Sunday, 27 December 2015

Memories of the Ocean

Some time in September I started working on the sculpture for Sculpture by the Sea in Cotesloe, 2016.

Today was the first "dress rehearsal".
Before I start welding the frame, I thought that it would be prudent to check if I need to make  any adjustments to the templates.
It is really handy to have a previous sculptures' frame available.....
I WILL BE making a new frame for this sculpture, and it will be a bit different, from the inside.
So here it is:

And with the early morning sun:

I am quite pleased with it (so far)
This was the computer image of the concept:

Not a bad match....

Monday, 14 December 2015

And they are fired

Inpatient as I am, I opened the kiln and got the tests out with the thick gloves. I have a lovely variety of colours here, and texture is really nice:

They start making more sense when I organize them into triaxial blends:

here are a few close ups. I anticipate many hours of playing , sorting and examining....

Red tile is the only one with the stain as colourant (10% signal red). I run out of test tiles and base glaze to test 7.5%, 5% and 2.5%....for now.....

Interesting glaze. I am getting green from cobalt, pale blue from copper and yellow from iron. No chrome - tin pinks though. I like the darker blush at the bottom edge of some tiles.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

More about glaze tests

You have probably figured out that I am fairly organized when it comes to glaze testing.(Ok, we could use a stronger term, but I wont).
Every now and then a glaze catches my attention that I want to explore fully, so I came up with a series of test that will give me the widest range of colours with the least amount of effort and repetition.

and that Heavenly Turquoise definitely deserves further testing.
I have mixed 2 kg of glaze base (removing the colourant) and sieved it.
Protect your lungs!!

As a rule of thumb, I use same weight of water as powder. As I'm mixing a 2 kg batch, I'm mixing it into 2 l of water.
After the sieving, dipping my fingers in glaze will tel me it's thickness. If you can't see your nails - the glaze is too thick. If you can see every little hair on your fingers, it is probably too thin. This one is about right.

After dividing the glaze into smaller batches ( see bottom of the chart on the top of the post)
I use precision scales to accurately weigh the colouring oxides. As per chart, I need 1% chromium oxide, which is in this case equivalent to 1g.

All of them a weighed:

And labeled:



And positioned in the triaxial formation.
This is Triaxial A:

Then the fun begins. I use a syringe to accurately measure 15 ml into second row cups, 10 ml into 3rd row, 5 ml into 4th row and none into 5th.

By the time I'm done with the corner A, it looks like this:

repeat the same with the other 2 corner cups.
It is easy to see the 3 different colour glazes:

stir thoroughly:

label test tiles:


repeat until all done:

Wash all cups, sticks etc, and repeat for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th triaxial....
I also use some extra tiles to combine the leftovers. You can see it in the top left corner of the above chart.
G is the base glaze with no additions....etc
I have just used every single bisque fired test tile I had in the studio...108 of them.

The kiln is on......

Introducing Ehux

At the moment I am making a new series of small sculptural works for next year's sculpture by the sea.
I particularly enjoy throwing and assembling those:

I have named it Ehux after Emiliania huxleyi

The one on the image above is glazed in Tin White glaze, with the subtle tinge of iron oxide underneath.
And then I decided to be adventurous, and mixed a copper green mat glaze from my stash of tests, and sprayed it on the Ehux, without the testing the mix.
Of course, the glaze did not turn out quite like the original test tile, but the FEEL of the glaze is amazing, and the colour interesting....
Here it is, Ehux in copper green (original glaze name is Heavenly Turquoise):

From gold to green, with wonderful accent of the edges...what is there not to like. Under my fingers it is the smoothest most luxurious glaze ever. I am totally smitten.
I can't stop thinking about that glaze..... so I have decided to run a set of triaxial + more tests to see what will it be like with the different colourants.
To be continued.....

Monday, 9 November 2015

About the Glaze tests

Recently I had a chat with my friends and fellow potters, and the conversation turned to glazes and glaze tests. We all have favorite ways to test, record and document the glazes....and during the conversation I promised to write a blog about my way of testing and documenting.
As some test tiles just came out of the kiln, it is a perfect opportunity to tell you about it.
First, about the test tiles:
This is my extruder die ( for 2 different extruders):

It has smooth and rounded top edge and a few notches to show how the glaze behaves on the textured surface. I tend to extrude a big batch in one go, to last me at least a year. That way I always have tiles on hand.
When I extrude the tiles, I score a line at the bottom of the vertical surface, just above the angle. That makes it easy to break the bottom off for filing:
Once I forgot to do the score line and had to use the angle grinder  for this step.
I store the tiles on A4 size 3 mm thick MDF board fitted with stapled elastic on both sides:

It helps to cut all the tiles the same size :)
I use the same format to write the recipes on the A4 page, and that way I have clear visual reference:

The further benefit is that the tiles are always stored together with the others tested in the same batch,so the whole series is easily viewed together.

It is easy to pull the tiles out for the close comparison. All of them have their ID number written on the back, so they will not be mixed up.

Because the tiles are fired vertically, I can see how the glaze moves in the firing and how it behaves on the top lip. How the glaze breaks over, or covers the raised line is the good indicator of how will it show textured surfaces.

I have made several sturdy MDF boxes with handles and slots for the tile trays.They can be stored vertically or horizontally, and are easily and safely carried to workshops.
One box stores (I think) 640 glaze tests.

Slots in the box are easily made with glueing and stapling strips of 3 mm MDF at equal distances.

Someone said that the main difference between the Scientist and the Artist is that Scientists keep (better) notes.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Intuitive Sense of Connection at Bondi

Arriving to the Bondi beach with a taxi straight from the airport at 9 am, we saw the truck with sculptures just arriving. How exciting!!! If you look really closely, you can see the skeleton of Intuitive Sense of Connection at the front of the truck.

This is the spot where it is going:

Several hours later, boxes with the ceramic are lowered by crane:

That is the moment when I realize how monumental undertaking this whole thing is. Am I really here, 4 000 km away from home waiting for MY sculpture to be positioned on the rocks? Exciting. Humbling. Amazing. Terrifying.
Luckily, there is not much time to think about it, as all of a sudden, there is lots to do.
First the skeleton needs to be stabilized.

Then weighted down....
And than dressed up....
Emma is here to help, and so is my husband (behind the camera at the moment)

145 ceramic triangles need to find their exact spot, and be bolted in....

I could not choose the favourite vantage point. I think it looks good from all angles.

Wow, it is done! If you are in Sydney, I'll be lingering around on Thursday from about 10 am, and so will most of the artists present.
Come and say hello!

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Open Studio

Today I'm opening the door to the visitors.
The studio has never been so tidy: