Potters & Sculptors - Making Rock from Mud
Does anyone use the little test sized sieves when mixing small test batches? I have found that sometimes that I get spotting or irregular runs when I use only a hand blender for small test batches. The same recipes don't get this when I mix a full batch and use the proper sieves. Do you find the small sieves useful? Or do you use a homemade version? Other?
i find those little sieves very useful. i can place them over a yogurt cup and use a soft rubbber spatula to press the material thru. i usually do it twice to make sure i have all material pushed thru. i use either the 60 or 80 mesh to get decent results
We have a 100 mesh and a more annoying 120 mesh which we use for large batches and small batches of glaze over a bowl or a bucket.
1.) Wollastonite is always problematic because it's fibrous so takes quite a while to get through any mesh, and doesn't respond to a blender.
2.) Even clays can leave lumps after mixing with a stick blender. I just made some wet clay into colored slip with a stick blender two days ago and I can still see the occasional tiny lump, smaller than a peppercorn, as I stir the slip.
3.) Bentonites need to be well mixed with the other dry ingredients prior to adding the dry mix to water, otherwise you'll be spending a lot of time with the sieve. Bentonites wet faster with hot water.
If you want to use chemistry to solve the problem without a sieve, use a wetting agent like liquid Tide detergent to your glaze mix.
Thanks for your replies. I didn't see them where I usually order my clay from but see them at a few of the other online shops. I ran a small 200 gr test through a large sieve last week but it seemed that almost as much glaze was left in the sieve and big bowl as was left for testing, so will put a little one on my shopping list.
I hadn't heard of using a wetting agent ... thanks for the tip .... I just did a quick google to learn more about wetting agents.
A wetting agent aka detergent aka surfactant merely reduces the surface tension of water so it can spread easier through a solid.
A washing machine detergent like Tide is designed to minimize any foam. If you mistakenly used a dish washing soap with foaming agents, you'd end up with bubbles every time you stirred the glaze.
There is always some glaze caught in the mesh, but I just use the flexible rib or a spatula to empty the bowl. Glaze making has a lot of overlap with cooking.
"Glaze making has a lot of overlap with cooking", I agree! Having been a Home Ec teacher I also find that working with clay has quite the overlap with sewing!