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nice surface sheen without glaze (^6 electric)

updated wed 28 apr 99


Janet H Walker on mon 26 apr 99

People have been musing lately about what to put on pots besides glaze.
I mean, if you really like clay, you probably like it most when it is
still wet. Everything after that is an anticlimax.

Last firing, I tried out an idea I'd seen somewhere on ClayArt,
using a soda ash wash on a raw piece. Kind of like the poor man's
soda firing. I took the raw pot (not bisqued) outside and spritzed
it with a solution of soda ash. I did this twice I think to get a
reasonable coating. Then I fired it in my electric kiln to cone 6.
(Note: I do use an Envirovent on my kiln.)

I came out with a nicely toasted look on a clay body that normally
fires to a dark red or red-brown. The surface had a slight sheen to
it that was very attractive. This probably won't work for all clays
but on this one, it was attractive enough to try more.

(I also tried it on a piece that was already fired to cone 6 but
needed more oomph. Persuaded some of the wash to stick by spraying
it on a little at a time and letting it evaporate. Came out
definitely improved from the refiring.)

The soda ash solution (drum roll please) -- I took about a litre of
distilled water and added about 100g of soda ash. I heated it in a
pan on the stove until all of the soda ash dissolved and then poured
it into one of those plastic spritzers you get from garden supply
places. (For the metrically challenged, you could try a quart of
water with a quarter pound of soda ash. I have no idea if this is a
good concentration or not. It is just "what I did".)

If anyone tries this with a white clay, lemme know what it looks like!

Jan Walker
Cambridge MA USA

Don Prey on tue 27 apr 99

In a message dated 04/26/99 12:06:49 PM, you wrote:

If anyone tries this with a white clay, lemme know what it looks like!>>

Jan, I haven't tried this at cone 6 electric. I fired that way for years
but have been doing cone 10 gas lately. What I have done is spray (or brush)
a mixture of ball clay and soda ash on two different white clays (Laguna cone
10 B-mix and WSO). The mixture is 50:50 by weight and I use just enough
water to get the ash in solution and the clay in suspension. I get a soft
sheen orange that is somewhat like a wood/salt fired effect. I have two
large coiled pieces in the collection of stuff to be loaded into a kiln
tomorrow. They are the two pieces I am most interested in at this time.
These are bisqued. I have also had good results from some small single fired
pieces. Regards,
Don Prey in Oregon