Unbelievable. I am finally about to run a glaze load or two. It’s been nearly a month since I did the bisque firing. Where did the time go?
Well, there was Pug Day. I had some friends over to run their scraps through the pug mill. We started about 9:30am, and I closed the studio door about 8:30pm. We estimated that we milled between 400-500lbs during the day. I had to take apart and clean the pug mill three times total. Once the day before, once when we switched from ∆6 stoneware to ∆04-06 clay, and finally when we finished. I now feel completely comfortable taking apart and cleaning a Peter Pugger VPM-9. Not sure I could do it blindfolded, but I did learn some tricks. And I have to add, the Peter Pugger worked solid, all day and turned out a lot of very nicely pugged clay. Should have photos from some of the participants soon. Initial reports on the clay have been very positive.
That took a big chunk out of the month. I finally got back in to the studio to glaze yesterday and again this evening. I forgot I had to finish mixing a nice “Mary’s Blue” glaze. I had started the mix back in June, and never got around to running through a sieve or hydrating it to the right specific gravity. So, first I screened it, using a nice 60 mesh sieve. Then I adjusted the water until I had about 1.47 specific gravity. In the past, I used a homemade float hygrometer, which was basically a plastic bottle with a 3 oz. fishing weight in it, and Sharpie markings for “working great” mixes of my favorites. That was ok for a while, then I started using a beaker and weighed 100ml of glaze. That was a mess and took some time to get the 100ml just right. It’s very accurate if the volume is correct, but it’s not quick. The most recent approach is a 100ml syringe. I found the 100g mark for water, then drew the same amount of glaze and weighed it. I found I had 147.6g of glaze. So, I checked with my hygrometer and beaker methods and was very pleased to find it confirmed. While I wouldn’t say I have a very scientific approach, I think it is close enough to make functional mixing decisions and adjustments. I found the syringe on Amazon for about $5.00 – I think it was a good buy. We’ll see how long it holds up.
In this batch of pottery are a few pieces I’m planning to submit for the “Japanesque” show at the Overland Gallery, and a few candidates for a submission to the NC Pottery Center’s annual auction. It’s fun having work in the process for which a destination is already in mind. There are a few requests in this batch, too, including a set of bowls for some disc golf friends.
And I’ve done a couple more block prints at home in my spare time. I think I also worked out a couple approaches to try printing on clay. More on that later.
So, that’s about it for July. I hope you’re having a good summer and have lots of great pottery to show for it. Cheers