[Clayart] being a chemist

L TURNER magnolia.mud.list at gmail.com
Sun Jan 19 13:36:44 EST 2020

Well said mel.


On Sun, Jan 19, 2020 at 8:40 AM mel jacobson <melpots at mail.com> wrote:

> most of us on this list are potters, or at least
> clay workers.
> there is a great deal to learn, and know. it is the joy of
> being a clay worker, your learning never stops.
> with the advent of computer programming, the ability to
> make glaze and having the needed help is wonderful. but...don't lose
> site of your goal. we are clay workers..potters. not research chemists.
> it can be easy to get carried away. soon you have to wear of white lab
> coat to make glaze, or like the fools that wear japanese cloths in their
> studios...`hey pal, the clothes do not make the pots`.
> i have been blessed, along with clayart to have ron roy and joe koons as
> friends and co-workers.  when i struggled, they came and got me going
> again.
> nils lou was a very knowledgeable fellow with technology.
> in many ways, having help with the chemistry and glaze making, allowed me
> to concentrate on kilns, plans and ideas. that led to my (our) book on kiln
> construction. you just cannot do it all with expert skill.
> i preach with a tent ministers zeal to learn, understand and work with all
> the phases of ceramics. learn what you can...just don't buy ready made in a
> jar. or have your entire pottery delivered in boxes.
> we have been blessed on clayart to have such fine glaze experts like ron,
> bill schran
> with cystals, hank murrow and and of course carol marians..and a dozen
> other experts to guide us. but, do not be intimidated
> with a sense that you have `no answers`...you feel like a first grader. if
> that happens, then
> what we are doing is a negative. you do not have to have a masters degree
> in chem to make
> pots. and reading a book full of recipes is not mastering glaze. you have
> to know the how and
> why...as ron and john have done for us for years.  one of my fondest
> memories is having malcom davis
> give us 39 shino recipes and to learn they were almost all the same.
> basically two chemical
> formulas, with 37 names...soda ash, firing technique, layers and reduction
> made all the difference.
> that is called `technique` with the recipe. and, the KILN as a rather full
> story to tell us about glaze.
> chemistry is the first step to glaze...the final word is the kiln, the
> temperature and the atmosphere.
> that is when the cream rises to the top.
> those that have advanced degrees in science are here to help us, guide us
> through what is
> necessary to be a fine producer of well glazed pots. i admire them, and
> thank them..but as
> i say...`they may not want to get into the arena of design or painting.
> there are world class
> designers on this list that are artists, not science majors`. that
> expertise is admired too.
> so, just a reminder if you feel left out not knowing what is going on with
> titanium, does not
> mean you are stupid.
> mel
> website: www.melpots.com
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