|Monthly Tech-Tip |
This is actually quite easy to do: Just wedge the clay over the manganese spread out on the board, when the board is clean turn the slug sideways and cut and layer about 20 times (to get 1 million layers). Then wedge normally. Only 0.2% manganese is needed (as a percentage of the dry clay). Since pugged clay contains 20% water it is easy to calculate the dry weight of this piece. For example, suppose this weighs 2 kg: 80% of that is 1.6 kg or 1600g. 0.2% of 1600 is 3.2 grams. Shown is the kind of mug I get. The outside glaze is G2934Y silky matte (opacified with tin) and inside glaze is G2926BW glossy white. It was fired at cone 6 using the PLC6DS schedule.
This is M340S with G2934 matte white outside and G2926B glossy white inside. Consider what can go wrong. White matte glazes tend to crawl. No wait - they love to crawl! This would happen on every single mug unless I add CMC gum to make it a base coat to adhere well to the bisque (the tin oxide version is worse than zircopax). The clay has granular manganese added to produce the speck, if accidentally over-fired, even half a cone, it will bloat. And the clay body: The outer glaze is ugly on dark-burning clays. And it is drab on porcelains. It does not even look good on this same body if the speckle is not there. Another difficulty: Controlling the degree of matteness. I blend in about 20% of the glossy, otherwise it would fire too matte. And the firing schedule: PLC6DS - its drop-and-hold step is critical, without it the surface would be full of pinholes. Another problem: If the kiln is heavily loaded and cools slower than the programmed ramp-down, the surface will be too matte. Finally, glaze thickness: If it is too thin it will look washed out and ugly. Too thick it will bubble and look pasty.