Sunday, June 3, 2012

you know it's right and yet.....

We are not new to the game of pottery making down here in Whynot and, yet, we feel some days as if we are babes in the woods.
We have been at this just long enough to feel that we are starting over.
Glad you asked.
In the time we have been making pottery things have changed.
Oh, I don't mean our age, the gray hair, with those things should come a little knowledge.
I say a little no one ever knows it all in this business and if they do, well, don't say it out loud unless you can take the knocks when things go wrong.
My thoughts are we have been here long enough to watch as clay bodies, chemicals for glazes, materials have changed.
And, what happens to us, the little people, is that we don't know about the change until we are knee deep in a glaze that is reacting differently, a clay body that is spitting out bits after it is bisque fired or some other surprise that the powers that be have in store for us.
This past week we ran out of wax resist and thought we would just pick some up at one of the two suppliers we have near us rather than order what we always use, and have used, for years.
We could not get the tried and true so we just grabbed some and we were using it all over the place.
It worked on many of the glazes, but, here is the but, but not on the iron red.
I had glazed a bowl in the red and did three swirls on the inside, went off for lunch and came back to find one of the swirls not only peeled away but sticking up in the air as if to say, "hey there!" look at what I can do." I was able to just lift the whole thing off.
That is when you begin to look at everything.
What was it used on and what else is waving hello?
Let us just say that after choice words, thoughts of getting a job and thoughts of smacking trees with many glazed pots we moved into plan B.
Instead of loading the kiln after lunch as we had planned we pulled  out more pots and went back to glazing and washing.
As we ran across pots with peeling glaze they went in the wash pile.
We replaced those pots and glazed many more.

Then we contact our friend and glaze Guru John Britt for a bit of advice.
Mark and John, who is the nicest most sharing person you ever want to meet, had a great chat while I looked up and read about  the difference in wax  resist.
There is great information out there on the web.
This was a good reminder, a kick in the pants, as to the old saying we have here at Whynot.
Do not make changes in the middle of anything.
When you know something works do not bring in an unknown into the mix.
It is the same with glazes, we try to have glazes mixed before we start and when we are being really smart we mix ahead to test the new batch.

Last night a glass, or two, of wine smooth some feathers.
Today is a new day, pots are glazed, we are heading out to load the kiln.
Now where is that application for Wally World?

 ( no pots were harmed in the making of this blog)


Linda Starr said...

Isn't it the way, what a lot of work to redo, always something to learn.

Shortstuff said...

I admire your patience and persistence. I would've thrown the whole lot in the lake, packed and put a for sale sign at the end of the drive. Glad you're not a quitter!

Dennis Allen said...

Water based v/s oil based? Or just crap that didn't work? It's always something.

Michèle Hastings said...

I think I might have been throwing pots. Washing off glazes is such a pain in the neck (and hard on your hands). What wax resist do you typical use?

Anna M. Branner said...

I'm curious about what brand wax resist is your normal one also....

And no one can say that potters don't have to have patience. I am still working on that one for sure.

cookingwithgas said...

yes, Linda- redo-redo-redo.
SS- you know we have tempers and it took all I had NOT to bash them all. I am learning in my OLD age to step the heck away.
The forbes is a latex-
What we use is Aftosa's wax resist and I will have to look it up. I usually buy a 1/2 gallon. Take out what we need, thin with water,never add it back to the container,and sometimes place it in clean smaller bottles with tight lids. Works well for us-

Hollis Engley said...

More alcohol is the trick, Meredith.
In you and Mark, I mean ... not in the resist.

cookingwithgas said...

we are working in that right now Hollis.
We do find it best to add alcohal after 6 pm anytime before that could be dangerous to all clay products.

Tracey Broome said...

At least you aren't in the car with Gerry right now going 80 miles an hour on I 95..... Christ almighty!!,
Sorry about the glazing, I have two words for that.... Terra sigilata haha

Amy said...

so glad that no pots were harmed in the making of this blog!

Gary's third pottery blog said...

fuchity fuch fuch! NO!

Kings Creek Pottery said...

WHAT??!! That bites.... I am amazed at your restraint. How about tears? Did you have any of those?- I know I would have been bawling!!
Thanks for sharing your post, so we can all learn (as if!!).
My favorite line from your post:
" of the swirls not only peeled away but sticking up in the air as if to say, "hey there!" look at what I can do." That cracked me up!!

Laura Farrow said...

such risky business! sometimes I get a cheap thrill from leaping off into the void of the unknown, materials-wise... it doesn't always work out however. I keep doing it, so I must crave the drama. I just refire it til the cows come home. xo

Lori Buff said...

I recently opened a box of underglazes at Mudfire, some of the white ones were the "new and improved" white. It scares me. What was wrong with the old white? Now we have to test this new glaze all over again. I feel your pain, although, thankfully, this underglaze situation is nowhere near the work you went through. Thanks for the reminder to test, test, test.