Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lisa's Excellent Cone Six Adventure

Up until now, I've used low fire clay for all of my jewelry and ornaments.  Inspired by our pottery teacher Sally who uses a variety of cone 6 clays, a few years ago some friends and I split a 50 pound chunk of tan speckled clay and some cone 6 glazes with the hope that we would have "craft night" and get together to create some pottery after work.  Since we never did find the time, the clay and glazes have been patiently waiting.
Every year before my husband and I leave for our Florida vacation, I mail myself a good size chunk of clay to make sure I don't go through withdrawals while I'm there. This year I sent myself some of the cone 6 clay instead of my usual low fire white or terra cotta. To avoid extra weight in my suitcase, and the possibility of being strip searched, I send it a week or so ahead of time to our friend (I'll call him Mike) in Florida.  My husband likes to surprise Mike with our arrival by not telling him that we're coming, but alas, the arrival of the clay always gives it away.  Mike called before we left and said "I know you're coming, the clay arrived." Oh well.  By the way, I also recommend this method of transport for wire and clay cleaning tools as I tried to smuggle those to Florida a few years ago and it didn't go over well with airport security. 


This year, a week before I left, I had the bright idea of ordering a small kiln and having it sent there as well, to avoid bisque pieces breaking on the trip home. Frustratingly, getting a kiln quickly was not as easy as I expected.  I tried several companies and nobody seemed to have anything in stock, and only made kilns to order.  I wanted to have the kiln there while I was in Florida so I could set it up and use it.  I finally found a company that worked with me and said they could get the kiln delivered while I was there.  The kiln arrived, much to Mike's delight, and when I unloaded the box I discovered, it was not the ceramic/glass kiln I thought I ordered, but a glass only kiln with a door in the front flapping in the wind, and no cone sitter.  Hum..... what do I do with this?  Believe me, if I could have figured out a way to use it, I would have, but I ended up sending it back, and thankfully they were able to send me a 9 x 9 interior AF3P Jen Ken Cube with a digital controller before I left, that was perfect for what I need.

Although I had intentions of making pottery with this clay, I started with what I know best and proceeded to make some free form pendants, earrings and beads.  The pottery can wait.
These birds were inspired by a piece of gnarled paper towel that was stuck to the concrete deck out in the backyard. I kept walking on/around it for a few days and every time I saw it, I thought, that looks like one of those cute birds I keep seeing on Etsy.  So I took it as a sign that I should make some birds.  I took a little crystal glass dish and pressed the design into the clay.  I tried to save the piece of bird shaped paper towel I scraped off the concrete, but sadly, it shriveled up so I can't show it to you. 

I'm used to a manual kiln with a cone sitter, but since we have a digital kiln at work, I have had some experience with this type as well.  I programed the Jen Ken Cube, and commenced to firing it up. Since I had never done a cone 6 firing before, I found it quite unsettling to see how flaming red hot the kiln became and how long it stayed that way.  It made me a bit uneasy.....  All that red hot fire stuff.  Anyway - I didn't burn anything down so that was a good test fire in my opinion.
I've heard lots of good reviews about Coyote Glazes from some Beads-of-Clay members, so I decided to order a few colors and give them a try.
I'm starting with some Turquoise, Oasis Blue, Almost Teal, Butterscotch Shino, Gun Metal Green and Fire Opal.  The colors and textures are definitely different from the glazes I'm accustomed to.  I'm firing some pieces tonight and can't wait until the kiln cools down tomorrow so I can see how they look!

Next up... I discovered Coyote Glazes are also available in 4 oz. sample packs.... 
So that's the state of my studio on this second Saturday! Check out the the B-O-C blog to see what some of the other members are up to! 
See you when I unload the kiln!


  1. Those birds are so cute. I can't wait to see everything all glazed up :)

  2. I've eyeballed the Coyote glaze assortment as well, I can't wait to see how yours turn out. The birds are adorable!

  3. Nice to see Coyote Clay get some love. I actually have a small studio space there and access to the full range of glazes produced there. Looks like you got some beautiful colors, some of my favorites. I will warn you that the gun metal green, and Pam's green and blue are all VERY runny, and the turquoise gives a matte, almost moon-surface-like texture. The shinos fire out beautifully!

    Have fun!

  4. Thanks for the warning about the runny glazes Rosa. Very good to know. I'll post some photos today of how the first batch turned out. Thanks everyone for taking a look! :)

  5. Ohhh - Can't wait to see how they came out! Thanks for posting to the 2nd Sat post on BOC too… I like going to one place to check in on everyone to see what kinds of fun stuff is going on. Funny about shipping the clay ahead of time - that made me giggle...

  6. Thanks for visiting my blog today! Can't wait to see how these all look when glazed!!!

  7. Thanks Linda and Marsha. I agree, it's fun to have a central place to check in to see what people are creating. :)