Phil Hamling

376 County Route 1

Warwick, NY, USA 10990

e-mail: (change the -at- to @)

Zinc Silicate Crystalline Glaze Pottery

A chronicle of my recent progress and a way for me to keep it straight in my head!

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Info I've been asked to keep in confidence.

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Crystalline Glaze Info

Friends' Work


May 26, 2009     102nd Firing Results

I tried a new firing schedule this time on these refires. It gave some curious shapes. I'm looking forward to trying it on some new pieces. The chunky glaze on The Wizard's piece just plain old totally over nucleated, is screaming "Uncle" and is on it's way to the "Oops Shelf".



3 & 4

1) It probably doesn't matter how thick and clunky your pots are. If you drop them from 2 ft. onto concrete pavers they will break. 2) Cherry butcher block workbench in and looking for the finishing touches. 3 & 4) Bella wants to know if Burton is up for some hoops.

May 25, 2009       Memorial Day

Once again I'm torn between spending my time making crystalline glazed beauty, gardening, woodworking, banging out a little something at work and doing time in the hammock. No matter what I get to today I know I'll spend a bunch of time thinking about the men and women who served in the Armed Forces protecting the good old USA and creating this "dilemma" for me.

102nd Firing Setup......Loaded yesterday......3 out of 4 are refires.......with some real chunky zinc oxide on one piece........and some whacky firing schedule I pulled out of my backside.

May 17, 2009


May 16, 2009 Great new work by Rod & Denyse Simair

May 10, 2009


May 10, 2009 Kiln Brick

May 8, 2009 Political Humor from the Right

May 5, 2009 101st Firing Results (1 disaster sticking to 2 other pieces).

Post Fire Reduction

Before After

The pot on the right is an over nucleated refire of a 1% CuCO3, 1/4% CoCO3 piece with clear glaze on top. I figured what the heck I can always re-glaze it if I don't like it. In mild reduction the cobalt seemed to disappear and the green copper showed up. There is only a blush of red on the piece but quite a bit on the catcher. It's not what I had in my minds eye, but still is somewhat interesting.

May 3, 2009 101st Firing Setup


I mixed up a new batch of clear glaze and added a coat over some already fired pieces as well as some bisque. It seems to me I have been putting the glaze on too thin. It's just been very watery. I checked the thickness on some pieces I glazed before and the coat was very thin. Today I mixed it up with only 40% water as opposed to the 65 - 70% I had been using before calcining my zinc and getting poor results. It actually handled much like the glaze I had been used to. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and trying a new firing schedule.

I backed into my reduction kiln with the golf cart, really messing up the gasketing and patch work I had in place to seal it. (Don't you hate when you do that?) I noticed some carbon arcing was starting to happen again through some of the 2300 brick, especially near the element terminals and where the sections join.

I took the opportunity to install new, thicker Superwool paper gaskets between the sections and seal up a few cracks and chunks of missing brick.

April 30, 2009 The many faces of George Garcia

George just showed up as a contributor to the Crystalline Glaze Forum. A resident of Providence, RI he is a former Corrections Officer, father of 5 and current psychology student (at 40!?). After speaking with him on the phone, learning about his inquisitive nature and seeing some of his non-crystalline work I think he'll be up to speed in no time.

April 27, 2009 100th Firing Results


These results are nothing to crow about. I'll probably end up re-firing most of them. Mother nature did much better with the colors than me. Here's Patti and me almost 23 years ago..

April 26, 2009  

100th Firing Setup

I finally got back to glazing. It's been 28 days since realized I muffed the glazes  for this firing.

It was nice working inside with the A/C on today. It hit 95F outside. On April 26? 95????

Today's firing consists of clear base (no titania) with various mixtures of copper carbonate, cobalt carbonate, silver, nickel oxide and 4 varieties of uranium oxide - 2 black, 1 yellow  and one orange (which sure looks yellow to me).

