I am finally back to continue my life story.
I had a good 2 weeks in Holland and saw my family, especially my middle son, Maarten, who turned 22 years old. We went sailing that day and had real Dutch weather: heavy clouds, rain, wind, thunder, and luckily also some sun.
Then to America, San Diego, to see my oldest son, Roland, to celebrate the 4th of July, National Holiday. And a couple of days later, back home to Los Altos where my youngest son, Arjan, was vacationing for a little bit. He is now in Europe preparing with the US Junior National Water Polo team for the World Championships this August in Los Angeles.
I started working right away when I came home and with my husband, Adriaan, we made some special devices.
We made this pully, so, I can lower the can over the hot plate, so it won’t cool off too fast and will perhaps not crack!
Another pulley is attached to the lid of the electric kiln.
It is especially handy, it makes it easier and lighter to open the kiln. You can open it up half way to have less heat loss and it will stay in that position without falling back.
This is the wire with two bars in between which can slide. The length of the wire is about 6 feet or 2 meters.
We are preparing the wire so not to waste any time when we open the kiln for heat loss. The kiln is between 1100-1300 Fahrenheit or 600-700 Celsius degrees. The horsehair will still burn nicely. You get an array of colors spraying the ferric chloride. And of course less thermal shock.
You put the two loops together and are able to lift the plate out of the kiln.
I put the plate on a wheel covered with refractory bricks.
Then I lower the can over the plate and hope for the best not to hear a crack sound.
I had some big losses. That goes with this kind of risky work.
You want to minimize the thermal shock: the stress when its surfaces are exposed to contrasting temperatures at the same time, which can mean cracking as a result of rapid temperature change. Ceramic objects are particularly vulnerable to this form of failure, due to their low toughness, low thermal conductivity, and high thermal expansion coefficients. If you would like to read more about it, go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_shock.
Lowering the can all the way.
Then spraying with ferric chloride. I want to glaze this plate, so, I don’t put on any horsehair at this point. Glaze will not stick on the horsehair. But I want brown color underneath the glaze, because only spraying on the glaze doesn’t give enough color. It will give a beautiful iridescent sheen.
I lower the can again and may repeat this several times.
This all happens really fast, because otherwise the plate cools too fast to work with it anymore.
A last touch up.
I wear a mask for the dangerous fumes of the ferric chloride. My arms are covered with old socks. Of course, you can wear a long sleeved shirt. We wear big gloves for the heat and underneath I wear this plastic glove to be able to start working right away with the ferric chloride and not to get it on my hands. The bottle will leak. We also put a fan nearby to blow away the fumes when I spray.
This is the final result:
Sun Horsehair Plate.
17,5″/44cm x 2,5″/6cm
(Click on image)