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Some notes on clays and firing
All our clay bodies are in plastic form and most sold in 12.5Kg bags, apart from paper clay which comes in 5Kg bags and Southern ice which comes in 9.25Kg bags. When stored in a cool but frost free environment, free from draughts and direct sunlight, the clays will retain their condition indefinitely.
Glaze suitability/Firing temperatures:
We recommend biscuit firing at 1000-1060 deg.C followed by a glaze firing at a higher temperature which matures both the clay and the glaze at the same time.
Each clay and each glaze is listed with its firing range. When selecting a glaze for use with a particular clay it is important to select one with a firing range above the lower temperature given for the clay. If this is not done the clay will be under fired and the glaze may craze.
Alternatively you could biscuit fire the clay above the lower figure given for the clay then glaze fire to the firing range of the selected glaze, however this method could cause difficulty with glaze pick - up when dipping although this can be overcome by adding Magnesium Sulphate to the glaze which assists suspension and application to relatively vitreous biscuit ware.
The optimum rate depends on the thickness of the pots and clay type e.g thin cast and grogged bodies can be fired quicker than thrown and and ungrogged ones. Ideally,biscuit firings would be slower than 100 deg.C per hour up to200 deg.C and 100-200 deg.C per hour beyond that point and ending in a short soak.
Glaze firings should be at 100 deg.C -130 deg.C per hour but at 100 deg.C per hour maximum from 700 - 1100 deg.C with high carbon ball clay or fire clay based bodies.If clays are fired above their vitrification point then bloating is likely.
Bloating may also result from insufficient biscuit firing or too fast firing in the later stages of glost firing. Over-long firings may give excess heat work and cause bloating.
BPS Stoneware Glazes
For some years now we have been supplying our stoneware glazes in a ready mixed slop form. However despite the obvious advantage of having them in ready mixed, we do run into some problems when it comes to posting them! There is also, of course, the extra postal charge just for the water. With this in mind we have experimented with tumble mixing the dry ingredients. The tests seem to be OK and so we are now offering BPS glazes in a powdered form too.
MIXING POWDERED GLAZES.
The glazes do need wet sieving through either an 80 or 100 mesh sieve and because the amount of clay used in each glaze varies you do have to use different amounts of water for each one. Here is our suggested water: powder ratio but please remember this is only a guide. The porosity of your bisque fired clay, the time taken to dip the work, whether or not you are spraying or double dipping and the firing temperature are all variable factors to be taken into account. In some of the mixes there is some streakiness or specking in the powder e.g. iron oxide, but this is dispersed by mixing/sieving. You may also find that a few of the glazes leave a small amount of residue on the sieve. This has been allowed for in the recipe and can be discarded.
|Glaze||Water ccs.per kg|
The glazes that have a low clay content in the recipe ( and consequently are the ones that need less water in the mix especially BP5,8,9,11,& 13SP ) do tend to settle more quickly. We find that adding a small amount of calcium chloride liquid ( one or two tablespoonfuls per gallon ) is helpful. Do be careful however, not to overdo the calcium chloride as this can lead to a fault known as ‘plucking’ in which the glaze cracks and pulls away from the body during firing. Do NOT use the calcium chloride with the BP16P Orange Red, or BP18P Tenmoku. These both contain bone ash and the calcium Chloride reacts with it to form a very hard layer at the bottom of the bucket!
This too will obviously affect the look of the glaze i.e. BP5,8,9,11,13&26P, will go shinier and become more transparent and ‘lose’ their speckled/variegated colours the higher you fire. If applied too thickly they will tend to run. These glazes are the most sensitive to temperature and will be satiny at cone 7, show a combination of shiny and satin specks at cone 8 and become increasingly clear and shiny as one goes up to cone 9 and above.
The cooling rate of the kiln ( which isn’t always under our control ) will also particularly affect these glazes - with a slower cooling allowing crystals to grow and giving a more satiny look. The Tenmoku BP18SP and the Oil Spot BP25SP seem better at the higher temperature although as a general rule they will become shinier and/or darker the higher one fires.
NON FOODSAFE GLAZES FROM THE BP RANGE
MEASURING TEMPERATURE AND FIRING ATMOSPHERE
The temperatures noted here refer to the heat work needed to bend a specific cone. As a general rule one often has to set an automatic electronic controller to cut off at a slightly lower temperature. For example Cone 8 is usually quoted as a 1260deg.C. cone but one often only needs to set the controller at around 1240deg.C. to get a Cone 8 to bend. The best practice is to put cones in the firing so that the temperatures set on the controller can be compared with the amount of bending on the cones.
