This talk, by Andrew Carran, is the beginning of a project for members to gather soils from around Christchurch / Canterbury to make glazes. Andrew is a retired geologist who has worked in many countries around the world and he likes to make glazes from soils that he finds around Chc. Halswell and Lyttelton, to name a couple, were on display.
The project goes from here; members, who have signed up, will spend the next two weeks looking for appropriate soils. Much of the soil around Chc and up on Banks Peninsula is Loesse; this soil is approximately 50% silica, 25% aluminium and the remaining 25% is various oxides, carbonates and trace minerals. Mud flats, of a sticky, muddy nature, are also a good potential source of 'interesting' soil. Any soils gathered will be dried and where possible ground down to small particles ready to be made into a glaze.
First we started with a very busy clubnight which was very informative with lots of glaze samples, soil maps of the greater Christchurch region and lots and lots of information, so much to take in.
Six of us and Andrew got together to work on our own glaze projects. We had soils, sands, loess and clays from the harbours to Gore Bay and all the way to the Craigieburn Ranges. We started with preparing our particular base material by breaking it up and siveing it into very fine particles.
Lunch was a wee outing to a lookout overlooking the Canterbury plains. Andrew shared stories about the old brick works in town, where the raw materials came from and clay works in a number of different locations in the distant foothills of the Southern Alps; a highlight of day one.
Then it got pretty messy, with measuring, mixing, adjusting our glazes and glazing many test tiles. We are now in the process of firing our glazes to Cone 5/6, Cone 7/8 and Cone 9 before we potentially adjust them some more to desired outcomes. Can't wait to see all out test tiles. Photographs of the work, so far, are attached. We'll have the test tiles and other work some time in the near future.
The Secretary and Members - Mt Pleasant Pottery Group.