2 old packages of uranium oxide from the L. H. Butcher Company, 2034 Bay St., Los Angeles, CA "Chemicals For All Purposes".

April 25, 2009     

Bella.......Does the bear sh*t in the woods? No, he craps wherever he wants to . Even in the fairway (after trashing the bird feeder).

April 18, 2009

Kat just got back from a spring break trip to Peru with some of her classmates. She's turning out to be quite the photographer with an eye that catches my eye. She took some great shots around Machu Picchu even remembered her old man when it came to the subject of Inca pottery (What is that anyway? A pipe?). This page has some of her other photos.

Today was Thatch Day (or de-thatch day). It was gorgeous all day.

Vanadium Glaze by Steve Boehme

Green Dragon by Avril Farley

David Turner working on the cherry butcher block workbench top.

April 17, 2009      More beauties from the Pottery Boys (Glenn Woods and Keith Herbrand).

April 15, 2009     Recently acquired work from Ferenc Halmos.

I can see I have a long way to go to even get in the same league with Feri. His glazes are amazing and the pots are feather light.

These pieces look a lot better trimmed. They still weigh a ton though! I could have pushed the bottle out more. I guess that's something to shoot for the next time.

This Tom was "Living the Dream" in his rafter when I spotted him on my way home from work today.

April 12, 2009      Happy Easter Mr. Wizard!

I finally got to spend some time throwing. I tried to make larger pieces and succeeded in making these, two of the biggest ones I've made to date.

I learned a bunch from the exercise, especially how poor I am at throwing. I guess maybe inexperienced is more like it. I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about what the next move should be. It would be nice if it came naturally


Daffodils, Grape Hyacinths and Bleeding Hearts blasting off!

April 1, 2009

Gordon Czop has been working on a new silicon carbide heated kiln in between those those hard days and nights working on this multiple hearth furnace system used for ore roasting in Alberta, Canada.

    April Fools!?


From Ian Childers, the Pottery Gangsta!.......Forum Post........My White Background w/ Black Crystal How to Guide  I think that is cruel and unusual punishment! I caught several people trying to make an April Fool out of me, but the Gangsta is the only one who got me.

Terry, I think Ian was talking about the one on the left.

Phil, Went to get some of my work photographed for an exhibition, I had several close ups done, see one attached. I know you like green!
best Avril           PS It is on a platter that has been twice fired then struck at 750C

Bella thinking about Burton?

One of Avril Farley's latest

Bill Schran's John Britt's Goldstone

Phil,  Been playing with John Britt's Goldstone glaze, seeing if I can make it work at ^6 the same as at ^10. I can get aventurine effects very easily with original recipe, but the more fluxed version is requiring more testing. I've attached an image of one of my latest tests. Seems like a horizontal surface and the additional fluxing action of a zinc crystal glaze is showing some promise.  Bill

March 29, 2009     


100th Firing Setup

Bummer. Oops. I mixed several glazes, glazed a load of pieces and when recording ID's in my notebook realized I had made a major calculation error. I cleaned all the glaze off and will have to start again when the pieces dry.

March 24, 2009

Before and After

Same pot from 2 different sides


First mow job of the year today!


I've gotta' get organized!

March 24, 2009 Holly, Swap? Delete? Change?.....How about ADD!

Hey Phil!  How about swapping out that old photo of mine on the  page, with the one of the attached.  Much more exciting, new work J

Lovin the new yellow/red stuff you’re putting out.


March 23, 2009

The counter on my journal hit 33333 today. I started it 799 days ago.

That works out to almost 42 visitors (including me) per day on average. Unbelievable!

I doesn't seem like it's been that long. I still have so many un-answered questions, and I'm sure so many un-asked questions as well.

March 22, 2009



March 21, 2009

I have an aventurine firing going in the kiln where I lowered the peak temperature to 1210C. Here I'm using it as a drier for some alumina fiber based saggars which I'm trying to develop a coating to harden and seal the surfaces. These CNC machined parts are designed to hold  powder metal components for sintering at ~1500C in hydrogen. I've never experienced anything like the way these nanometer sized alumina powders dry my skin.

