Friday, October 24, 2008
I've decided to dig up more of my old OLD work. Stuff from high school and shortly thereafter. So, tonight's romp through amnesia alley brings us to my first few pots... one thrown and "altered" and the other is my first simple cylinder with my FIRST ever home-made glaze. I still look at this glaze with amazement and wonder what would have happened if my first experiments had met with greater success. I think, by and large, frustration suits me better than success.
When folks ask what it takes to get some of our glazes I never really know what to say. I could hand out formulas till the cows come home and it would be of little to no use. This Grapefruit Green is a perfect case in point.
This glaze was mixed with a paintbrush (didnt know enough to seive a glaze)... remember folks, we're going back over 20 years at this point in my glazing history. Application was by brush. So here is a glaze that was designed back in the 60's by James Chappell (Potters Complete Book Of Clays And Glazes), used LEAD as the main flux. Hey, we had lead in containers in the glaze lab, I wore gloves and mixed according to the book. Probably what everyone does their first time in the glaze lab.
A week later, after firing and while dealing with my frustration over the NOT green color.... and munching down some funky fast food burger.... I started reading the rest of Chappell's book. All of a sudden instead of seeing just the recipes, I started reading about materials and toxicity. I nearly shit myself. I had no idea how dangerous lead could be, both to myself and to any users of this final piece. I came to realize through further reading in the following months (and years) that even with well formulated stable glazes, colorants can affect solubility and safety of glazes.
So here is my first ever glaze, in all of its toxic glory.... loaded with lead and chromium.