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results on the burnishing question


From: Randy Menninghaus (india99_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Nov 18 2004 - 16:28:17 PST

I asked our expert and she said
Hi Randy, How are you? Would you send me the address of this site so I can
share it with the students?
Here's my two cents about burnishing pots: writes:
>My questions are:
>how dry do I want the pots to be
They should be just past 'leather hard', still a little cold for your first
burnish. Have a second burnish when pots are a bit drier too--not quite
bone. You should see a very clear shine and darker color even on the bone
dry ware. In fact,the
bone dry pots will look more like leather hard in color.
>what motion am I looking for with the burnishing
You want to make smooth strokes more or less in the same direction--what
you are doing is lining up the clay particles. Prior to burnishing,
particles are haphazard. I also prefer to use a print-making burnishing
tool or the back of a metal
spoon. But a smooth rock or cooked clean rib bone also works.
>and what result will tell me we are doing it correctly.
The pot will still have a very smooth surface and shine. With the
newspaper, you will probably get a lot of smoke marks which will be black
or gray. I have never used the tin foil for this. Just be careful not to
fire much higher than a red heat
from the kiln, ^ 022 is a little cooler than that, but ok. If you fire too
high, you will lose the shine because the clay particles will become random
again. You pot will still have a smooth texture, but not the nice shine and
you will lose the
charcoal gray color.
>I am about 2 days ahead of the kids with my sample/experiment piece - so, I
>will try this out on my own first
Good idea.
>any guidance you can offer will be helpful.
This is a wonderful thing to do with children. There's a wonderful film
from Potters for Peace (you can find them on line) called the Potters of
Mata Ortez you could also show them. The film is a little long so you would
probably have to show it
in segments. About a Mexican village that revived its pottery tradition to
provide economic vitality to the people of the village. Middle school or
high school students should enjoy it. Makes for an interesting
x-disciplinary discussion too.
Good luck! Connie Albertson