March 18, 2009  

Dr. Phil, Patti said to tell you these are RAD, not RED!

March 16, 2009     99th Firing Results

From Previous Firings

March15, 2009

The first signs of spring

Some crocuses are up in the sunniest spots.

The snowdrops have multiplied this year.

Daffodils pushing up through last fall's mulch.

Did a groundhog do this? No, just Bella diggin' like a dog.

March 14, 2009     99th Firing Setup

March 11, 2009

March 8, 2009

March 7, 2009 Test Firing


Click here for photos from

Double Dare Workshop

Feb 27 - Mar 2, 2009

Ginny Conrow and John Tilton

Dunedin Fine Art Center, Dunedin Florida.

February 26, 2009 The girls didn't seem to mind a week on the beach in Florida while I attended the workshop.

February 23, 2009

~1% rutile + .7% red copper oxide + .05% cobalt carbonate

Refire with clear base glaze.

Andy Boswell's Current Grouping

February 22, 2009     98th Firing Results

I think I made a big booboo mixing these glazes but I did get the color distribution I saw in my minds eye on the tall piece.

Test Firing

February 21, 2009     98th Firing Setup


I ran this reduction firing with a new 1/4" RCF paper gasket in place under the lid.

February 19, 2009     97th Firing Results

February 18, 2009    97th Firing Setup


96th Firing Results

February 16, 2009    

 96th Firing Setup

More "Rough" Reduction

February 15, 2009


February 14, 2009   Humidity Test Results: The addition of water to the kiln while it was firing had a dramatic effect on crystal nucleation and growth. I added water at a rate of ~ 1 drop / sec. which added ~2 IV bags worth over the course of the firing, beginning when the temperature dropped to 1100C from peak, continuing to ~700C on the way down. The piece came out over nucleated on the shoulders, with a very sandpaper like feel, and many small, dense crystals on the sides.

The feed tube end cracked off with a sputtering noise near the start of the test.

The control piece is on the left, humidity test piece on the right.

Humidification produced some very "tight" crystals on the sides.

Kat getting funky while setting up the jewelry work bench.

95th Firing Setup: There is a test tile in here with 10% UO2 + .36% green nickel oxide in a line blend between 0% and 4% titania.

Avril, I guess I will always be a "Peeker". At ~730C the uranium oxide glaze appears orange and the rutile looks yellow.

I used a mortar and pestle to get the chunks out of the UO2 before mixing.

February 13, 2009   Second Half of Humidity Test Firing in Doll Kiln

This is an identical piece to that fired on 2-8-09. Same piece, same clay, same glaze, same glaze loading. I have it firing now with everything the same except for the installation of the IV bag and drip tube the Wizard was kind enough to send. The plan is to drip water in to create humidity during the crystal growth portion of the firing. Last night I found that 1 drop per ~5 sec. supplied about 100ml per hour. I will speed this up to get ~2 liters in over the course of the 5 hour growth cycle. I have all my fingers and toes crossed that I won't mess up my kiln.

 February 12, 2009   94th Firing Results

This firing gave some interesting results. The overcoat of clear glaze and simplified firing schedule seemed to "cut" the over nucleated mess from the first firing. The piece in my hand is unlike any I've made before. I think I will use some less torturous firing schedules* like this one in the future. I am sure it* , and it's very fast, low temperature segments is responsible for the over nucleation of some of these glazes.

February 11, 2009   94th Firing Setup

I took the 3 dogs from the last firing and applied a layer of clear base glaze. I'm hoping it will cut the glaze which is on there and give less tendency to over nucleate. I'm also firing with a simple schedule consisting of a 1/2 hour cool from top temperature to 1100C and then a 5 hour ramp down to 1000C. With 4% CMC whipped into it with the blender it spreads just like cake frosting.

