Question:

What is reduction?

How to make Paperclay

Paperclay is a wonderful material for making ceramic sculptures. It has improved qualities over normal clay. When fired the paper burns away, leaving a lightweight but strong ceramic structure behind. Here's How: Soak about 200 gms newspaper per kilo clay. Make some clay slip from your favorite earthenware or mid-fire clay. Mix the two with a ratio of about 1:4 parts paper pulp and clay slip with a drill mixer attachment. Pour the slop mixture onto a plaster bat or table for drying. When ready, wedge. Store in thick plastic bags. Tips: Shredded paper is ideal for making paperclay. Paperclay is suitable for handbuilding, not throwing. Mold in stored paperclay will improve its workability.
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Rose-colored, crackled semi matt

Rose-colored, crackled semi matt

It is a pleasant semi matt rose glaze with a good crackle pattern. 1270oC with half an hour of oxidation at top temperature. Not too thick or thin. Works sometimes well on top of a Peachbloom in a second firing. Then it can give very sharp dark red spots.

nepheline syenite 36,70
barium carbonate 6,40
quartz (flint) 27,50
zinc oxide 3,70
whiting 22,1
Rose-colored, crackled semi matt 0

Stacking and lighting

Additional notes on Pit Firing
Preheat your work ( bisque or green ) around the edge of a fire until the pieces are too HOT to handle by hand.

Quickly stack the kiln over hot coals with at least of 4 to 6 inches of fuel, wood 2 to 3 inches in diameter. Juniper is best, then cat claw, pine is not bad -- never use oak. This wood should be very dry. If you have dung available, you can use that as it will give you a firing to around 1100o F. Dung burns hotter and longer than wood, but it was not used in prehistoric times.

The kiln should be covered with 2 to 4 inch diameter wood and dung to at least twelve inches thick. It will be smoking and flaming a bit at this point, the whole kiln must be stacked and fueled within 3 to 5 minutes, before it bursts into full flame.

NO fuel may be added after the initial stacking and ignition of the fuel, as it will take energy from the burning fire and reduce the temperature.

If you have straw bales available, put sheaths on as a final covering just as the kiln ignites fully, it will help keep in the heat and aid in a bit of soaking (being mostly silica, it forms a bit of a blanket over the kiln.)

This firing will be over in less than an hour. Mica is a good addition to the clay body as a good refractory. Saw dust as grog will aid in 'internal firing'. (Mimbres ceramics may well have had vegetable materials in it.)

Post fire reduction

Pots may be pulled out when still at 400o F and refired in an open area with Creasote Bush bundles in the interior and loose open fire of Juniper or Cat Claw on exterior for nice interior smudges, just like the Mogollon wares of the 1300's.

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