Well folks, its been slow going on the pottery front. I had my one session of throwing, then a session of trimming and a few “quickies” making some hand-built small plates (stamped with Taino petroglyph stamps I made back in the UK:  Thanks again Margaret for firing them!)   for glaze testings.  But, with time-critical chores such as exterior walls patch-up, priming and painting taking precedence, sadly, there has not been much fun time in the studio for me.
First session work

Belly mugs and plates with Taino petroglyph stamps 
bowls and cups

Bowls and cups

This morning, with the painting finally behind us, Nick went off to play tennis and I happily went into the studio for 4 lovely hours.  In addition to getting back into the groove of throwing, I am in the process of testing clays. Today I had my second throwing session with Axner’s version of Laguna’s Cone 5/6 B-Mix. I wedged myself a bunch of 1lb lumps and sat down for a concentrated cup/mug throwing session. I’m really liking this clay body so far. I need to throw a few larger bowls to see how that goes, but the little things are throwing nicely. Its a very smooth clay body with a good amount of flexibility. And, it ships in flat rate boxes… 😉 I also have Standard’s new white body, 240 and will be testing that next. The key thing in addition to “throwability” is the fit between the clay bodies and the glazes I will be mixing up. So the key is test test test.

Cups and cups

With the knowledge that many of the items I’m now making will be sacrificial test items with unforseen results, I’m opting to make fairly simple pieces. The emphasis is on form (and some decoration to see how the glaze picks up texture) but not too much detail work and/or trimming. I couldn’t resist and did make a couple of my fat-belly mugs. And, I had to try out my new letter stamps to create a “Dame cafe!” (give me coffee!) mug (handle to come maybe, I’m on the fence on that one).  

dame cafe

I’m curious to hear from other potters out there how they approached the glaze testing stage when they first set up a studio.  Obviously, test tiles have their place and I will be making some.  I just can’t imagine filling a whole kiln with test tiles though…   In the past, I’ve always worked in studios with “studio glazes” and “studio clays”.  Mixing up a glaze to test was an experiment for sure, but there were always lots of tested glazes to fall back on.   It wasn’t a problem to hold back on using a new glaze on a piece until a trusty test-tile came out of a glaze fire.  Now, its all new, its all an experiment.  That first glaze firing is going to be both exciting and REALLY scary!  🙂