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was oxidation to look like reduction now give toasters a chance!

updated sat 6 sep 03


Alex Solla on fri 5 sep 03

Karen said a lot in this post, but I want to add another take.
Electric kilns arent bad. They make glazes melt. Those can be good glazes or bad. High temp or low or mid temp. It doesnt care. There is no magic happening in there. Just heat.

When I first converted to c6 after 15 years of cone 10 stoneware and porcelain, I thought it would be real easy. Find a nice midrange clear, modify it to immitate my old glazes and run with it. NOT. Threw out load after load for 2 years. Built a seriously large shard pile in the back of the studio. It wasnt from defects or bad glazes, that part is pretty easy.... see the archives. Must be a million recipes out there now for cone 6 (thank you Ron and John and everyone who thinks c6 is viable!!!).

BUT it wasnt my work.
So I started looking at the glazes and started asking what I wanted. I wanted RICH color. Satin surface. White clay body. Close to vitreous. I wanted simple forms. Single colors. I have personally grown tired of multicolored pots that end up looking more like they are trying too hard to match the wallpaper or sofa than they are celebrating the throwing or glazing experience. Just my personal preferences. So I did something I had never done. I found glazes I liked all by themselves. No double dipping. No layering. All the stuff I had done for YEARS at cone 10, tossed aside. Might come back in a few more years, but for now clean colors made more sense.

When galleries ask what we make,... I have to say, well.... think fiestaware with a twist.
Electric can do it. And easily.

BUT you have to find your pots in the process. Electric kilns are wonderful in their own right. Unlike Karen I do pine for a gas kiln. Not to fire reduction, but for a bigger space, faster firing, slower cooling, and easier loading. I would still aim to fire cone 6. Heck, I like being able to have a 6 hour firing. Easier on my sleep and easier on the wear and tear of a kiln.

In short, make use of what you have. PLAY with it above all else. Find something you like. If you need shino, follow your heart and go gas. Otherwise fall for a faithful toaster and dont ask forgiveness for making good pots.

Alex Solla

karen gringhuis wrote:
Chris -

It's YOUR aesthetic, it's YOUR work and it's YOUR time
and effort. I mean NO offense or criticism in my
comments below.

That said, my response to making ox. look like redtn.
has always been and still is "think this over
carefully." I can't read all the responses to your
query & you obviously hit a hot button judging from
the number of them, but I read Vince and I couldn't
agree more!

My PERSONAL experience is as follows.

I made the transition from redtn. to ox. before I
graduated from Alfred since I knew I would not have a
gas kiln. I built a body of work based on COLOR using
primarily Cerdec inclusion pigments. (The exciting
possibilities of these, and other, colorful glazes
have not been fully explored by me or others, so far
as I can see.)

The resulting functional table top pots sold very very
well in four well-respected venues incl. Lill St. in
Chicago. No, I do not think sales are the sole
criterion of success but public response is not
irrelevant, either. And yes, if someone offers me
space in a gas firing, I am happy to accept - this is
one of the reasons why I fire at C/10; plus I like
the almost subliminal quality of high fire.

People responded so strongly to my work that I have
NEVER pined for a gas kiln or tried to mimic redtn.
looks. I concluded the general public is tired of
BROWN pots. My galleries and private customers still
ask for more of this colorful work. And I attribute
this primarily to COLOR & my coherent point of view
because I am not the world's hottest thrower, etc.

I am thrilled that people want to set their tables
with my work. But this may not thrill YOU. (Alex
Solla, Sylvie Granatelli and Angela Fina may also be
cases in point.)

Meaning NO offense to anyone, IMHO there can be a
definite difference in taste and appreciation of
various firing methods between we POTTERS and the
PUBLIC. Much redtn. & wood-fired work is appreciated
and sells well to the public. BUT sometimes I think we
are talking too much to ourselves and can get swept up
in our own enthusiasms and status hierarchies, missing
other possibilities. (Another example is the current
wood-firing mania which Vince already touched on.)

Some of this enthusiasm comes from the still-pervasive
Japanese/Mingei/Leach influence on this country in
general. My recent exploration and research of
European work (Lucie Rie for starters) have been
eye-opening. There ARE other aesthetic traditions and
modes to be considered.

Shino is my prime example of this. I KILL for a sexy
carbon trapped shino pot. At a show during an NCECA
conference, every shino pot I had was snapped up - by
clay people. David Shaner once commented that he sold
more pots to potters than others - in a way, this is
an ultimate compliment to our work. BUT shino did not
well in my galleries and gallery managers warned me of
this up front. (Hank Murrow, stay calm.)

Just last week, a friend gave me a lovely majolica pot
and the first thing she did was to apologize for
having "only an electric kiln." I hear this FAR TOO
OFTEN and it's usually other clay people to whom we
are apologizing!!! This is ridiculous and it's time to
stop that. We're all in this together.

In summary, my philosophy is "Love the one you're
with." I think you and I may have talked about this
before? If I can help further in any way, please feel
free to ask!

Karen Gringhuis
KG Pottery
Box 607 Alfred NY 14802

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