Now for the Pots!

Wed, May 11th, 2011 Ok, you've been working on your saggars for the July 16 &17 workshop in Ohio. You've got it down, planning shapes, sizes and construction. Now it's time to think about your pots.

What kind of clay should you use? I suggest any white-based stoneware or porcelain. You can use an iron based clay, but if you do, make at least one or two pieces from a white stoneware. This is important because each clay body takes the saggar fumes differently. The lighter the clay body, the softer the colors. Iron based clay moves into darker tones. It's important to see what kind of results you CAN GET versus what kind of results you want to get and where they overlap.

Size, in this case, matters. I always suggest participants make one or two bigger pieces, but lots of smaller pieces so you can play, load, experiment and see what kind of surfaces you can get. If you bring 2 or 3 precious pots to the workshop and you don't like your results, you learn less. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you have enough saggars to house your pieces.

What is bigger & smaller? Your largest piece should be no bigger than 8"-10". Make smaller vessels & sculptures anywhere from 3 to 6" and you can bring 6 to 10 of them. Don't hesitate to bring more, if there's NO ROOM, we won't fit them in; but if there IS SPACE, extra bonus, they go in the kiln!

During the workshop we'll load and fire 3 kilns; 1 tumble-stack saggar I have been firing for years; and 2 kilns with individually stacked clay saggars. Depending on the number of people you can get just 4 to 6 pots in all the firings, or 10 - 12. It depends on the size pieces you have and how many are in the workshop.

OK, the pots are made, now what? Try burnishing. We will go over what this means, how to do it, alternatives to burnishing all during the workshop. Give it the old college try and burnish a few pots. If you don't know how, grab a plastic dry cleaner bag, wrap it around a sponge and rub the surface of your leather hard pots with this bag-encased sponge, compressing the surface and creating a sheen. If the clay begins to get shiny, you're burnishing! Do Terra Sigg much? Try that on your pots. Again, this will all be discussed in the workshop. For the record, all burnishing occurs in dry to leather hard stage BEFORE you bisque.

And what temperature to bisque?. I like an 06 bisque; but if you bisque all your work to 09, by all means, bisque to 09. I'd stay away from a higher temp as an 04 bisque begins to close the clay body, making the work more resistant to receiving the vapor fume.

Now you're ready, so get in the studio and make pots - and make saggars and don't forget to sign up for the workshop!!!
Bring a friend too.

Workshop fee is $320 for two intensive days. This fee includes all materials fees, breakfast and lunch both days.


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