Clay Chat #3 28 November
Some members of the CAQ board presented an informal Q&A session at the Butter Factory Arts Centre on the closing day of the Siliceous Award for Ceramic Excellence. This was attended by a few local pottery enthusiasts who had some great pottery questions for the board as well as some questions that were emailed in beforehand.
Q: What suggestions do you have for packaging ceramics?
- Ideally, suspend the pieces within the box
- Create a firm bubble of packaging (be it bubble wrap, paper, corrugated paper etc) around the piece so it is not in contact with the box
- Consider insuring the piece to ship it
- If you can’t drop kick the box – repack it!
Q: Are there glazes to use that will not leave cutlery marks?
- It is in fact the metal from the cutlery leaving the marks not the glaze being scratched
- You can use something like Jiff to remove the marks
- Using a dense clay and a smooth glaze will reduce the amount of cutlery marks
- Having a good clay/glaze fit is beneficial
- Liquid Quartz product may reduce marking as it fills the spaces with nano particles
Q: What advice do you have to reduce your environmental footprint?
- There are many small ways you can reduce your impact on the environment such as: recycling your clay, water, clay bags
- Only fire your kiln when it’s full
- Research your options, there are many potters who have written work on this topic such as Steve Harrison and Dr Wendy Gers and you can do a search on the Facebook Australian Ceramics Forum Group, Ayumi Horie is a US potter who throws without water
- research carbon offsets
- If you have the option, use solar power to fire your kiln
- Consider installing a clay trap for your studio sink
- Consider firing to mid fire temperatures instead of high fire to reduce the consumption of gas or electricity
Q: How can you change the colour of your clay?
- Add oxides
- Add body stains
- Add dark clay to white clay
These suggestions were offered with many other considerations:
- Some oxides act as a flux and will alter both the colour and the maturing temperature of the clay
- To obtain a black clay body often requires more than one oxide (like manganese, iron, cobalt)
- Up to 25% earthenware can be added to stoneware and taken to SW temperatures
- Body stains do not act as fluxes as they contain fritted materials and are neutral
- All of these suggestions need to be thoroughly tested and recorded to ensure consistency
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