Making Things at High Temperatures

First, my final batch of test pendants, all glazed with Mayco’s Stroke & Coat in various colors.  For the yellow ones, I didn’t clean the brush from the teal, so got some interesting color swirls there.  The pink ones all had two coats, and you can see it obscured the patterning in the clay.  I like these, and not just because they were one coat only!  They didn’t plug the bail holes, either (except on one of the pink ones, which is subpar anyway).  I forgot to poke those holes out before firing.

Anyway, this looks like a winner for plain color.  Many of our other glazes are “effect” glazes and produce variegations in color, which aren’t really looking good on the paisleys, but might work on something else.

My only remaining test pieces to fire are more shotglasses.  Mayco says Stroke & Coat can be used on greenware (stuff that’s not yet been fired), so I didn’t bother firing these, and painted them all with Stroke & Coat in various colors.  Will fire them today and see what happens!

Also, I think I am officially sick of paisley!  At least for a little while.

The pink blob at right was just a random clay blob I made with some leftovers.
The pink blob at right was just a random clay blob I made with some leftovers.

Second, here is a steak that Chris cooked for himself last night and enjoyed so much that he had to take a picture.

Meat for The Man.
Meat for The Man.

And now for something completely different!

I had this sudden urge for a new lipstick.  Lipstick Queen brand is recommended by some of my fashionable friends, so we went off to Ulta today to test some and possibly buy some.

Last night I spent some time on the LQ website reading about all the products and picking out which ones I wanted to try.  Naturally the weird ones caught my eye:  Frog Prince, a green lipstick that “changes with your body’s pH” to become an appropriate lip color, Hello Sailor, a blue lipstick that changes to a raspberry, things like that.

Well, at Ulta I ended up choosing the three that looked best from all these swipes on my hand.


I bought Hello Sailor just because it was so bizarre, Frog Prince, and Sinner in Natural.  When we got home, over an hour after the swipes, I took a tissue and gently buffed my hand (after taking this pic), and all these lipsticks cleaned off easily with very little pressure.  Frog Prince left a little stain, but it was the color of merthiolate, which is NOT a color I want on my lips!

Unfortunately, easy removal is a sort of “anti-criterion” for me.  I need staining long wear.  All these are going back to Ulta tomorrow, and I will stick with Rouge d’Armani.

Stuff to Remember

  1. Glopping on extra glaze does not help!
  2. Remember to poke out the pendant holes before firing!  The only one of these that is usable as a pendant (without drilling) is the upper right.
  3. Use kiln wash or other protection on the shelf.  Out of the 14 pendants, these came up easily, and all the rest stuck to the shelf 😦  I have to buy a new shelf.
On the left, the Iron Lustre; on the right, the Iron Lustre with Palladium on top.
On the left, the Iron Lustre; on the right, the Iron Lustre with Palladium on top.

My next experiment will have some that are coated in just the Palladium, and some other colors of the “Stroke & Coat” from Mayco.  Not sure when I’ll get to it.  Started glazing with the Mayco yesterday.

Glazing Process

Today I’m glaze-firing a new batch of pendants.  These are oval shaped, same clay as before, same paisley designs.  The seven at left have four coats of Amaco’s “Iron Lustre,” and the seven at right have three coats of that plus a topcoat of the Palladium.  I applied the glaze very heavily this time (pretty much obscuring the paisleys) just to see what happened.

In the gloomy Seattle daylight.
In the gloomy Seattle daylight.

Last week (after glazing a bunch of the square pendants to a paper towel 🙂 ) I had the idea to use a cookie sheet for a work surface, and this is brilliant.  So far.  It’s nonstick, so all the glaze that accidentally gets painted onto the cookie sheet just dries into a little ball and can be easily brushed into the trash can.  I am not sure whether any of the nonstick surface might have adhered to the backs of the pendants, and if it did, what effect it might have, but will report back.  These should be done firing in about 8 hours, and then it will take a few hours for them to cool far enough to be removed from the kiln.  But I might have some results for you before bed tonight.