February 10, 2009     93rd Firing Results

What a mixed bag! My first reaction was negative. I think because there was really nothing that knocked my socks off. In cases like this I go back to something Denis Caraty wrote which helps me deal with it. He wrote "For me there is never bad test. Every result of test is a starting point towards a new direction. And with crystalline glazes, the experience shows that all the directions can be interesting. When a test shows a phenomenon which I do not still know, I pursue my researches around this phenomenon to find the best effects there." Also, paraphrasing, John Mankameyer told me that all his firings are a series of tests. There are some tests you want to duplicate and others you don't care to repeat. Reflecting like this helps me keep a positive spin on things.

There are some pieces which are totally over nucleated and others which are not. My guess is that the torturous firing schedule had a lot to do with it, especially in the case of the cobalt / manganese colored glaze, which I've fired many times before. The uranium containing pieces were a total bomb, which I discuss below.

Test of glaze thickness on inclusion stained test tiles. All over nucleated.

Line blend of uranium oxide,  nickel oxide (green) and  cobalt carbonate without rutile (left) and 8% rutile (right).

Loadings ranging from .4 to 1.4 g/ of co / mn colored glaze didn't seem to produce differences.

The 10% uranium oxide containing line blend probably was the most disappointing of the lot. I did notice that:

-The tile in the center, which contained ingredients closest to the glaze in my 91st Firing, looked nothing like the previous attempt in that it was over nucleated. Is this due to the firing schedule alone?

-.5% nickel oxide (green) and 8% rutile (right) still make bile, even with 10% uranium oxide.

-Even the tiles with the least rutile (left) don't have yellow backgrounds, probably because blue (,25% cobalt carbonate) and yellow make green!

I plan to redo this line blend with the original formula from the 91st Firing (except 10% UO2) on the right and no titania on the left.

Test Firing Results

The control piece (left) for the upcoming humidity effect test seemed to come out OK and much like the results I saw Russell White had.

Test Firing.....93rd Firing

February 8, 2009     93rd Firing Setup

The last time I fired was 2 days after Christmas, 43 days ago! I think that's the longest dry spell in 2 years. Now I have quite a few loads of bisque mounted on catchers and seeded, ready for glazing and firing and am looking forward to tackling my "what about this?" list.

The large Andy Boswell piece is glazed with 8% titania base + 2% manganese dioxide + 1/2% cobalt carbonate

One strip of test tiles was prepared to try and get a better handle on glaze variation due to thickness. Tiles were glazed with 5 different glaze loadings of 8% titania base + 2% manganese dioxide + 1/2% cobalt carbonate, The loadings were determined by tracking the weight addition after each glaze layer was applied to each tile,  the solids content of the glaze and the area of the tile. The measurements were:

Position 1* 2* 3 4 5
Loading (g/ .8 .4 1.1 1.3 1.4
Thickness (in.) .030 .012 .032 .038 .042

* These should be reversed.

Another strip of test tiles was prepared to try and understand how titania effects a uranium oxide colored glaze. I mixed a line blend of equal amounts of clear base glaze with 10% uranium oxide, .5% nickel oxide (green) and .25% cobalt carbonate added and then another using an 8% rutile base with the same additions. The rutile contents are:

Position 1 2 3 4 5
Rutile (%) 0 2 4 6 8

I mixed the leftovers together and glazed one of the pieces with it.

Today's firing schedule is patterned after one from 9-22-08 which gave some nice rings. I added a slow decent from 1120C to try and get a dark interior on this firing, and shortened the time to ~ 6 hours in the growth range to try and get more background.

Firing of September 22, 2008

Humidity Test Firing in Doll Kiln

Russell White thinks humidity swings may account for the dramatic differences he sees between the same glaze fired in high and low humidity conditions.  To check it out I glazed several small vases with the same amount of glaze (~.85 g/ and have one in this firing using a modification of Russell's schedule. I'll repeat the firing with an identically loaded piece while dripping water from the IV bag the Wizard sent. I've seen the kind of differences Russell showed and thought it could be due to glaze thickness variation from one glazing / firing session to the next.

