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.
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In the context of this site the term "code numbered" means that a recipe record has been created in an insight-live.com account and that record has been assigned a unique code number. This is analogous to the unique ID number that typical lab notebook software assigns for new tests. We do not imply meaning in any but the first digit of code numbers we make, they simply need to be unique numbers for unambiguous connection with records in the database.
Labs and studios are typically full of hundreds or even thousands of fired test specimens and their source batches (in jars, bags, pails, etc). When these are uniquely identified with code numbers they have permanent informational value and a place in Insight-live where information about them can be updated. Moreover, each of those records can be a starting point from which more testing work and development can be done.
Code numbers written on test pieces cross-reference them with computer records
Even when fired specimens are photographed and discarded, their code numbers continue to be the link between written records and the pictures and data. And as labels for buckets, bags, boxes, reference samples, etc. And for searching within Insight-live.
Insight-live recommends a code number of format X1234, where "X" is the type of test (e.g. lab test, production mix, glaze, body engobe) and '1234' is a sequential number that increments for each new record you add to the system. For a glaze recipe test, for example, code number your first test as "G0001". After that Insight-live will automatically number the next one as G0002, etc. When all the code numbers have 5 digits like this they sort in order. For development projects, where a glaze is being adjusted in some way, add a suffix (e.g. G0001A, G0001B, etc).
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. Glazed fired pieces can have up to three numbers, the body, engobe and glaze. If something is lacking a number it goes in the garbage because it teaches nothing and is therefore taking up pointless space.
This is being done for SHAB, LOI and DFAC tests. The clay was wedged thoroughly, rolled to 3/8 thickness (using the metal rods as gauges) and then cut to 4 1/4" by 1" bars. Code numbers and specimen numbers are stamped on each (these are needed to enter data into our account at Insight-live). For example, 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 fire cone 06, 04, 03, 02, 01, 1, 2). The data measured from each, including the temperature, will be entered for each bar (specimen). The 12cm dia. disk is being cut from 3/16" thickness. Notice how these clay tears as cut, this is an indication of the low plasticity of this native clay material. And notice the greenish color, that 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 ideal for marking code number and ID information on SHAB test specimens (and many others) while in the plastic form. Set up the run or recipe number on the left and the specimen number on the right. You can find these stamps on Amazon by searching "12 digit rolling alphabet symbol number stamp".
This is an Epson LW-600P (replaced by the LW-PX400 in 2021, but still available on eBay). 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 on to a label (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. We find the yellow 18mm labels work well to display code numbers (the white 22mm for detail). The cartridges snap in in seconds so it is easy to change them. While the printer does support blue-tooth, enabling anyone with a phone to use the device, for routine label-making it works best when USB-connected on a desktop computer (the app works better and there is no waiting).
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.
John Porter’s fired glaze samples are being catalogued
A cloud-hosted ceramics-targetted LIMS (lab info management system) where technicians manage, develop, adjust and study their recipes, materials and processes.
|By Tony Hansen
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