Monday, December 13, 2010

New York Steak Kiln Cooking Roast for Christmas 2010!

Kiln Cooking a roast in Skutt kilns is exactly the same as cooking it in oven at home. Purchase a whole New York state roast in a cryovac bag. Preheat Cooking kiln to 350 degrees. Rinse the roast and then dry, in the photo above I have been cut in half so it would fit in the pan and cook faster. Season the roast with salt and pepper and perhaps a little garlic, roast in kiln at 350 degrees until it registers 125 degrees on instant read meat thermometer. Let rest for fifteen to 20 minutes. Degrease the pan juices, and serve on the side. because the heat in the cooking kiln comes from all around the roast the juices in the cooking pot do not boil, so they don't splatter.

It is not necessary to start the food at a higher temp to brown it. The side elements in the kiln act as an rotisserie and brown the food evenly.

Disclaimer: Both Skutt Kilns and Paragon Kilns would tell you not to try this. Especially if you fire a lot of lead based glazes. However I am sure my kiln is cleaner than your oven, really go look!

Download the Skutt Kilns Kilnmaster Manual click here (pdf)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Classes Starting July 5th

Learn Pottery techniques with experienced teachers. Express your creativity with therapeutic qualities of clay. Try the potter's wheel or make great functional hand built pottery in a community atmosphere right here at New Mexico Clay. It is fun and educational for Adults and Children.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Changes in the feldspar scene!

Soda Feldspar - Kona F4
There is a supply change in the Soda Feldspar Kona F4. It is not available from the mine any longer due to a fire and mine closure. We will have Minspar 200 available. They are both very close to the F4 in composition. A chemical analysis of the materials is below. (Download data sheet)

Minspar 200 Feldspar

Kona F-4 Feldspar   Sodium Feldspar

CaO 1.50

CaO 1.70


MgO 0.05

K2O 4.10

K2O 4.80

Na2O 6.50

Na2O 6.90

Al2O3 18.50

Al2O3 19.60

SiO2 68.60

SiO2 66.80

Fe2O3 0.06

Fe2O3 0.04

Volatiles % LOI 0.30

Volatiles %  LOI 0.20
                        Minspar 200 was Formerly NC-4 Feldspar.

G200 update From Jeff Zamek Article from Ceramics Technical (November 1, 2009)     (download G200 HD data sheet)

“G-200 felspar, mined by Imerys North America Ceramics, has been discontinued. While there are still stocks in potters' studios and ceramics supply bins it will eventually join Albany Slip, Gerstley borate, Kingman felspar, Oxford felspar, and other materials that have gone out of production. G-200's demise is based on economic considerations that potters do not control. Originally, G-200, as potters know it, was blended at the processing plant by using 70% Minspar 200, a sodium based felspar, and 30% HP G-200, a potassium based felspar. The blended felspars then became G-200 and were shipped throughout the United States.
The increasing costs of shipping Minspar 200 from Spruce Pine, NC and G-200 HP, mined in Siloam, GA, to the processing plant in Monticello, GA, a trip of over 200 miles, made this situation uneconomical. Potters are now faced with either using Custer feldspar in place of or finding a new potassium based felspar.”

Thank you Mr. Zamek I couldn’t have said it better or at all!

Laguna Clay will be blending G-200 so it will be available. G-200HP is the new product and according to Jon Pacini from Laguna the major difference is slightly more fluxing power, similar to (the also defunct) Kingman Feldspar of old.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Got the lead out, now what do i do?

Wow the complaints and panic are coming in daily!

Duncan, Mayco, Gare and Amaco all got the toxic (but loveable) heavy-metal LEAD out of their products. Why? Most people using the glazes didn't know about the lead. Let's put that behind us and see what we can do today to get back to work.

We tested every low-fire clear glaze we could find and after much testing I decided they are equally okay. The problem is that of application, the old glazes you could slap them on and they looked great! Now not so much..


1. Bisque low fire clays to Cone 04, either leave the kiln lid ajar until 800 degrees F or use a vent system. . This is very important as you must burn the carbon out of the clay during the bisque firing so it will not affect the glaze on the glaze firing. Carbon trapped inside the clay comes out as ugly blisters in the glaze on the second firing. Take at least 6 hours for the kiln to fire, faster firing is uneven firing and it takes time for the carbon to burn off.

2. Thin your glaze, mix well and keep mixing as you use it. Use a good brush!!! Apply two even, thin coats. Non-toxic glaze is much less forgiving to application errors. 

3. Glaze fire to Cone 06.
Problems like crazing (crackled glaze) and shivering (glaze falls off pot on cooling) are easily avoided. Follow the RULES! We cannot re-create shivering on our clay bodies unless we bisque to Cone 4 (not 04). Crazing is caused by way underfiring, say to Cone 08 bisque and glaze.

Red Clay is a problem, the lead glazes of the past wetted the clay (as if you got it wet) and this gave us the bright colors we loved. Now we have a tradeoff between a durable glaze (IN1001) and a less durable or softer glaze that gives a little brighter colors. (Mayco's S2100)

Another new problem is that the Talc mine in New York was shut down. All the glaze companies made their traditional underglazes out of this lovely white talc. The only mine left is in Texas and the talc is a dark grey color. All the big companies had to reformulate the clay bodies and underglazes at the same time as we were getting the (forgiving) lead out. Be careful about putting opaque underglazes on bisque without testing. New Mexico Clay has used the Texas Talc for 25 years and so don't have the re-formulating problems.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Well I haven’t tried the Copper Clay yet and I am at home, so I will say a few things about ......
Salad Dressing.
It is very important during the holiday season to make sure to eat enough salad, and having a good homemade dressing makes making a salad even easier.
This salad dressing is a cross between a traditional French vinaigrette and Caesar salad. Kind of. Don't be afraid of the ingredient list as many can be substituted.

In a clean, dry, mini food processer grind up a
1 clove garlic.
1 teaspoon of chopped onion or schallot.
(then add everything except the oil.)
2 anchovy fillets (just do it!)
2 dashes of Tobasco
2 dashes of Worcestershire
1 heaping teaspoon of Mayonnaise
1 teaspoon of Dijon Mustard.
1 Teaspoon of salt (or more)
1/2 Teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 Teaspoon thyme.
3 Tbs. white wine vinegar (Pinot Grigio is good)
Mix well
Add 3 Tbs. of neutral oil like Canola or Grapeseed
Mix well
Add 5 Tbs. of good green fruity Olive Oil.
Mix well.

Taste, if it seems sour add more Canola oil.
Pour into your favorite small Grey Poupon bottle and store in the fridge. Makes about 6 oz for less than one dollar.