Much time this week was dedicated to testing and producing the presentation board for the tea set while the ceramic work was being fired. The main feature of board was to be bringing the grain to the surface. This was to reflect the sand used in Japanese Zen gardens. I tested on pinewood the best way to bring the grain to the surface; I tried both wire brushing and sand blasting. Wire brushing took a fair amount of time and left the pine with a fibrous fluffy look that was not desirable. The sandblasting on the other hand revealed the grain smoothly but impregnated the wood with partials that turned it gray. It was clear that pinewood was not ideal. I was recommended by Dave Grimshaw to try ash wood. I acquired a good piece of ash and wire brushed it. Ash wood worked far better, the grain is far more defined and Is the look I wanted.
Before During Cleaning up After
It had been my intention to use a red glaze on the interior of all the pieces. However after discussing it with a friend who has more experience I learned It would be more reliable to use a different color. Instead I opted for a vivid blue using cobalt carbonate and clear stoneware glaze. I had tested this combination and knew it would give an effective result. However I will attempt to produce a reliable red glaze in future.
cobalt carbonate clear glaze mix
I coated the outside surface with manganese oxide, which would define the textured surface of the stones. However when everything emerged from the kiln the manganese had burned away leaving the surface bright white.
After the fireing – the manganese has completely burned off
This did not go as planned. to rectify this issue I tested out some different methods . The best was to wash the surface with ink and buff it off with a tissue. This method is not what I intended but gives a better representation of the desired effect than leaving it white.
After being coated with ink
This project has taught me a lot about myself and how I work. a drawing method I had almost discarded has been revived and has shown its true potential . the hiccup with the manganese oxide has highlighted the need for geater testing before application In future . Getting glazing down to a science would be an very useful tool for the future .
In future I want to work on improving :
- Photos – must be taken with a decent camera and regularly
- more glaze testing
- More primary research