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Magnesium Matte Glaze Tests

Tim Carlson August 3, 2011


Conventions in these notes: Here, as in all my notes, the units used are by weight unless specied otherwise (e.g. 1tsp Sodium Silicate). Some may complain that the recipes included are in parts by weight which have not been normalized. A problem I nd is that in practice, all one needs to reproduce a specic glaze is the correct proportion of parts and the same kiln and ring schedule. Ha! Well, at least the correct proportions and a close approximation to the same ring schedule are achievable. Another problem I have is: what normalization do I use? Normalization to 100% overall by weight? Or normalization of the halides to a molecular proportion of 1?1 For all the glazes listed in my notes, we red to cone 10 (10) in reduction using a Bailey Downdraft 10ft3 kiln, though to be honest, the ring is more of a soft 11.2 The schedule which we red is approximately given by: neutral up to a Shino/body reduction, re strong reduction through to 9, tapering the reduction to neutral at 10 with a neutral soak for 20 minutes. The humidity we re in is fairly low, and is mentioned here since it has a lesser eect on the reduction environment in the kiln (I apologize that the actual humidity %, nor the barometric pressure are recorded here for reproduction eorts).
Some day, when I feel the urge to do a more complete analysis, I will provide a molecular proportion analysis as an appendix; currently, I am much more focused on the reproduction of colors and textures which requires the simplicity of testing, testing, testing. 2 I would list peak temperature, but the major factor in maturity of the clay body as well as the glaze is the amount of heat energy which is applied to the materials inside the kiln; here is the main reason for using pyrometric cones. The cones are a simple, reasonably accurate measure of the heat energy which has been supplied to the materials in the kiln.
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First Magnesium mattes

Since I am a sucker for simplicity, especially with numbers, a cone 10 (10) magnesium matte glaze I found on the web really appealed to me. The one I found is: Kona Spar 20 Soda Spar 20 Whiting 20 Dolomite 20 Kaolin 20 Very simple numerically, and low in complexity of ingredients, but it seemed to be a little low in magnesium for my tastes3 . So, I tried testing this as a base glaze, but I just couldnt help myself with the question regarding; What if.... In the rst magnesium matte base glaze I attempted, I replaced all the soda spar with Kona spar (a potassium spar), cut the Whiting in half and substituted Strontium Carbonate instead. Since the glaze seemed a little low in magnesium and especially since I was using a more active (lower temperature melting) feldspar, I thought that the addition of 10 parts magnesium carbonate would stien the glaze and add matte-ness to the glaze. Who knows? So, the base glaze I rst tried is: Mag Matte Base 1 Kona Spar 40 Whiting 10 Strontium Carbonate 10 Dolomite 20 Kaolin 20 Magnesium Carb 10
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Though I should try it in the future for completeness

In the picture to the left is a sample of the base glaze. It turned slightly purple-pink where thick; note the mottling as well. Possibly from incomplete mixing, but also maybe from the introduction of strontium carbonate. Replace with whiting? Also, since the strontium was an impromptu replacement of some whiting, possibly reducing the strontium in half is more accurate according to the molar mass comparison with whiting. So my thinking here (quite erroneously, as I found), was that cobalt and chrome oxide had minimal color interaction with the melt they were in, that is, they remained blue and green respectively with only slight color modications due to the solvent they were in. So I tested the base glaze, cobalt carbonate, and chrome oxide. 1. Cobalt colorant.

Mag Matte Base 1 Kona Spar

100 40

With the addition of 1.5% Cobalt Carbonate, the magnesium-cobalt interaction produces a sparkly matte dark purple.

2. Chrome colorant.

Mag Matte Base 1 Kona Spar

100 40

In this test, .8% Chrome oxide was introduced, producing the mottled puke-green / brown shown.

A question Im interested in is; could the replacement of 10 whiting for the 10 strontium reduce the mottling eect?

More Magnesium Mattes

These tests addressed the question above about the substitution of Strontium Carbonate in place of Whiting. Notice that the new base glaze recipe below is the same except for the lack of use of Strontium. All these glazes were striking in that they behaved as a fake ash glaze. In order to produce a magnesium matte, the viscosity needs to be increased as well as a slight reduction in the surface tension. Mag Matte Base 2 Kona Spar 40 Whiting 20 Dolomite 20 Kaolin 20 Magnesium Carb 10 I apologize that there is no test tile of the base glaze for the Magnesium Matte Base 2.

1. Iron colorant. Test tile C.

Mag Matte Base 2 Iron Oxide

100 2

Surprisingly, the 2 parts iron oxide produced a pleasant yellow with dark green crystals in areas of thicker buildup.

2. Iron colorant. Test tile D.

Mag Matte Base 2 Iron Oxide

100 10

Here, the 10 parts iron oxide produced as expected a dark brown, almost temmoku appearance fake-ash style glaze.

3. Rutile colorant. Test tile E.

Mag Matte Base 2 Rutile

100 3

This tile produced a yellow fake-ash with a grey/white background.

4. Copper colorant. Test tile F.

Mag Matte Base 2 Copper Carbonate

100 2

Not too surprisingly, the 1.5 parts of copper carb produced a dark green glaze, though it is a fake-ash.

5. Iron Chromate colorant. Test tile G.

Mag Matte Base 2 Iron Chromate

100 2

Here, the 2 parts iron chromate produced an interesting mottling of brown/grey which seemed slightly less runny than the other tests.

6. Cobalt colorant. Test tile H.

Mag Matte Base 2 Cobalt Carbonate

100 2

The 2 parts Cobalt Carbonate was used to look for contrast with the previous1 Mag matte cobalt test. Here, this one produced a subtle purple/lavender fake-ash glaze, which is strikingly dierent from the previous.

Open Questions:
1. What would Nickel do as a colorant in either of these two base glazes? 2. Would more mag carb ( 20 total) make this (Mag Matte Base 2) a matte glaze rather than an ash glaze? 3. Are the crystals which were produced in the rst mag matte a consequence of the ring or the use of strontium or some other unknown? Need more tests... 4. What would the replacement of Whiting with Strontium Carb do in these base glazes? 5. What would the introduction of titanium do to either of these two base glazes? 6. Increase the Kaolin to stien the glaze?