Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Muddy Hands. Muddy Thoughts.

The cold here in Pennsylvania seems to be lifting. Thankfully. I should start off by saying that after the last post about making work I had some new and exciting issues...

While I was in the space I had been running a small electric heater and a kerosene heater in the large space in the front of the building, this kept the chill off just slightly the temperature still hovered around 40 degrees on a good day. When we (my dad and I) left we turned the stove and the heater off, not a big deal. However, I missed a day of going to the building/studio due to work at Boxer's Cafe and teaching an adult ceramics class at Juniata College. The next day I went in to find my pots frozen! Not good. We installed an industrial heater that now keeps the, little space that is my new studio, above freezing when I'm not there and warm enough to work with water and clay when I am.

That being said I have been messing around with some new clays for electric firing... now I know I myself have staved off finishing work in an electric kiln for a long while. But its come down to it. I need to make work and I have a kiln in storage that I picked up a while ago. It is probably going to go in next week. Should be interesting, I'll do my best to document that nonsense.

What clay? You ask. Well I started off with this idea about being as simple and elegant as possible with out being quite so boring as white on white or clear on white (though I may eventually get down to some of that too). I went with the thought of red clay, white glaze. Dundee Red from Georgie's Clay in Portland, Oregon to be exact. I'm crazy, I know. I got a call from them the day after I ordered basically questioning my sanity for shipping clay across the country. "Have you ever heard of Standard Ceramics?" (a supply company n Pittsburgh, PA) was the question I was asked... of course I have but I did my research and for my red clay, white glaze business I was looking for a specific color of clay and their swatch online looked the best.
I have since started to look for another company because unless they have another outlet closer their site (haven't called yet) refuses to let me buy more than 150 pounds at once. This is a problem. If you have any suggestions for a red clay that is a midrange, cone 4-7ish, body and fires warm red (not brown or bright red) let me know. So that's last week in a nutshell. Here are some photos from two days ago that can kind of give you an idea of where I'm going with the red clay. Oh and that red thing in the upper right corner is the heating unit. Pretty nifty.

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