Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Rare Earth

The rare earths,it turns out,are not really that rare- just expensive. Rumour has it that they give interesting colours in crystal glazes,so I pestered a chemical company in Haifa until they sold me some praseodymium and neodymium,flung them in a crystal base glaze- and got absolutely nothing. Even after an additional "strike" firing to 720. Just that tantalising blue-ish puddle in one catcher. Whatever that means. I'll try some other oxides in the test batches,just to see if there are any fun interactions,but I think this is the end of my brief [and expensive] rare earth foray.
This was kiln #4: I am getting pretty consistent crystal growths from these firings,as I gradually increase the top temperature each firing,attempting to get more background and fewer,larger crystals. #5 is currently crash-cooling,the lid propped slightly open on a kiln-brick,having reached 1275 and soaked there for 10 minutes. I am somewhat amazed that I can write "consistent crystal growth" in a sentence- this would not have been possible for the 20-odd years that I fired the glazes in my gas kiln...


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