Thursday, March 14, 2019

Trying Something New: Nichrome Wire

Nichrome is a non-magnetic alloy of nickel and chromium. The wire made from it is commonly used by potters for kiln repair, such as the little pins that hold elements in place in an electric kiln. It may also be the material of the elements themselves...I didn't dive that deep. I have used it to hold kiln wool (ins wool or kao wool) in place by making flat stoneware disks with holes in them, then pushing the wire through both the wool & the button, and twisting it in place. 

Recently I have been playing around with a different use for it - as handles or decorative elements on pottery. Nichrome wire will easily withstand ^10 (okay, maybe not "easily!" It will bend if you make big loops or place weight on it, as with bead stands.) I just push the wire into the clay at early leatherhard, then smooth a little clay over the holes. 

Using needle nose pliers, I bend the wire like this:
The little hook-shapes on the ends insure that the wire will not pop out after the piece is fired.

I can see that there are some trade offs in utility - it would be a bad idea to put this piece in the microwave, for instance - I love the tension of the delicate (and yet sort of industrial!) linear element of the wire versus the mass and solidity of the clay.

I have ideas about this - like, could I make a loop handle on a lid & maybe thread a clay bead on it? Would that stand up? - and will be playing around with it more eventually. I have to put it on hold for a few weeks, though - got a firing this weekend, then next week is all grinding, sorting, pricing, packing, & delivering, then after that NCECA! - but I wanted to record it here so I remember to come back to this idea.

This butter dish is available in the 2nds & Demos section of my online store

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1 comment:

Sue Macy said...

I love the idea of wire handles on pottery pieces, that won’t go into the microwave! Maybe you can do a class on this at some point in time?

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