Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cone 6 Glaze Firings

After switched from cone 9/10 reduction firing to cone 6 oxidation firing, I have spent a great deal of times to deal with glaze problems. Mostly, pin holes. Even though I am also a ceramic engineer, I don't have much experiences with cone 6 glazes. Moreover, I have no clue what exactly those clay manufacturers added in their clays.

For the most recent firing, I drilled 2 of 1/4" holes on kiln lid, reset thermocouple reading 25 degree lower than actual temperature in the kiln (Cone Offset), used preset Slow Glaze Firing program, then, held 25 minutes in the end of firing. The pin holes were mostly gone.

Cone offset 25 degree for my kiln is actually about cone 7. Wow, without cone offset, it must be............................. No wonder so many pin holes.

Thermocouple reads actual temperature in the kiln. However, glaze doesn't react to temperature alone. It reacts to both time and temperature during the firing. How can I forget all about this!!??

on the left: cone offset 10 degree; around cone 8
on the right: cone offset 25 degree; around cone 7
before cone offset: many pin holes, especialy on the back

after cone offset 25 degree: 99.9% of pin holes are gone

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Daddy's Little Helper

Just another trimming routing. My daughter, Grace, wanted to keep me company. After having Grace, I started to understand what "daddy's girl" means.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Floating Dream

I just found out that one of my submissions to 2010 potter's council calender got selected. It's a ceramics pillow called "Floating Dream."
I am quite missing those days when I could spent times to create sculptural works. It helped me to develop critical thinking skills. Now, it helps me to create pots that's more meaningful to me.

Floating Dream

Sunday, November 1, 2009

New Plates

The new plates just came out of kiln yesterday. They turned out nicely. However, they were still slightly overfired.....too shinny. I replaced kiln elements from 240V to 208V about 3 weeks ago. They need to be re-calibrated by doing cone off set for correct firing result. Why it's never being easy to be a potter?!
I like this new process and the way it turns out. Now what? I am the new guy on the block, I need to look for places to sell my works now :)

Sunday, October 25, 2009


It's funny that Tracy was talking about rainning acorns on her blog few days ago while I had hard time to find an oak tree to study how its leavies grow. I finally forced myself to park my car on a busy road next to a big oak tree and then took out an utility knife cutting off a small branch. And finally, I can work on my plates that awaited me for 3 weeks.

I used to wonder why Tz'u-Chou potter of Chinese Sung dynasty (960-1279 AD) would painstakinly apply white/ black slips on their pieces and then carvced the slip off to create images. Why don't they just paint with color slip?
After working with my new plates, I understood why........:) They treated clay as clay. They found a proper process for the material they use. What an enlightenment!!

cutting paper templates for drawing
carved off white slip to create outline

carved off white slip around the outline

after broke 2 pieces just right after finished carving, I decided to call it a day. BUT, I am still very happy with what I figured out!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Back to Business

My wireless router kept getting problems in the past week. I decided to get a new one. Now, I am back to business again!!
Over the weekend, I rearranged my picture folders and found this image. It was taken from Lane Tech High School in Chicago when I visited there for doing a workshop.
Lane Tech is an "AMAZING" high school I've ever visited in the U.S. It has over 4,000 students with an open campus. It also has wonderful art collections. If you ever travel to Chicago, you should call the school to arrange a visit. Here's the school web site:
Lane Tech has 66 significant murals which depicted important industry (ies) of each state. The image I posted here depicts the porcelain industry of Kentucky. I was told that the female potter in this mural is the only female figure you can find among these 66 murals.....
the female potter in the mural
the mural of Kentucky porcelain industry

Friday, October 16, 2009

Candle Holder

While waiting for kiln to finish glaze firing, I am trying to make candle holders. This is something that I've never made before. Many traditional Seagrove potters made candle holders. I feel I need to try at least once since I am a NC potter now.
The first candle holder design I have in mind is Chinese Temmoku tea bowl stand. Once I read a book about antique Chinese ceramics, I found the author mistakenly identified a Temmoku tea bowl stand as an oil lamp. It does look like oil lamp when tea bowl is not placed on its top.
To follow a Chinese saying "將錯就錯," which means " to go along with an uncorrected mistake," I altered the idea of oil lamp into candle holder. It is quite fun to make them.

Candle holder portion was thrown in one piece and trim
Stem was thrown separately and attached
Ready for bisque


It's time for glazing. Plum tree branches were carved on bowls and plates. The plum flowers were painted with underglaze brown then covered with celadon color glaze.
I love celadon and temmoku glazes. Unfortunately, I can only access to electric kiln in my new studio. I adjusted few cone 6 glazes to imitate some of my favorite cone 9/10 glazes.
I am glad that I majored in ceramics engineering when I was in Taiwan. It comes in handy whenever I encounter technical problems.

Bisque ware shelf is finally full

Applying undergalze brown

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cone Art Kiln

Finally, the electrician came to pull a power line for my beloved Cone Art kiln. I did a bisque firing right after electricity was connected. The clicking sounds of relays made me feel the kiln is alive. I felt the same way when I heard the gas kiln burners roar. I always tell friends that firing is my favorite stage in pottery making and they usually give me a strange look.
My Cone Art kiln is reassembled and connected!!

My works seem getting bigger. A plate I thrown last week just fits on the 21" kiln shelf. I might need a bigger kiln soon.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

New Studio

I never felt so anxious to go to my studio and work. I just moved from my home studio to a new studio in downtown Greensboro. The drying speed of my pieces are more predictable in a closed environment. This morning I trimmed my plates and applied white slip. I should be able to carve my new designed patterns on the plates by tomorrow.
Leather hard pieces are ready to be trimmed

Applying white slip
Pieces are ready for carving

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tea Pot Ceremony

I am a big tea drinker. I love to prepare tea out of the tea pots I made. However, making tea pots is a time consuming process. It could take always times that I can create other works. Therefore, I don't make them often. Once I started, I would need to make at least 10 to 15 pieces simultaneously.