Thursday, November 16, 2006

Ball Mill

Some of you are probably still waiting breathlessly for results of the ball-milled slip I made last week: the pots are in the current kiln,so final results tomorrow,but a couple of hours running around the mill certainly produced a noticeable increase in the smoothness of the slip during application.I shall try some glazes next. Picture: Safed pomegranate tree in November.



Glass is just clay without the alumina.Watching Chris [with the Locks] and Sheva Chaya at work,I see that many of the shaping techniques are the same,with slightly different tools.Riveting stuff; if I didn't have my kiln to look after,I would have stayed all afternoon. Posted by Picasa

Glazing a Chanukiah

It took me a while to work this one out.The problem is getting an even coat of glaze on this rather complex shape,given that I never have enough glaze [nor a big enough bucket] just to dunk the whole thing in.If you pour from one side at a time,you end up with a lot of unsightly drips on the other side.I think I got the idea from the old Cadbury's picture of two glasses of milk being poured into a bar of chocolate.This is [for me] a large piece,but you can glaze it with a scant litre of glaze, which seems remarkable.
Also pretty remarkable is the presence of Chris the glass artist from Virginia [I think},who is blowing,stretching and bending boro-silicate glass [probably as I write] just over the road in an improvised studio in what is soon to be new neighbours Shani and Sheva Chaya's home and workshop.Unless I am mistaken,this might be the first time that glass has been blown in Safed; correct me if you know otherwise. Posted by Picasa


Firing Fun

Today's glaze kiln is just underway- chanukiot,bowls,various small orders,some rice-ash glaze tests,and this selection of household materials,including bath salts,cometics and sundry small rocks- just to see what will happen to them at 1270 degrees.I have high hopes for the Dead Sea mask and the vitamin pill [left]. Posted by Picasa


Friday, November 10, 2006

The Ball Mill Revisited

Lateral thinking with a vengeance:ball-mills are supposed to do wonderful things for slips and glazes,but seem to cost unreasonably huge sums.My wheel goes round like a mill,but in the wrong plane:solution- [I'm sure I'm not the first to think of it] stand wheel on end,attach ball-mill jar [from Sydney,source of all good and obscure ceramic kit] with parcel tape [jar lid held closed,in absence of official metal rod,by convenient sponge tool] and off we go.I have yet to learn what is known as "mill practice",but gave it a whirl [there are porcelain balls inside- hence name] with some blue slip for a couple of hours.It's almost Shabbat now,so tests will have to wait 'til Sunday.Shabbat Shalom! Posted by Picasa


Keren and Dotan Get Married

Mazal Tov! Two of our [best] students from Tel Hai,already working together for a year or so,lawfully wedded last night in Shfayim. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 02, 2006


On a whim,I also raised the strike temp. to 730,which might be responsible for the beginnings of some rather neat irridescent pinks and purples here and there.I wonder what reduction would do to this glaze....
I haven't yet had much luck with the rare earths yet- I have so little of them that I preferred to find out about the silver first.
Yesterday we bid farewell to Benjamin [again]- he's flying back to California to work for a couple of months before starting college [Cabrio, I think,in Santa Cruz].By now he should have met up with young Eliav in New York for a doubtless riotous day or so before continuing westwards. Posted by Picasa


Inspired by Venetian glass,among other things,and quite hard to photograph,but with all sorts of exotic colours and effects- see next picture... Posted by Picasa


There are currently 2 batches of glaze- this one is just the base glaze with 10% silver nitrate ,the other one has a small % of colouring oxides as well,making it more cream-coloured. My camera,an otherwise-excellent Lumix,seems to have trouble with these rather subtle colours,rendering the cream as beige. Posted by Picasa

Strike Two

Yesterday's kiln yielded the first of the new shapes in the struck silver nitrate glaze.
The previous test firing gave too many crystals/not enough background,so I bumped up the top temp. by 5 degrees,which seems to have had the desired results.
When Hans Coper worked with these shapes,he used a much rougher finish [usually oxides rubbed into the clay surface],so it's interesting to see the effect of the thick and smooth crystal glaze. Posted by Picasa