Feldspars are minerals of varying composition commonly used by potters. Feldspars form a glassy, white surface when fired high enough. They have a very long range, they begin melting at cone 4 and continue fusing beyond cone 10. They also tend to stiffen a glaze due to their high alumina content. In ceramics there are two basic categories of feldspars: potash feldspars, in which the primary melting oxide is potassium, and soda feldspars in which the primary melter oxide is sodium. Soda and potash have the highest thermal expansion and contraction rate of all the ceramic melter oxides, they promote color brilliance and luster at most firing temperatures, and they encourage specific color results.
Stenciling is a great decorative technique for pottery. In the latest issue of Pottery Making Illustrated, Ann Ruel shares her ideas for getting a stenciled look with more dimension. I thought her ideas were pretty nifty so I have excerpted from the article in today’s post.
Theme: Fun and Function
In this issue we have a little fun with functional work – treating forms and surfaces with a twist. First of all, Michelle Erickson and Robert Hunter lead you on a journey of discovery about an 18th century technique called “laid agate.” The detailed step-by-step makes it possible for you to duplicate. Next, you’ll discover a complete description of the mishima technique presented by Molly Hatch (see the cover), followed by Clay Cunningham’s description of Posey Bacopoulos’ majolica technique. And we’re fortunate to once again have Keith Phillips (Pancaker, Gumball Machine) return with another how-to project – the American Butter Dish. So, whether you’re throwing a simple tumbler and dedicating a lot of time to the decoration, or throwing a complicated butter dish and using a single glaze for decoration, you’ll enjoy the hours you spend picking up some of the great techniques in this issue.
Finding Your Voice
Master craftsman Jeffrey
Nichols talks about Finding Your Voice by developing your techniques
and your ideas. over a period of time. He demonstrates his accumulated
skills by sharing his technique for making a faceted teapot and using
his unique decorating technique of layered underglazes. To view his
teapot spout technique, check out the video.
Theme: Surface Decoration
There’s nothing more exciting than working on a clay surface because
opportunities abound throughout the whole ceramic process. In this
issue about surface decoration, Jeffrey Nichols applies layers of
underglaze to bisqueware and sands it down to mimic a weathered painted
surface. Elizabeth Priddy expertly uses Chinese brushwork to decorate
her work but sandwiches it between layers of glaze to give the painting
added depth. Linda Gates decorates her work after bisque and after the
glaze firing with the application of decals fired in place. And Annie
Chrietzberg tells the story of Lana Wilson, a consummate veteran of the
workshop circuit, and her amazing decorating technique that begins
within minutes of taking the clay out of the bag clear up until the
final firing. This issue also brings you information on brushes, canvas
alternatives, pencils, crayons, pens trailers, and more. For an issue
about surface we cover a lot of material indepth.
Your kiln is your most important piece of equipment because without
firing, your work would have little value. In this issue we show you
how you can use your kiln in ways you may not have thought of. Russel
Fouts demonstrates saggar firing in an electric kiln without harming
the kiln elements; and Henry Halem shows you how to fuse and slump
glass using an electric kiln with an elctronic controller-something
many of us have. You’ll also find information on raku, a method for
hanging your work and throwing square pots.
A taxidermist’s daughter elevates the mounted fish to a new level. Cook up your own fish tale!
Keith Phillips explains how to make an updated version of a classic 1950’s kitchen gadget.
Throwing is the most popular pottery forming method. The wheel has a
certain mesmerizing magic about it as your hands center then plunge
into the spinning clay, bringing a shape to life. Like handbuilding,
there are many techniques and nuances involved with throwing, as
creative potters continually add their ‘spin’ to standard methods and
materials. Here you’ll find a selection of artists’ ideas on making multiples,
using porcelain, throwing large or reinventing a kitchen tool.
Buy this back issue – $3.99 (PDF only)