Most of the glazes work well in reduction but the glazes BP9,13 and 23, which contain copper, will often come out reddish brown or various shades of pink! Instead of green. BP16, 18 and 25, which are very high in iron, will tend to go a metallic, iron red or purple.
Firing notes on lustres and enamels
Enamels: The usual temperature for firing the enamels is cone 017 to cone 016 (770
deg.C.- 790 deg C ) The reds pinks and yellow, however do have a tendency to fade out and become colourless. It is obviously advisable to fire these at the lower temperature around cone 017.
Lustres: These are usually fired at cone 018 to cone 016 (720 deg.C. – 790 deg.C.) especially when applied over earthenware glazes. However there can be a problem when using the lustres over high fired stoneware glaze when there is a tendency for the lustre to rub off. In this case one will have to fire a bit higher to soften the glaze, but not so high that it starts to sinter ( the first stage in melting ) which results in a harsh, roughened surface. The highest we have had to go is cone 013 (860 deg C.)
In this case it was gold FE3 and blue lustre on a satin matt stoneware glaze. This is unfortunately a matter of trial and error.
A word of warning. Larger plates and dishes are susceptible to thermal shock so that a gentle start to enamel / lustre firing may be needed.
For Glass fire between 580degC-620degC with a short soak period of 5-10 minutes (Soda-lime being the norm)
Useful information on velvet underglaze colours
LEAD FREE UNDERGLAZE COLOURS.
*= suitable for use to 1300 deg.C. + = contains cadmium and lead frit
Underglaze colours may be applied to green ware or onto biscuit using universal medium. If sufficient flux is added, colours and stains can be made self glazing and matt colours developed.
VELVET UNDERGLAZE COLOURS
Velvet Underglazes are vibrant, semi translucent, fluxed colours which are very versatile and offer three alternative techniques:
1.When left unglazed and then fired 1000 deg.C - 1100degC, they give semi matt surfaces to simulate cloth and fur textures. With slightly higher firing they assume a slight sheen. Glazing is not essential allowing permanent decoration of finely detailed modelling without having the detail rounded away by subsequent glazing.
2.When used in normal Underglaze fashion they can be glazed by dipping , spraying , or a transparent brush on glaze can be used. The colours intensify and give glossy results.
3.They can be used majolica fashion on the unfired glaze, the flux content of the colours giving more predictable results.
Velvet Underglazes fire true to colour as applied from the jar and can be mixed to give to give many more different shades. They tolerate a wide firing range and can be used on porcelain and stoneware with the exception of orange and red. Velvets vitrify at about cone 4 - 6 and can be used on clay, Bisque or on the glaze and can be applied by brushing, sponging or spraying.
Velvets 380-384 have a unique formula that makes them very versatile. They can be used in detailed design work as a Cone 06/05 underglaze or they can be fired up to Cone 6 and maintain their intensity and brightness.
Brushing- Keep brush fully loaded at all times. For solid coverage, as in backgrounds, apply 3 or 4 coats of colour, working in opposite directions with each layer of colour. Wait for water sheen to disappear between coats.
Sponging - Pour colour onto a glazed tile. Saturate a slightly dampened fine sponge with colour and lightly pat onto the green ware or bisque , allowing the first coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next. Solid back-grounds can be quickly achieved by using this method which eliminates the streaking that often appears when using a brushing method.
Airbrushing - Dilute colour with water to the consistency required for a smooth spraying application. For solid colour coverage airbrush 3 to 4 coats, for shading, one coat is generally sufficient.
Antiquing - Dilute 2 parts colour with 1 part water, for an antiquing solution. Apply to bisque with as large a brush as possible. Allow to dry. Remove the colour from the large areas with a moist sponge, rinsing and turning the sponge often to produce clear highlights - exposing the embossed design.
Useful information on frit analysis
SAFETY :Always use rubber gloves when using any form of ciment. It is very alkaline and can cause burns.
Like building mortar Ciment Fondue needs to be mixed with sharp sand. This is quite a stiff mix and will not pick up fine detail or create a smooth surface, so the ciment has to be applied in stages.
