With the glaze thoroughly dry, thefour spheres were loaded into theraku kiln and fired to 1800ºF. Whenthe glazed surface on the spheresappeared glassy, the kiln was turnedoff, the lid was removed, and, inquick succession, each sphere wasrapidly pulled and placed into fourseparate, but identical, galvanizedtrashcans. Three cans were filled
full with newspaper, grass clippingsand leaves respectively, and a fourthcan was filled half full of sawdustsince the density of sawdust pre-vents the sphere from submerginginto the combustible.When each combustible burst intoflames, we waited 10 seconds beforesealing the can with the lid. The
The leaves had minimal effect on reduction. The dry leaves were stiff anddid not compress as readily as the newspaper, and there were pockets of oxygen, more than the other combustibles tested. During reduction, theavailability of oxygen caused the copper to turn green. The leaves did notburst into flames with the same intensity as the newspaper; instead, it wasmore of a gradual build, igniting approximately half of the leaves. Leavesare similar to paper regarding surface contact—virtually no affect on theglazed surface. The glaze displayed a green mottling on the thick applica-tion but not on the thin application. Slight reduction occurred near the bot-tom of the sphere on the glazed areas. This is a result of the weight of thesphere pressing into the leaves and smothering out the oxygen.
I understand why newspaper is a preferred combustible choice—verystrong reduction. Paper burns rapidly upon contact with the fired clay sur-face. The quicker ignition removes the oxygen rapidly from the air provid-ing a strong reduction atmosphere. Less oxygen results in flashes of redfrom the copper in the glaze. Paper is a flexible material and compresses eas-ily allowing a lot of paper to be packed into a can for a maximumoxygen burn-off. The paper left minimal markings on the final glaze sur-face. The surface showed no discernible difference between thethick and thin applications of glaze, and nearly all the paper that was in thecan was ignited.
Placing sphere into a can of combustibles.
• July/August 2006
Del Favero Luster
Gerstley Borate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .80%Cornwall Stone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20100%Add: Copper Carbonate . . . . . . . . . . .2%
Note: Del Favero Luster settles very quickly, so it’simportant to remix the glaze preceding each dip.