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Tony Hansen is the author of Digitalfire Insight, Digitalfire Reference Library and Insight-Live.com, he is a long-time potter, ceramic lab-technician and body and glaze developer.
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I am a potter, researcher, author, software engineer, ceramic lab technician and dreamer. I am fascinated with the process and materials used in ceramics, with discovery and evolutionary development more than I am with the products I make. I have had a long and close association with Plainsman Clays, they have provided me with a well-equipped lab and studio, very flexible working arrangements and free use of anything in the factory and warehouse. In return, I do product development, QC and customer support. I am the author of Digitalfire Insight glaze chemistry software, Digitalfire Reference Library, and Insight-Live.com. I have developed ceramic materials and recipes sold and used around the world for decades, documenting my research publicly for decades.
I love making pottery, but I love the technical side more. I searched for all the test specimens in this 2020 load of cone 10 reduction ware first, then pushed it back in and forgot about it. For three months! I really anticipate the test results (I am developing and adjusting many of bodies and glazes at any given time). The data and pictures for them go into my account at insight-live.com, it enables me to compare the chemistry and physical properties of recipes and materials side-by-side. That teaches me which roads to abandon and which ones to pursue. My last kiln went back in for six weeks, so things are getting worse! If you are wondering, we use the C10RPL firing schedule.
This is my lab work area of mineral, frit, chemical, stain and metal oxide powders for mixing test glazes and clay bodies. Not shown is my propeller mixer, perhaps the most important piece of equipment we have. And my plaster table for dewatering clay body slurries. Building up something like this, over time, is practical for any serious potter, most of these powders are inexpensive. Within minutes I can plan and enter a recipe into my Insight-live.com account, give it a code number, print it and weight it out.
Lower right: Pre-2000. Almost everything I make has code numbers written beside my signature, these index into our group account at insight-live.com where all details are recorded (since the 1980s). Sometimes the numbers simply are the name of a production clay that we are making (e.g. top right is M325), that is part of our standard QC. Often the numbers are for tests being done (e.g. the "L4131"). Sometimes a code number spreads across two lines (e.g. lower left is actually "P6842", that is also a production run). The style of the fluted foot ring (for better draining in the dishwasher) is a tell-tale sign the mug was made by me.
Database software for DOS made by Digitalfire from 1988 until 2005 and was used to by ceramic technicians to catalog recipes, materials, test results and pictures.
A cloud-hosted ceramics-targetted LIMS (lab info management system) where technicians manage, develop, adjust and study their recipes, materials and processes.
A downloadable program for Windows, Mac, Linux for doing classic ceramic glaze chemistry. It has been used around the world since the early 1980s.
YouTube channel for Tony Hansen
Digitalfire Reference Database
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