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Ravenscrag Cone 6 Floating Blue

Code: GR6-M
Modification Date: 2018-05-03 16:30:45
Member of Group: RV6

Plainsman Cone 6 Ravenscrag Slip based version of the popular floating blue recipe. It can be found among others at http://ravenscrag.com.

MaterialAmountPercent
Ravenscrag Slip40.034.5%
Ravenscrag Slip 1000F Roast39.033.6%
Ferro Frit 313420.017.2%
Ferro Frit 312410.08.6%
Additions
Iron Oxide2.01.7%
Cobalt Oxide1.00.9%
Rutile4.03.4%
 116.00  

Notes

David Shaner's cone 6 floating blue has been used for many years by thousands of potters. However the base (the clear to which the colorants are added) is 50:30:20 Nepheline Syenite:Gerstley Borate:Silica. It has serious issues (including slurry gelling because of the partially soluble Gerstley Borate and Nepheline Syenite, consistency and supply issues with Gerstley Borate, susceptibility to blistering and higher thermal expansion because of the high feldspar content). Almost all users have thus have had a love-hate relationship with the recipe.

In this alternative base recipe we have transplanted the iron, cobalt and rutile into a the 80:20 Ravenscrag:Frit base (and added more frit to get more action in the crystal development and variegation). This base eliminates the solubility and consistency issues and produces a glaze of lower thermal expansion.

Although more expensive to make than the Alberta Slip Rutile Blue (because of the cobalt), this one produces the rich blue without needing the slow-cooling firing schedule.

This recipe originally had 80 parts raw Ravenscrag powder but we have adjusted it to 40:39 raw:roast (according to instructions at ravenscrag.com). Feel free to tune the raw:roast mix to get the exact slurry properties you want. More roast makes the slurry shrink less, dry faster and more powdery; more raw makes it shrink more and dry harder.

Adjust the specific gravity to about 1.44 (add some epsom salts to flocculate it if needed) to get a thixotropic slurry. It is important not to use this with too high of a specific gravity. Although it will be fluid and appear good at 1.5, it will apply to ware too thickly. To get 1.44 specific gravity use about 100 parts powder to 105 parts water.

A much better Cone 6 Floating Blue

A much better Cone 6 Floating Blue

GR6-M Ravenscrag Cone 6 Floating Blue on Plainsman M340 buff stoneware. This glaze also has this variegated visual character on porcelain. Because it has the GR6 base recipe (more information at ravenscrag.com), the slurry has very good working properties in the studio, it is a pleasure to use. This is an excellent showcase for the variegating mechanism of rutile.

Ravenscrag Floating Blue vs. Alberta Slip Rutile Blue

Ravenscrag Floating Blue vs. Alberta Slip Rutile Blue

Cone 6 oxidation. GR6M Ravenscrag version is on the left. The Alberta Slip version (GA6C) is more fluid, but that also means it will run more during firing and blister more if too thick or on re-firing. Generally, the Alberta Slip version appears better on dark bodies and the Ravenscrag one on lighter burning clays. The Alberta Slip version gets its color only from Rutile (and thus requires a special drop-and-hold firing scheduel), the Ravenscrag one produces blue in any firing schedule (although the color will be better in the drop-and-hold schedule).

Better melting gives Ravenscrag Floating Blue more zip!

Better melting gives Ravenscrag Floating Blue more zip!

GR6-M Ravenscrag cone 6 Floating Blue (center) on Plainsman M340, a buff burning body. On the left is a version having 80:20 Ravenscrag:Frit 3134 (no extra 10% Frit 3124). On the right is GR6-M on porcelain (where the floating effect has been largely lost). It appears the effect benefits from the iron it finds (albeit not much) in the stoneware body.

How can you make Ravenscrag Floating Blue dance more?

How can you make Ravenscrag Floating Blue dance more?

Here it is fired to cone 8 where the melt obviously has much more fluidity! The photo does not do justice to the variegation and crystallization happening on this surface. Of course it is running alot more, so caution will be needed.

