|Monthly Tech-Tip |
In a ceramics lab, studio or classroom specimens of hundreds of glazes and bodies may be present. A code numbering system that links these to written or computer records is essential.
With no testing there is no development and improvement. Record keeping is essential when you are trying new recipes or doing formulation, adjustment or trouble shooting projects. But without good observation and record keeping little will be learned from the work done. It is amazing how strange a glaze test can look a couple of weeks after doing (it if you have no records)! Even hobby potters who use bottled commercial glazes find themselves testing dozens, or even hundreds of body/glaze or glaze/glaze combinations. Likewise, plant technicians at manufacturing facilities find themselves constantly testing new offerings by suppliers. Even if you have not organized your testing and thus find yourself drowning in a mountain of test specimens already done, it is never too late to catch up.
The new ceramics is about data! Everything here has a code number (in the form x1234) that members of our team can search in our group account at insight-live.com. We write the numbers on the bottoms of pots, plastic bags of powders/liquids/pugged, buckets, glaze balls, mix tickets, test bars, tiles, glaze samples, drying tests, flow tests, sieve analyses, LOI/water content tests, etc. Many pots have two numbers, the body and the glaze. If something is lacking a number it goes in the garbage because it teaches nothing and is therefore taking up pointless space.
The clay was wedged thoroughly, rolled to 3/8 thickness (using the metal rods as gauges) and cut to 4 1/4" long by 1" wide bars. Code numbers and specimen numbers are stamped on each bar (these are needed to enter data into Insight-live). For examle, notice that the bars have specimen numbers from 1 to 6. These will be fired at six different temperatures (for a low temperature body, for example, we fired cone 06, 04, 03, 02, 01, 1, 2). The data measured from each, including the temperature, will be entered for the specimen to which it pertains in the Insight-live recipe corresponding to the code number stamped on this bars. The 12cm dia. disk is being cut from 3/16" thickness. Notice how the clay tears as cut, this is an indication of low plasticity. The greenish color is typical of terra cotta clays.
If you are doing testing, and everyone should be testing body and glaze variations, then your ware needs to be identified. Do that with a code number that cross references into your documentation in your account at Insight-live.com.
This type of stamp is deal for stamping mix and ID information on SHAB (and many other test types) clay test bars. Set up the run or recipe number on the left and the specimen number on the right.
This is an Epson LP-600. It generates durable water-proof labels that are perfect for identifying buckets and jars of materials and glazes. Apps are available for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac. You can insert a QRCode (perfect for taking someone to an SDS or information page). Insight-live emphasizes assigning unique code numbers to all recipes you create and maintain, this is the perfect way to prominently display it. Label containers like this and there will never be confusion about what things are.
Side-by-side presentation. That’s the best. But I magine if you could put, side by side; the recipes, pictures, notes, data, of any recipe test you had ever done. Even results of testing you did on commercial prepared glazes and glaze combinations. And be able to link, search, print, share them. That’s what you do in Insight-live. Pottery has always been about the data, we just let that information die before! Now we can learn so much more from it. Photo courtesy of Brielle Rovito, Burlington, Vermont, USA.
A database website where potters and ceramic technician account holders enter their recipes, materials, pictures, test procedures, firing schedules, etc.