February 7, 2009

It warmed up to about 50F for most of the day. The snow is going away quick. I'm sure there's still plenty more to come yet this winter.

 I just about got all the bisqued pieces in the studio mounted on glaze catchers and seeded but Kat had her accident.

Katerina stepped on the lens of her school camera (50mm SLR) by accident and sliced and diced the underside of one of her toes. This sent us to the emergency room for stitches for the rest of the night.

February 4, 2009   Still not glazing......just having too much fun in the mud!

January 31, 2009    More on calcined zinc oxide (or is it moron calcined zinc?)

William wrote: "Phil, Phil, Phil. You are forgetting the basics." in response to my post question "But really, why do we bother with this (calcination)?" Man did he hit the nail on the head! I covered this ground 11-5-07 and I guess totally forgot. Good thing I have a day job hey grasshopper!

Anyway, I went through the exercise again and determined the newly calcined  Zoco 103 came out at ~1.5 g/cc, the 30 year old archival stuff  from Alfred measured ~1.7 g/cc (it looks a lot like Denzox). I estimate Denzox Maximo 730 (where do they come up with these names?) to be ~1.9 g/cc. The Zoco 103 shrank so much in the ^07 bisque it looks like it started at ~0.4 g/cc!

Man what a waste of time! I guess if I get it pounded into my head so it's automatic it may turn out to be time well spent. But for now, with so many other things I want to get to, the exercise hurts. I mean I even made a list of things to do (glaze) and didn't get to any of it. Gotta remember "calcined zinc, calcined zinc, calcined zinc". There is good in it though. At least I'll use this Zoco 103 up and not have to return it to the earth as a powder.

One of those other things to do was use the Coleman porcelain Russell White sent. I sent him some Highwater Helios and wonder how he made out. They handle so differently. Avi had sent me some ~1 yr. ago (or more?) and I liked the way it felt. So I set out to use it and make some bisque to take to John and Ginny's workshop.

I got these 7 pots out of the 25# bag of clay. It threw real nice but I spent way too long at it. I guess maybe my expectations are too high since I've seen the Wizard throw. I seem to have difficulty getting the lump truly centered. No matter the size, no matter how many times I pull the lump up and push it down I still seem to have an un-centered, or un-aligned lump in the middle. You can see these untrimmed pieced, which have been ribbed smooth on the inside, have "uneven lumps" (for lack of a better descriptor) which I'll trim.

January 30, 2009   Calcined Zinc Oxide........getting ready to start mixing glaze.

~20 lb. of calcined Zoco 103 zinc oxide in a quartz (actually fused silica) tray. After the ^07 "Slow Bisque" cycle it shrank a whole bunch, maybe 50 volume %.

There is a curious blue green color inside the cracked cake which I'm sure is due to a "how pore size and shape affects light" thing.


Remember you said you calcined some to a brick and I mentioned the previous stuff I did at ^05 was a bit too crunchy? Well this batch seems to be just right. It shrank like mad but is easily crushed by hand.

But really, why do we bother with this? To make the powder denser and use less water in the glaze? To make the glaze more fluid?...shrink less? Come to think of it I never did it 30 years ago in college. Why now?

I'm sure the Wizard doesn't waste his time with this though. I'll bet all he does to deal with the real fluffy stuff is throw some of that hydrated magnesium aluminum silicate mineral Veegum CER in, then wave his magic wand at it, and all is good.


"Getting ready to glaze after the day job"

PS Veegum CER     SPECS   MSDS   LITERATURE   1  2  3

January 28, 2009   Work, work, work and more work.

January 24, 2009  

It was nice to finally have the time to set all these pieces up on glaze catchers. I'm going to glaze the insides of the big ones before gluing the catchers on (it's just less weight to handle that way). I still have to make some more catchers for smaller pieces but pretty soon I'll be a glazing fool.