Still a Learning Process

These are porcelain pendants I fired last week and glazed this past weekend.

The center greenish one has one coat of Mayco “Stroke & Glaze” in “Just Froggy” with a topcoat of Amaco’s “Potter’s Choice” in “Palladium.”

All the others had three coats of Amaco’s “Potter’s Choice” in “Blue Rutile,” and then the brown ones had a fourth coat of that and the others had a topcoat of the Palladium.

I had expected all of these to turn out bluish.  Hah.

The darker brown ones are the ones with the Palladium topcoat.
The darker, reddish-brown ones are the ones with the Palladium topcoat.

If anyone wants one, just let me know.  Happy to ship them off to good homes.  I do have metal jump rings to put through the holes to make it easier to hang from a necklace cord.

White COPPRClay!

Well.  White COPPRClay comes already in clay form, which is nice.  (Some other brands come in powder form which have to be mixed with water first, and I always seem to end up with the wrong consistency.)  A few posts ago, you saw a picture of a teardrop pendant I’d made with White COPPRClay, before firing.  Here it is after firing, and after six hours (on and off) in the rock tumbler with stainless steel shot, water, and Dawn dishwashing soap.  (The tumbler can only be run for 2 hours at a time before overheating.)

After firing. Shrunk by almost 1/2" in height. Pendant hole will need to be drilled out some more.
After firing. Shrunk by almost 1/2″ in height. Pendant hole will need to be drilled out some more.

Here’s another piece I made at the same time.  I intentionally left some clay in the center square so it will support whatever kind of centerpiece thing that ends up in there.  I’m thinking of a porcelain button at the moment, but who knows.

Frame made using a ModPodge mold.
Frame made using a ModPodge mold. About 1″ high center opening.

And, for my sister, a picture from our local BevMo.

Texas know what...right next to each other!
Texas and…you know what…right next to each other!

Physics, Mechanics

Haven’t written about the Zuca All-Terrain since its arrival, and that’s because we’ve been so frustrated with it.  One of its annoyances is that it seems unbalanced.  It’s extremely difficult to get it tilted back to where it will roll properly.  As a result, sometimes it drags its front feet across the hardwood floor of our front room.  However, this could be dealt with if the handle were more convenient.

There are three of us living here.  One is a science major, one is the daughter of a physicist, and one is a scientifically-minded teenager.  None of us can figure out how to get the handle to work right!

I had assumed this bag would be the standard Zuca but with bigger wheels.  Well, for some reason they redesigned the handle as well, and instead of the typical 2-pole retractable handle with a grip on top, this has a single pole.  (Did I mention this before?  Feels like I did.)

Anyway, the single pole is useless if we want to stack a second piece of luggage on top (for example, I own a handbag with the ‘sleeve’ on the back, which can be slid over a 2-pole system and rested on top of the luggage so it doesn’t need to be carried).  With a single pole the top bag just flips around and causes a nuisance.

But the very difficult part is that we keep pulling the pole out of its tube!

The pole consists of two loose pieces, which we can tell are supposed to stay connected by the ol’ “inner pole has a button, outer pole has a row of holes” type of arrangement.  Unfortunately for us, the button never really wants to pop out and stay in place!  And then, after we’ve removed those two pieces of pole completely, and Chris (usually) has manhandled them into their connection, we slide the pole back into the bag’s tube and try to lock it in place with a locking collar.  This rarely works.  Which means that every time we’ve gone out, so far, we’ve had to hand-carry this heavy bag full of photography gear, and not test the wheeling capabilities.  Naturally with a metal frame this is much heavier, now, than the old Kipling Sherpa, and also a little more awkward to carry because of its shape.

I’ve emailed Zuca asking for tips on how to manage the pole.  Perhaps in a production model, there would be detailed instructions, but on mine, a prototype, there were none.

The bag is in the car now, or else I’d include some photos here for you.  I’m planning an excursion to Pine Lake Park today.  Will report back once I have something new to report.

I don't even remember what this picture is.
I don’t even remember what this picture is.