Saturday, January 28, 2012

Not really mastering cone 6 glazes?

One of my duties as artist in residence at Beech Grove is to formulate studio dipping glazes for student use. Now, glaze chemistry has never been my strong point. I've no head for math, and I'm just not a very precise person, so in college I didn't have much luck finding glazes that I liked or had use for. All that repetitive testing just seemed tedious to me, and given the kind of surface treatments I prefer, not very useful. Except now I need that information for a job, and probably will many times in the future. So I better brush up on it, right?

I've always been the kind of person that will happily hit the books (or the internet) if there's something I don't know how to do. I really love learning, and usually pride myself on being able to pick up new skills easily. Several people have recommended Mastering Cone 6 Glazes to me as a really great resource, so I asked for it for Christmas, and I'm just now getting around to cracking it open.

Oh man. I'm slowly starting to think that once you have a baby, your brain just turns to mush and slides right out of your ears.

I woke up yesterday morning, fed Maddy, and after she went back to sleep, I figured I had a couple quiet hours to spare before she woke up again. I thought it would be an excellent time to sit down and finally begin reading this book. Next week being my break, and with my new (currently not working, but fixable) test kiln, I figured it would be the perfect time to get some glaze testing done. I sat down with my cup of coffee, and started reading.

And could barely register a word of it.

I can barely even remember what I read! What is wrong with my brain! I gave up in frustration, but several friends and potters assured me that it was probably not a good morning read, so I tried again in the afternoon (after many cups of coffee). Slightly clearer then, but still daunting.

Don't get me wrong. Clearly there is a lot of good info in this book. The base glaze recipes they include will probably be a lot of help. And they clearly intended this book to be simplistic so that anyone can use it and formulate their own glazes.

But my brain must be broken. Or stuffed with fluff.

Maybe it's just not the sort of thing you should read cover to cover. Maybe I need to look at the appendices and apply some of the practices in studio to really understand what they're talking about.

I know everyone says this a great book. But I can't remember the last time I've felt so stupid!



Danette said...

I think it's better to work through the book a little at a time, than to just try and read it to understand it. I keep meaning to do that myself.

Allison Kruskamp said...

I'm laughing with you! The first time I tried to study up on slip-casting I experienced a week long head ache. The explanations, bullet points, was like reading a rubix cube:-)

ranchonodinero said...

It is a very easily understood book-take it in small steps. I use sticky notes to mark pages/recipes. Get a good scale!