 It may be time to start thinking about offering some of this stuff for sale. We need more shelves. Fortunately some of the work from last year doesn't seem so precious anymore, but I dread the thought of having to deal with the town government to get permission to sell them out the studio.

Wizardly crystals shining in the early morning, sun low in the sky, coming in the kitchen, through 10F outside air, light.

" Neighbors Trimming Trees"

This is one of the reasons I keep my camera with me at all times.

January 20, 2009   I know I should be glazing but just had to get this out of my head.

Patti calls it "The White House". I wonder what it will look like with crystals on it and hope it holds up to the heat.

January 16, 2009

Double Dare Workshop - Ginny Conrow and John Tilton

Go to my workshops page

I finally put up a page on the upcoming workshop. It will be nice to see a bunch of my crystalline glaze buddies again in the warm Florida sun (including ).

I'd really like to finish this gizmo and glaze a bunch of stuff this weekend but Phil is going away to college in Vermont and I think I'll be playing family driver.


I pressed the zincite seed in the clay at a lower position on these test strips.

Russell's post on humidity and crystal growth got me thinking about doing test firings with and without humidity using this bubbler.

Mr Harriman sent an Avinator burner but it arrived in 2 pieces.

January 11, 2009

Stay tuned on this one! I had planned on glazing but this new gizmo got a hold of me.

Test soldiers

Good thing this is on wheels because motor oil is very smelly stuff. I'm going to have to get serious about a Fallonizing Avinator (or is that Avinating Fallonator?) if I plan to do much more of this.

Regarding photos in kiln........Left: Before....... Middle: I turned it back on at ~1000F after the 1 bomb I dropped at 1500F with power off did something but not too much......... Right: This is after I dropped another bomb at 1200F with the power on, spaced out (I was looking for 1550F) and let it get to 1620F before I got to shut it off and drop the last bomb.

January 4, 2009

I fried the elements in the old L&L I was used (twice) for reduction (operator error) and had to replace them. It suffered some damage to the brick due to electrical arcing and melting. All the element through holes were like little chimneys too. I cleaned out all the gunk, replaced the coils and packed the voids with a  moldable insulation which should give good service.

Bigger glaze catchers

Test Soldiers

Funfetti cake anyone?

December 31, 2008     Crystalline Glaze Forum Update

In the words of the Moderator, William Melstrom "The old Crystalline Glaze Forum seems to have spontaneously blown up. .....A new, improved Forum is being built here:"

Needless to say this is a major bummer. All that info lost?????? Avi Harriman claims to have copied the old Forum (as a text file) around the time the Wizard called role and will attempt to extract the information from this 100 Meg text monster.

I know this has nothing to do with crystalline glazes but it has taken my time away from it! I finally got these rough cut boards stacked to dry flat. Some of them they cupped and bowed as much as 1" along their length in just 1 day of sitting out in the air inside. By the time I've burned through all the firewood this winter it will be time to rotate and restack the boards.

 December 30, 2008     More "Off Topic" stuff

This Yellow Brick Road runs all through the factory now.

I just picked up about 150 board feet of rough sawn curly maple. About half of it is spalted. Its going to make a great looking dining room table in a few years after it has dried out.

December 27, 2008     No lacey crystals here! Something totally malfunctioned, either me or the machine.

This program should have been over in less than 18 hours but at that point it was still in the middle of the ramps. First I noticed during the third up ramp, where it should have gone up full blast at 5555C / hr, it was only heating 1C per minute then that this was due to the fact that only the bottom elements were firing. While scratching my head trying to figure out if my top circuit was fried or if the computer goes brain dead when programmed at this rate the top element mysteriously kicked in. It seemed to repeat this for the last 2 heat cool segments, but on the last kept firing without the top bank of elements. Finally I killed it about 24 hours after starting. I've got to figure out what the deal is! Is it me, the programmer, the switches or what.