1. Mix up a creamy slurry of ciment fondue powder and water. Without sand, it is suitable for small sculptures and for any that are to be kept indoors.
For outdoor use ,mix 2 parts fine silica sand with 1 part ciment fondue powder, adding enough water to allow you to apply a mix with a brush. A plastic cup makes a good measuring tool.
2. Work on one section of a mould at a time, creating just enough mixture to work on that section . Apply the slurry to the mould with a brush, working it into all the details and coating the surface evenly to about 1.5mm thick.(Don’t forget to coat your mould with soft soap liquid before you start and keep the mould damp)
3. Make up the standard ciment fondue mix using 1 part cement fondue 2 parts sand 1 part water.
This will be very stiff but as you apply it to the slurry coat it will absorb some of the water in the slurry layer. Press the ciment into the mould, gradually pushing a wave of slurry in front. It is the job of the slurry to be displaced enabling the cement to fill in all the details. Pat the cement firmly into the mould to a thickness of about 6mm (1/4”) The mix should be firm so that it cannot be impressed by a finger.
4. To reinforce the cast, create some more fondue slurry without sand. Paint some slurry onto the layer of pressed ciment. Tear off a piece of fibre glass mat, dip it into the slurry, and work it into the fibres by rubbing it between your fingers.
5. Lay fibreglass in the mould. Continue applying small pieces of mat until you have covered the mould surface. Brush on some more slurry, making sure that all the fibre glass is lying flat and even, then press a final layer of stiff ciment fondue mix so that the resulting thickness is about 13mm (1/2”). Tamp it down firmly.
6. Clean the edges of the mould. Leave it under a wet cloth to cure for 24 hours. Ciment fondue sets by a process of curing rather than drying, so it must be kept wet until it is completely hard.
Drying out prevents proper setting, leaving the ciment weak and crumbly.
TIPS FOR USING CERALINE CRAYONS
On what surfaces CERALINE Wax Crayons can be used?
CERALINE Wax Crayons are to be used on fired clay, however the surface of the clay cannot be too smooth as the wax will not stick, just like common wax crayons on paper. Smooth clay first can be made rough with sandpaper.
Firing under reducing atmosphere.
All colours and oxides can be fired as well under oxidizing as under reducing atmosphere. Especially iron and copper oxide are more suitable for reduction firings and will give surprising results.
Colouring surfaces with CERALINE wax Crayons?
CERALINE Wax Crayons are not suitable for colouring surfaces. CERALINE is not a glaze in the shape of a crayon, it is a pigment liner. It is possible to shade with CERALINE, as long as there is enough space between the shading to allow the glaze to stick. If after glazing tick drops are formed upon the applied CERALINE lines, you can best spread them by using a soft brush.
CERALINE Wax Crayons should be stored and used below 30 °C, although it is possible to draw on fired clay, which is slightly warm (for instance with a hair-dryer). This will give you a fuller line and the opportunity to create more effects.
SK 02a or SK 7
SK 02a are designed for earthenware temperatures firing from 1050 °C to 1150 °C and SK 7 is for stoneware at temperatures firing from 1150 °C to 1300 °C.
CERALINE Wax Crayons for low temperature can be used at high temperature. The lines will fade out slightly in the adjoining glazes. CERALINE Wax Crayons for high temperature cannot be used for firing at low temperature. The pigments will not stick.
Glaze over CERALINE lines
CERALINE lines cannot be covered by glaze. While glazing and firing the lines form a barrier between the surfaces to be glazed. The result is a mat coloured line between glazed surfaces, comparable to the ancient Cuerda Seca technique.
CERALINE drawing without glaze
You can make a drawing with CERALINE and fire it without glaze. To get the CERALINE lines well attached it is necessary to fire a little bit longer and at higher temperature as recommended.
CERALINE drawing with glaze
You can make an ornamental drawing by CERALINE lines. If you fill in the surfaces with underglaze, then you always need to apply a transparent glaze over the entire object. This will help to fix the CERALINE line optimally. You can also apply a covering glaze over the CERALINE lines by brush. The CERALINE lines will not be rubbed out and the glaze will not cover the lines while firing. The colours of the CERALINE lines stay unchanged.
CERALINE and working with sinter engobe
If you work with dark clay or smooth surfaced bisque ware, then we recommend first to spray a sinter engobe over the object. The CERALINE colours will stay nicer and fresher.