Sunday, February 15, 2015

Pink and Grey

I think grey is a very underrated color, don't you? It has a great range: can be pastel or somber, masculine or feminine, goes with everything. Like foods, I can get cravings for certain color combinations, and lately I am just dying for some pink and grey pots. First, a little story:

Now, kids, when I was your age, we couldn't get a true red at ^10. We got some great cranberry tones and ox bloods and watermelon shades; I personally got more than my fair share of that awful battleship-mauve that comes over over-reducing a copper red glaze. But true red, fire-engine red? That was a low-fire thing, and even then they sometimes went brown, unless you popped the kiln lid as soon as the sitter fell. Quick cooling, that was the trick.

Well, grasshopper, technology is a wonderful thing! I bought me a hundred-dollar flashlight that can also tell the time and temperature and play pretty music. And, now red underglazes stay red at ^10, reduced or not.

I'm not much a fan of commercial glazes - although I've seen potters who use them to good effect - but underglazes...well, there are just some things that it's better to let the professionals handle. Underglazes are like eggrolls. You can do homemade eggrolls, for sure. You can spend all afternoon chopping vegetables very fine, rolling and pinning the wraps, you can smell up your kitchen with an immersion fryer...and when you are done you'll have egg rolls which, if you are very lucky, are almost as good as the ones you can pay somebody five bucks to bring right to your door. A lot less cleanup that way, too!

I've had good luck with Amaco's velvet series, both Bright Red and Radiant Red.

Pink, though...I started out talking about pink. Pink underglazes, in my experience, go kind of beige. Beige is a nice color, for sure! But beige is not what I am jonesing for.

My issues with these underglazes are two. One, under a clear ^10 glaze, they can act as refractory ingredients in the glaze, and create a drier surface, and two, in the soda kiln, they don't attract much soda so by themselves are rather dry. Porcelain slip, though...that stays a bright white and gets very shiny, with added glaze or just with soda glass.

See where I am going with this?

I mixed Amaco's Radiant Red with my porcelain slip, two great tastes that...well, don't taste great, not that I know of, but I am hoping they will look great.Clear glaze over an iron-bearing claybody in reduction will give me my grey; hopefully the slip/underglaze mixture will give me a bright candy pink, like ya see in the pictures. No, really: these pictures! I am hoping the fired result will be close to its wet color:

I am thinking the rims will just be flashing slip, so, earth-orange. Pink and orange don't immediately sound like the best combo but in my head it's amazing. I'll post the photos after the firing....though who knows when that is going to be? I mean, technically I could fire any time. I could load a bisque today! But realistically that is just not gonna happen. It's seven degrees outside! Nobody is waiting for these pots, except me. I'll just keep throwing and decorating, throwing and decorating, until we get something resembling a thaw. 

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