December 26, 2008    

92nd Firing Setup

I'm trying to get lacey crystals using a cycle with repetitive down ramps (per Feri). There are 2 re-fires with a good coating of clear base with an extra 4% CMC blended in to make a thick paste, and 2 red inclusion stained pieces with 1/2% green nickel oxide.

December 21, 2008    

I keep looking at these 2 yellow pieces and puzzle over the greenish crystals. They have 7 1/2% you oh two, 1/3% green nickel oxide and 4% titania. Is it the case that blue + yellow = green or that I'm right on the edge of the nickel + titania = bile?

December 19, 2008

Thoughts on firing cycle used on 12-14-08

Friday, December 19, 2008 5:42 PM
Hi Phil. I think you made actually a firing with 3 ramps. The 1000C grad  is shown with a red line in your crystals. The 3rd ramp with the last 1000C ramp gave a only a slightly visible red line. Feri (Halmos)

Feri, You are right! The center part of the seeded crystal was caused by the ramp down to 1000C (the "red line" as you say). Then the crystal lightens as it goes back up to the 1125C hold in steps of 25C. Then the ramp back down to 1000C produces another ring before the red line again and the pattern repeats right before the last ramp back down to 100C and the slightly visible red line. Phil


No barbeque tonight. We got ~8" of real fluffy crystals. How about you?

December 17, 2008

I logged the firing cycle used on 12-14-08 on my "Firing Schedules" page. Although I kinda see it I am having real difficulty correlating the bands in the crystal to the ramps and soaks in the program. Anybody got any ideas?

There's a mandrel like this (which I'll use in a BIG DOG) in each model to grip it in the lathe chuck.

Phil (The Ham) left from Newark Airport on his first solo passenger flight. Patti was all weepy, Kat.....not so much!

We cruised by the Poloniak's on Spanktown Rd. on the way home. This is about 1/3 of their display.

December 15, 2008      91st Firing Results

The 2 most yellow ones contain 7 1/2% uranium oxide (a.k.a. urania or uranic oxide)) + 1/3% green nickel oxide + 4% titania.

December 14, 2008

Motor Oil Reduction

91st Firing Setup

December 13, 2008

New work from John Mankameyer

Gordon Czop stopped by today with some recent work which I think looks great. Here's an example of a glaze that does some pretty nice stuff when applied thin.


Finally got to finish roughing the models of the Christmas tree ornaments I've been turning on a WW II vintage engine lathe. I'll make some adjustable boxes and when the mold soap and modeling clay arrives make the slip casting molds themselves. Maybe I'll have something to show by next Christmas!

December 10, 2008

Turning Ornament Models Glenn Woods' F644 Start

December 6, 2008   Crushing and Sieving Hoppa's Zincite

After getting the set of test sieves (with sizes ranging from 12 to 50 mesh) I went at it and found the material right out of the pickle jar to be extremely hard, and had a tendency to cleave into slivers, as opposed to small chunks, when attacked with a mortar and pestle.

I eventually found that if I thermally shocked the material it broke into small regular shaped chunks and crushed much more easily. The first method I tried involved heating a sample in a crucible with a torch until cherry red and then pouring it into a container of water while still glowing. Then I dried the material in a microwave oven before the mortar and pestle. Then I found that if I left it in the microwave past dry the particles electrically discharged between themselves further fracturing them. I wouldn't recommend doing this at home (my attorney made me say that) but it seemed to be the quickest and most productive method and eventually I poured material right out of the pickle jar onto the microwave tray and blasted away.

I ended up with 5 cuts which look like they may of interest. They are -12/+16, -16/+20, -20/+30, -30/+40 and -40/+50 mesh. (The numbers stand for "through 12 mesh and on 16 mesh, etc.) The first 2 cuts seem a little coarse for my liking, but if you use the "stick the seed into leather hard clay right after trimming method", which Fara Shimbo showed us at Wesleyan Potters 2 summers ago, they may be of interest. The last cut seems a little fine to me, but if you subscribe to the Terry Fallon "pick microscopic seed you can barely see" method it may be OK. -20/+30 and -30/+40 seem to be in the range of what I've used before.

