Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mugs, mugs and more mugs

Just in time for Christmas gift giving.  I posted my latest work in my Etsy Shop this morning.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cups and Platters

This week I have posted some new work in my Etsy Shop.  It has been some time since I tackled a large platter.  I choose earthenware clay as the shrinkage is less, and I have fewer problems with the clay cracking around the bisqued form that I use as a mold.  This one has turned out particularly pleasing, has fired with no signs of warping or slumping.  I had fun decorating it in the majolica style that is popular in Italy and Portugal.
I next played around with hand forming a scalloped edge serving bowl which I first painted in white slip, then decorated in colored slips.
Four stoneware coffee mugs hand thrown in stoneware clay and slip decorated finished up the week for me.

Testing for Thermal Shock and Crazing

Coffee Mugs and Cups are particularly vulnerable to thermal shock and crazing, as hot liquid is poured into them, then when finished they are quickly rinsed under cold water. I am concerned that my pieces remain beautiful for years, and are food safe so I have devised this simple test that I run on each batch of fired cups.
First I fill the cup with ice cubes and water.  I  bring my kettle up to a full boil, and quickly pour out the iced water and fill with boiling water.  I leave in for around 1 minute, then replace the boiling water with ice cubes and cold water again.  I repeat this process, and finally leave boiling water in the cup for several minutes.  I then carefully examine the interior for any signs of small hairline cracks.