Sunday, 19 March 2017

Post 235 Growing moss

Growing moss seems to be one of the supporting tasks a lot of bonsai enthusiasts take on. When you need it, it can be hard to find, so often better to grow your own. I have a number of seed propagation trays filled with a gritty heavy mix which I normally use and the moss grows well as long as it has plenty of water and strong light.
As an experiment at the start of the summer months ago I pulled up a few pads of moss growing on the tops of some of my bonsai pots. I put these onto a glazed ceramic tile and placed the tile on one of my bonsai benches. The moss received many hours of direct sunlight every day and was exposed to the same watering as my trees - which has been twice a day in the heat of summer. Suffice to say the moss has thrived.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Post 234 New pots

Another post of recently fired pots;

Pot No 277 is a small oval in satin brown glaze. Size 275 x 215 x 58.

Pot No 278 is a semi cascade pot with a diameter of 125 and height of 185. The glaze is an attractive lighter brown with finely detailed speckling which breaks up the colour.

Pot No 279, an oval 273 x 195 x 65 has convex fluted walls and is glazed in a 'cast iron' coloured glaze. Its a good simulation in both colour and and surface finish. This is a glaze I found and re-formulated years ago but have never used on a pot - but will again.

This is a detailed shot of Pot 279

Pot No 280 is another oval in a newer style, brown glaze, 330 x 245 x 62.

Pot No 281 is another new oval model with the glaze referenced in the last post A nice pot. 319 x 246 x 62

Pot No 282 is a bowed wall rectangular pot, 357 x 245 x 80, with just the slightest of bow, and rounded corners. This is another new model which when executed with slightly heavier slabs holds its position nicely. With this model I'm getting back to a style of pot which was one of the first I made when I started with plaster press moulds.

This is a front view of the same pot.

Pot No 283 is another in the style of Pot 281. This one executed in the same glaze as the semi cascade. 325 x 242 x 63

Pot No 284 is a nice little convex walled oval in a breaking beige glaze. 267 x 190 x 60

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Post 233 New pots for 2017

Its been quite some time since I've posted pictures of new pots on the blog. And having set up to get some pictures, I now realize that there were a number of commission pots that were picked up hot from the kiln and I missed the chance for a picture. So there are a couple of gaps but all the pots here were fired in 2017.

The first is Pot No 268 a rectangular rimmed, bowed wall rectangular pot which is 360 x 250 x 80. Brown glazed including the feet.

Pot No 269 is made in the same pattern and came out to pretty much the same dimensions. This is a much used bronze brown glaze that breaks up into a range of tones depending on the glaze depth. Feet glazed as well, which is now a feature I follow pretty religiously for brown or darker coloured pots.

This is an elevated view of Pot No 269 to show the shape.

I will be doing a potting demo up on the stage with Marc Neolanders (no pressure!) at the annual national AABC convention in Brisbane in May, so I've been busy hammering out some new pots for my trade table. I'm hoping to sell a few of my books and pots and might even hock a few trees.

I have been thinking again recently about the deformation that occurs in firing to vitrification. I'd like to be able to get my hands on some powdered and fully fired stoneware to add to clay for another set of deformation trials. Such a material is just not available in our market place. I recently sanded some bisque, collected the dust and fired the dust to completion. Then incorporated it 50/50 with some fresh clay to make a small billet to test. More on that later. From a material science point of view a heavier wall is stronger and less subject to bending, but how much? The answer is that any deflection is inversely proportional to the wall thickness cubed. That is if you double the thickness of a member it will deform one eighth  (2^3) under the same load. So if you make a wall 20% to 25% heavier then any deformation might be reduced to around 50% to 60% (1/1.2^3) of the original wall thickness. On the basis of this observation I have decided to beef up the wall thickness of my pots by 20% to 25%. These 2017 pots show the impact of that decision and so far I am happy with the result.

This is Pot No 270 is a new oval pattern and profile. It has a rounded rim and lower rib, both set more within the wall of the pot, with limited projection. Dimensions are 375 x 280 x 69. This makes for a more subtle impression but at the same time offers visual interest. The glaze on this pot is one from my second glaze trial series, out of 9 completed. I've used it a couple of times previously in 2014 and 2016. This time I took the iron oxide from 1% to 1.5%. It is a very pretty glaze - one I'd almost lost track off but will be using much more often. Most of my glazes are very well behaved and stay where they are put. This one  shows just enough movement to break the surface. If I do say so myself, after 270 pots and five years, that this is one of the nicest pots I've made and will be reluctant to part with it.

Oval Pot No 271 was commissioned for a Melaleuca group planting. It is a simple unglazed oval at 375 x 290 x 63. The clay fires to a pleasant biscuit colour which should complement the paper-bark colour nicely.

Pot No 272, an oval pot, was made with the same mold and profile as Pot 270 above. It makes for an attractive pot. The dimensions are similar at 380 x 290 x 66. This light brown glaze has an ideal surface finish and great tone.

Pot No 274 is another oval pot but a little smaller at 325 x 240 x 60. It has a little more slope on the wall but the same impressed rim and rib detail. The glaze is another of my popular series 9 browns. When I glaze the feet I also do the inner visible surface of the feet so that when in use there is no sight of the lighter biscuit toned unglazed ceramic surface. This then carries the simulation of a dark clay made unglazed pot.

Pot No 275 is a small oval with concave wall, rectangular rim and lower rib. An attractive design for a small pot in a darker brown glaze. 280 x 210 x 57.

The last one for this post is Pot No 276 a small simple oval pot. It is 240 x 182 x 50 and glazed in a nickel based glaze that sometimes is off-white and sometimes takes on a subtle green undertone. Its not called fickle nickel for nothing.  A nice little very usable pot. More pots to come.......