Monday, July 28, 2008

waxing, mystery bubbles, and the joy of new things

Last week was a hoot in may ways. I've hit the point where I have enough made that I need to start getting things ready to glaze. I moved everything that had been painted out to the studio and started waxing, on a day that I decided to do another bisque firing when it was already 90 degrees. I began to worry that the wax would just run back off, but then talked myself down, realizing that it probably wouldn't get much higher and the wax takes a couple of hundred degrees before it starts dissipating. Not running. It was so exciting to have a place to put them in this stage, thanks to Ian and his spiffy new shelves.

I got out my trusty bucket of black glaze, only to find that it had dried to a nice chunk of plaster like hardness. So, I wheeled it over to the faucet and used the attached hose to fill it halfway with water, thinking that I would leave it to soften up before I started the arduous process of digging it off the bottom of the bucket. Because, for all the good qualities my glaze has, it sticks, as my friend Bob would say, to the bottom like goose poop on a blanket. I then went on my way, waxing and buzzing around the studio for about an hour. Imagine my surprise when, an hour or so later, I stuck my hand in to feel the glaze was perfectly dispersed and mixed. Besides that little oddity, it also felt... well... kind of foamy. I took my hand out and it was covered in bubbles! The glaze was bubbling and foaming, but was not settling back down. I thought for a minute, then turned the hose back on. Sure enough, preceding the water was a foam of white bubbles. Somehow, we had gotten soap in the hose. How, I do not know, but it was there. I called the Clay Connection and they had never heard of this and told me to do a test firing to see if it had affected anything. If not, I may have just solved one of the great trials of my glazing life.

The week ended with an e-mail from a man answering my Craigslist post asking for pottery wheels. I needed at least one more so that I could teach, but hated to buy a new one when I know there are so many lonely wheels out in people's garages, unused and forgotten after the thrill of a new hobby was forgotten. This man had six! He had a business teaching art to children and they had tried to venture into adult pottery classes, only to lose their teacher after three lessons. It was first come, first serve, and I was first. I managed to get two wheels, a stack of bats, eight new tool packs, two stools, and a bucket of tools for about what one new wheel would cost. I was overjoyed, needless to say! I also now have about six buckets of mystery glaze that I need to research. I grabbed them in my frenzy of abundance, only thinking of what color they were, and was juuuust retarded enough not to remember that glazes have different cones. Now, to find out if they'll go to 5 in a way that doesn't involved grinding test pieces off of my kiln shelves.

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