably be a problem for my glazes, definitely hard to control.  Maybe it would be interesting  to do some testing.  The calcium carbonate is probably in sufficient levels to affect the glazes, although they seem to work well when I'm careful.

 

also

23 hours ago, Marian Lake said:

I'd also be interested in your findings. I've been wanting to experiment a bit with some local clays, the forums have been very helpful on that topic but new research is always appreciated!

The local clays in my area are purple, gray, red and off white.  Unfortunately, I haven't found any substantial deposits of any individual color to make mining them easy.  Also, they are dirty with vegetation, rock, dirt and gypsum crystals so I need to set up a system for cleaning it.  In the meantime I am playing with grinding some of the rocks to make  red, orange and ochre slips for burnishing on my commercial clay.  If they seem to fit it well, I then get to play with firing them in my electric kiln (oxidation) vs different approaches to pit firing (reduction).  When I had the kiln accident and made lava from some rocks I fired, some really interesting things happened that I would like to explore in a much safer and more controlled approach.:)  I'll start taking pictures to post.  Also, does anyone know how to straighten warped kiln shelves?

Thanks to everyone,

Nancy

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warped kiln shelves are not even good as stepping stones.   but you can break them into pieces for your experiments.  they will protect the real shelves while you fire experiments on them.  one shelf can make many smaller ones.

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Have read about cleaning all the wash off, then using shelves warp side up. However, should the previously used side drop bits onto the work below, suitable only for bottom shelf, eh?

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18 hours ago, NancyE said:

The local clays in my area are purple, gray, red and off white.  Unfortunately, I haven't found any substantial deposits of any individual color to make mining them easy.  Also, they are dirty with vegetation, rock, dirt and gypsum crystals so I need to set up a system for cleaning it.  In the meantime I am playing with grinding some of the rocks to make  red, orange and ochre slips for burnishing on my commercial clay.  If they seem to fit it well, I then get to play with firing them in my electric kiln (oxidation) vs different approaches to pit firing (reduction).  When I had the kiln accident and made lava from some rocks I fired, some really interesting things happened that I would like to explore in a much safer and more controlled approach.:)  I'll start taking pictures to post.  Also, does anyone know how to straighten warped kiln shelves?

Thanks to everyone,

Nancy

Thanks that’s interesting, is the purple clay that color straight from the ground, or after a reduction firing? I think Lizella clay turns purple in reduction but is orange-ish before firing?  I’m looking to use a clay nearby that is similar to Alberta slip, with some frit added to make a cone 6 glaze. It’s a low cost material but it’s fun to experiment with ‘wild’ clays (even if I don't know what I'm doing or where to look most of the time :)

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11 minutes ago, Marian Lake said:

Thanks that’s interesting, is the purple clay that color straight from the ground, or after a reduction firing? I think Lizella clay turns purple in reduction but is orange-ish before firing?  I’m looking to use a clay nearby that is similar to Alberta slip, with some frit added to make a cone 6 glaze. It’s a low cost material but it’s fun to experiment with ‘wild’ clays (even if I don't know what I'm doing or where to look most of the time :)

Lizella is bright yellow, it's a beautiful clay, but very dirty when firing

4pIe9Wc.jpg

Edited by liambesaw

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Hmmm, the well water in our area has lithium in it.  I assumed all the minerals in our well would probably be a problem for my glazes, definitely hard to control.  Maybe it would be interesting  to do some testing.  The calcium carbonate is probably in sufficient levels to affect the glazes, although they seem to work well when I'm careful.

 

also

On 2/25/2020 at 9:21 PM, Marian Lake said:

I'd also be interested in your findings. I've been wanting to experiment a bit with some local clays, the forums have been very helpful on that topic but new research is always appreciated!

I am going to start taking before and after photos.  The clay comes out of the ground purple, It turns red with oxidation, I have not done reduction yet.  After seeing the Lizella clay, I will never loosely use the word "yellow" around clay again.  I made a red slip that bisque fired to a nice red, turned almost black when fired to cone 6.  Lots of iron around here.  I predict the slips will work better with reduction and lower temps.

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Hmmm, the well water in our area has lithium in it.  I assumed all the minerals in our well would probably be a problem for my glazes, definitely hard to control.  Maybe it would be interesting  to do some testing.  The calcium carbonate is probably in sufficient levels to affect the glazes, although they seem to work well when I'm careful.

 

also

On 2/25/2020 at 9:21 PM, Marian Lake said:

I'd also be interested in your findings. I've been wanting to experiment a bit with some local clays, the forums have been very helpful on that topic but new research is always appreciated!

I took some photos of raw clay/dirt/rocks, bisque fired to cone 06, fired to cone 6, with and without clear glaze and my lava.  I hope this is interesting.  I have not refined out any usable clay yet, and I am working on making some slips now.  Thanks,

Nancy

IMG_20200229_131646_3.jpg

IMG_20200229_131724_3.jpg

IMG_20200229_131731_3.jpg

IMG_20200229_132035.3jpg.jpg

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Yes, a lot of fern leaves and other woody plants.  Some are in hard rock, but most are soft and would wash out if exposed to water, so I fire them.  I think they are turning out really nice.  They are in a road cut that is about to be demolished, so I am compulsively trying to dig out what I can.  

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7 minutes ago, NancyE said:

Yes, a lot of fern leaves and other woody plants.  Some are in hard rock, but most are soft and would wash out if exposed to water, so I fire them.  I think they are turning out really nice.  They are in a road cut that is about to be demolished, so I am compulsively trying to dig out what I can.  

Well they look very intriguing, nice work there 

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Neat stuff, I wouldn't have expected rocks to fire like that. Especially like the fossil ones with the glaze on it, the yellow ones with the ferns are beautiful. Would love a glaze with that color and depth. Thanks for posting!

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