Sunday, 10 July 2011

Still trying to catch up.

Four events almost back to back have left the stocks a little depleted. I need to fire up the kiln before Art in Clay at Hatfield, so that means I need to make enough work to fill the kiln.
Also mix new glaze, which also means washing wood ash and take advantage of the recent sun to dry it out.

I was never much good at chemistry at school, my glazes are very simple. I use Bernard Leach's basic 4 4 2 formula. (not a starting line up for England's football team !) But wood ash, feldspar and china clay. The ash varies, friends save it from their wood burners and stoves and bags of it lie around waiting to be washed and sieved. It gets labelled, there is Bob's Blue, nothing to do with the colour. It just happens to come from Bob at the Blue Lion. He said it was quality hard wood, but there were lots of screws, nails and MDF fittings mixed in. Mmmm should be interesting.
Then there is Sue's sludge from Sue Mulroy's wood kiln and Shirley's Sycamore, logs from the tree in her garden, which makes a very beautiful pale blue glaze. JT is John Turners hard wood ash, which he saves every winter and next winter we will burn Eucalyptus from Patricks dead tree, which died after the severe cold last winter. Need to think of a name for that. Last firing we used Wussy Willow, a pale insipid green, but good over dark clay. I don't keep meticulous records like Katherine Pleydell-Bouverie, the ash varies too much and I only mix small batches each time. It's more interesting that way and some times the slops from several batches make interesting results. Occasionally the results are a complete surprise and can't be repeated. Like the dark brown that goes grey when applied thickly. It must have been because the wood was full of rusty nails.
Jayne's ash produced a blue with brown speckles. It must have been all the sweety wrappers that were burnt and mixed with the ash.
Here is a picture of Laura's garden. It has looked lovely for the last few months. It's a kind of semi controlled, wild self set style, but today the sound of bees and the many butterflies flitting about made it a real pleasure just to stand and enjoy. It's aromatic too, walk through it and the scent of Marjoram, Sage and Thyme is quite heady.

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