December 2, 2008   90th Firing Results


I got a box from a friend today. It had a red and black skull painted on the outside and a lead lined pouch with a plastic container with yellow powder on the inside.

He must have seen the hoppa's box and figured he'd tattoo the heck out of this one.

I can't wait to dig in, with all kinds of protection on, and see what I can do with it.

December 1, 2008

89th Firing Results 90th Firing Setup

November 30, 2008     89th Firing Results: A real mixed bag!

The last day of November brrrought us a dusting of sleet / snow.

89th Firing Setup

November 29, 2008

Yo Avi! (again). How's your collection of autographed Crystalline Spectrum posters looking? (Sorry for the lousy photo.)

I know you can fit my Art Education on the head of a pin (and still have room left over) and there are probably better words to use, but when I put these up this weekend and took a step back I thought I had an epiphany. Having met and spent a little time with Ginny, The Wizard and John I think I've gotten a little feel for their personalities. It struck me that the shapes of their pieces parallel their personalities to a T. Ginny's got those good looking no-nonsense curves, the Wizard is a upright "In Your Face" type A kinda guy and John is a well grounded solid base type individual.

LEADFEST 2008..... at my brother David's house. Imagine the thunder of 20 guys shooting clay pidgeons and targets all afternoon.

89th Firing Result Sneak Preview

November 28, 2008       

89th Firing Setup: Even though my last firing was a little over a month ago, it seems like a year. I finally got to spend some meaningful time in the studio today and have a load firing now. I prepared quite a few different test tiles and pots which hopefully will give me a clear look at: a) the effect of application thickness of a clear glaze (1 through 5 coats), b) the effect of copper carbonate level (1 to 8%) in it with 2% titania and .05% cobalt carbonate additions, c) the effects of using combinations of a 6% copper carbonate, 2% titania and .05% cobalt carbonate glaze under a clear glaze, 4) the effects of titania and Zircopax slip washes, 5) some duplicate pots to use to look at them after simple post fire reduction and 6) some refires. Once I got going I was amazed at the number of things I've wanted to take a look at - and really only touched the surface. I hope to keep it up today.

Kat picked through hoppa's zincite and selected some of the nicer crystals to use in making some jewelry in her high school class. I think these would look real interesting set in rings or bracelets. All I have to do now is order up some silver.


I finally got to use some of the paper clay Avi sent. I hope it is the miracle crack filling material it's billed to be. It looks pretty clear that all the slip coating and ribbing I did really didn't overcome the clay alignment and shrinkage in the extrusions used to make these bowls.

Two of my favorites!

I recently signed up for the John Tilton / Ginny Conrow  Crystalline Glaze Workshop: Double Dare  at the Fine Arts Center in Dunedin, FL this spring. I figure if just a little of their aesthetic sense rubs off on me it will be time and $ well spent.

November 20, 2008                 The Grasshopper Comes Through!

Today I got a care package from the hoppa containing another jar of those magnificent Milwaukee's Midget Dill Pickles (my family devoured the jar he gave me in Alexandria) and another jar full of zincite. I've got enough zincite to seed the entire back 40 now.

November 20, 2008 I still haven't been able to spend any significant time in the studio. I have my fingers crossed for this weekend. All this talk by the Wizard about cold weather and cutting firewood for the winter prompted me to put these photos up.

November 13, 2008

These were built from extrusions. It probably would have been much faster to throw and carve them, but you have to consider the "fun factor" and the therapeutic value of time spent. It's one of the benefits of being a hobbyist.

Yo Avi! You got a Peter Ilsley sitting next to your Avril Farley and David Snair?


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Recently I had the good fortune of importing many very interesting crystalline glazed pieces from Beijing, China.

The source of all my good fortune---my day (and night, 24 - 7) job. ZIRCAR Ceramics, Inc.
One of my other passions - landscaping, gardening, greens keeping, etc..