Ravenscrag Floating Blue on Polar Ice and M370 at Cone 6

Ravenscrag Floating Blue on Polar Ice and M370 at Cone 6

These are from the same firing, glazed at the same time and are the same thickness. The floating blue effect is a fragile mechanism and affected even by the small color difference in these bodies. The small amount of extra iron in the M370 affects the glaze character more than expected.

Ravenscrag Cone 6 Floating Blue on porcelain and a red stoneware

Ravenscrag Cone 6 Floating Blue on porcelain and a red stoneware

The insides are GA6-A Alberta Slip cone 6 base. Outsides are Ravenscrag Floating Blue GR6-M. The firing was soaked at cone 6, dropped 100F, soaked again for half and hour then cooled at 108F/hr until 1400F. The speckles on the porcelain blue glaze are due to agglomerated cobalt oxide (done by mixing cobalt with a little bentonite, drying and pulverizing it into approx 20 mesh size and then adding that to the glaze slurry).

Ravenscrag Cone 6 Floating Blue on buff stoneware

Ravenscrag Cone 6 Floating Blue on buff stoneware

The clay is Plainsman M340. Unlike Alberta Slip floating blue, this version does contain a little cobalt to help guarantee the blue color.

A black engobe transforms the floating blue glaze over it

A black engobe transforms the floating blue glaze over it

M340 stoneware fired to cone 6 (drop-and-hold schedule). The L3954B engobe fires deep black (it has 10% Mason 6600 black stain instead of the normal 10% Zircopax). It was applied inside and partway down the outside (a much less messy process than using a black clay body). They were bisque fired and glazed inside using the base GA6A Alberta Slip amber clear (using Frit 3195). The outside glaze is Alberta Slip Rutile Blue (you are seeing it on the bare buff body near the bottoms and over the black clay surface on the uppers). To learn more about how to make the engobe and start making black pots click "Product Data Sheets" at PlainsmanClays.com and go to the section on Medium Temperature.

Ravenscrag cone 6 floating blue thinner and thicker applications

Ravenscrag cone 6 floating blue thinner and thicker applications

The body is red-burning Plainsman M390. The firing was dropped and soaked at 2100F for 30 minutes and then dropping at 300F/hr to 1400F. This really helps to produce a dazzling defect free surface. These are, of course, mix-your-own recipes and the pieces were dipped to get perfectly even coverage.

Close-up of Floating Blue on cone 6 dark/buff burning bodies

Close-up of Floating Blue on cone 6 dark/buff burning bodies

Originally popularized by James Chappell in the book The Potter's Complete Book of Clay and Glazes. It is loved and hated. Why? The high Gerstley Borate content makes it finicky. But the magic ingredient is not the GB, it is the rutile, Rutile makes the cobalt and iron dance. This recipe actually produces a number of different mechanisms of variegation. Color and opacity vary with thickness. Small rivulets of more fluid glass flow around more viscous phases producing micro-areas of differing colors and opacities. Titanium crystals sparkle and calcium-borate creates opalescence. Bubbles of escaping gases (from GB) have created pooling. Small black speckles from unground or agglomerated particles of iron are also present. Surprise! This is actually Ravenscrag Floating blue. All the visuals, none of the headaches.

Ravencrag rutile blue vs. Alberta Slip floating blue at cone 6

Ravencrag rutile blue vs. Alberta Slip floating blue at cone 6

Both have been applied at moderate thickness on Plainsman M325 (using a slurry of about 1.43-1.45 specific gravity, higher values end up getting them on too thick). The Ravenscrag version highlights contours better (the edges are black because of the black engobe underneath). It also produces the blue color whether or not the kiln is slow cooled to 1400F (although a faster cool is less blue). But the Alberta Slip version has zero cobalt so is less expensive to make. It produces a deeper color over the black engobe underneath the upper section of the pieces. Both of these produce a wide range of effects with different thickness, bodies and firing schedules.

Out Bound Links

In Bound Links

XML to Paste Into Insight

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By Tony Hansen




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