Saturday, April 14, 2012

recapping the last several months....

Well, there have been quite a few subjects that I've been meaning to post about over the last couple of months. I won't give any excuses, but they obviously slipped through the cracks without ever reaching our blog. So I'll give a quick run down of the various goings-on around the pottery.

First off is our not- quite- new masonry stove:I had been curious about masonry stoves for quite some time, and when we needed a heat source for the studio I took it as an excuse to try and design/build one. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but there is a fairly lengthy flue system inside. Building and using the stove this winter has been a great learning experience. It's far from perfect and we will be rebuilding it this fall. It's eliminated the need for the electric heater in our studio, which was quite costly to run through out the winter.

We even pulled the pyrometer from our kiln to monitor the stove.... How much fun is that!

Next up on the list of topics that are long overdue is this chatter tool that my good friend Aaron Weaver made for me.

I've often admired the Onda pots with their lovely chattered decorations. It turns out there is a little bit of learning curving with the chatter tool. Not too terribly much, but you certainly need to be aware of how wet your slip is and the exact angle that you hold the tool. I'm having fun learning though, and you can expect to see more chattering in the future at Windy Ridge Pottery!

the slip was still a little wet on this one

I've also done quite a bit of glaze testing over the last couple of firings. We've slowly been amassing interesting local glaze materials as Christy mentioned in her last post. We've done a ton of different tests, so there are lots of possible glazes in our future. For this firing though I'm focusing on two.

First a celadon blue:
For the glaze geeks out there: no we have not been able to find a local clay in a low enough titanium content to make a celadon blue. We've heard there is some kaolin in Northern Wisconsin, but we haven't tracked that down yet. So for now it's Grolleg with limestone, sandstone, and wood ash.

I'm also working on a nice white glaze. I'm hoping to find something that will contrast nicely with our high iron glaze.
It still needs a little work, but it's getting close and we have several variations on this glaze in our coming firing... hopefully we'll have something solid by next firing.

That's it for now, the firing is coming up quick. Back to potting...



Michael Kline said...

Great to "hear" from you.

It all looks great, I love the masonry stove. There's a fellow near me who is a well know heater builder. I helped him build a bread oven a few years ago and he showed me plans for a ceramic tile heater that is common in eastern europe. imagine a tile version of yours. The tiles are handbuilt and quite elaborate in surface design and internally engineering the heat.

I also love the small lidded jars.

Hope you all are having a great Spring!

Cambria Pottery said...

I want to build a masonry wood stove for my heat if you have any info to share on details and what you have learnt about them I would be indebted to know and hear from you. Good luck with everything in your lives.

Joe and Christy said...

Michael, good to "hear" from you as well...

I don't think I'm in a position of enough knowledge to give to much advice. Our stove is very crude. I learned a lot building it and am looking forward to giving it another shot. I love building and designing things like this and the best resource I found for this was "Masonry Heaters: Designing, Building, and Living with a Piece of the Sun" by Ken Matesz. It doesn't give every little detail of how to actually build the stoves, but there is enough information to get you started. The rest can be pieced together through various web pages. One of my favorite pages is: The two links on the right hand side are design articles in English.

Otherwise the 'Masonry Heater Association of North America' sells detailed plans of several well regarded designs.

I hope this helps, if you have any more questions don't hesitate to ask. I feel fairly confident that we'll have a very nice stove on our next go around this fall. I'll post details of construction when it happens. This stove was put together pretty quickly and was just to test the waters and see what we liked and didn't like about masonry stoves.


Hitomi said...

Tobi Kanna!

deanandmartinpottery said...

It is so good to see what you both are up to. I love the stove I bet this thing keeps you pretty toasty during winter. You guys have been really busy, that is great. All the glaze test look good, you are doing so well with everything. We hope you have a great firing and spring sale! We think of you often and if you ever need anything just call. Tell Mr. Weaver hey from us!

Paula said...

Oh - the scattering looks so interesting and I can't wait to see how the glazes turn out. Have fun firing.