Nov 25

More pottery samples

So I worked on another set of sample tiles.  This time it was bronze, called Lamp’s Bronze.  The recipe is pretty straightforward with nice results but I am having troubles with changing it.

The base recipe is

Lamp’s Bronze

7 – Ball Clay
86 – Cedar Heights Redart
7 – Silica

14% Cobalt Carbonate
14% Copper Carbonate
64% Manganese Dioxide

I wanted to play around so from left to right these are:

5% – frit 3134
5% – Nepheline Syenite
2% – Lithium Carbonate
5% – G200 HP Feldspar
5% – Tin Oxide



I have to admit I am still shooting in the dark.  I think the guys who are really good at this know what sort of results they will get with a particular chemical whereas I am still trying to figure out what each of them do.  I ended up signing up for Digitalfire insight.

This is hard-code pottery here.  It’s science based with dry tests and melt tests and all sorts of information.  It has already proved helpful.  And along with John Britt’s Complete Guide to mid-fire glazes I am confident I can start producing some kick ass pieces.  I already have a few I like.  This is a semi-gloss cream with a variegated blue dripped on it.  I love the warm oranges and the random spots of blue.


But again I am relying a lot on chance. I need to get more control.




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Oct 28

Lessons from pottery

I am learning some very important life lessons since I started throwing pots.  The most obvious to me is patience. Patience is everything in pottery.

First in throwing.  If you try to rush a piece and pull to hard your piece will end up lop-sided and uneven.  Since “there is no mercy in this dojo“, such a piece ends up back in recycling. At the moment I throw away more than I actually keep.


This sounds a little new-agey but I find if I am not centered and calm, I have difficulty centering pieces and throwing decent pots.  If my mind is tumbling some thoughts about the day or something that has happened then making the clay do what I want becomes difficult.

You also need patience in letting the pieces dry completely.  You will read about it on forums where pottery repeatedly mention “let it dry completely” sometimes that can take days.  If you rush it, you get bad things happening.  When you hear about pieces exploding in the kiln it is more often than not because of moisture in the clay.

You need patience when firing as well.  The first firing, the bisque isn’t that bad. You can stack tons of pieces together and as long as they are dry the firing will be fine. but when it comes to glazes you need to wait for the heat to do it’s thing.  Sometimes longer soaks produce better pieces.

19776800886_27f315dd93_k  19803356696_9ac93a5f4f_k 19305737004_4a29dfe34b_k


If you look at the really good artists, it’s clear their pieces take day if not weeks to produce. Just watch these 5 Korean masters at work.


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Oct 27

Thanks Matt!


As I continue in my creation of my own glazes I look to other potters as a source of information.  Matt Fiske’s Blog was one of the first sites I hooked into and in short order I read every post.  I highly recommend you check it out.  You can also see Matt’s posts on


One of Matt’s series of glazes is a variety of celadons. He is kind enough to provide the recipe:

Fiske 6/10 Clear Base:
F4 (Or MinSpar) Feldspar 34.9
Whiting 12.8
Zinc Oxide 11
OM4 Ball Clay 13.8
Silica 27.5

I tried this base and then tried three mason stains: light green, red, and peacock.  Of the three I light the light green best.  One thing that I need to do before i put this into production is ensure that I mix it very well.  I think like making your own paint the more you mix, the better your results.

Along the same vein I tried to make Hansen 5 glaze which is

Wollastonite 20.0
Frit 3134 20.0
Kaolin 20.0
Silica 20.0
Custer Feldspar 20.0

I tried adding mason stains French Green, Yellow, Light green and red. And I tried including Dolomite to increase the opacity of the glazes.
img002 img003


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Oct 26

St.John’s Black



I have started making my own glazes. I found a great recipe called St. John’s black.

Nepheline Syenite – 25
Alberta Slip/Albany – 75
Cobalt Carbonate – 5%

But I wanted something more dense, so I tried working on the recipe by adding other materials.

Going from left to right I added:
5% – Black Iron Oxide – The first one ended up matte
5% – Manganese Carbonate – I like this one best.  It has a sort of oil spot quality.
5% – Talc – This ended warm in tone. Not quite as glossy, and less oil spotty.
1.6%, 1.6%, 1.6% – Black Iron Oxide, Manganese Carbonate, Talc  – Was an attempt to get the best of all of them.  In truth though I think the Manganese Carbonate had the most interesting results.








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Sep 26

Witch Doctor

A critique on the pseudo health sciences? Great video though.

De Staat – Witch Doctor (Official Video) from STUDIO SMACK on Vimeo.

Oh little sicky, seems to be the pain?
Got all these herbs don’t mean a fucking thing
I am the witch, with the magick tricks
Mistrust the white house, come and get your fix

It’s not about the numbers, what you feel is real
Crystals, rays of light, the taste of orange peel
Open the mind, change the mind, that’s how we achieve
Can’t hurt to try right?
It’s what I believe

Witch doctor
Witch doctor
Witch doctor
Witch doctor

I taste the green when you come here and complain
I’ll give you cleanliness, while I make it rain
I’m a corpse eating vulture, who tells you how to feel
Don’t trust the white coats, i’ll make a better deal

Put a needle in the cheek so turn the other one
Come back tomorrow, because we’ll never get it done
Open the mind, change the mind, that’s how we achieve
Can’t hurt to try right?
It’s what I believe

Witch doctor
Witch doctor
Witch doctor
Witch doctor


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Sep 07

Constructing page names

I don’t normally write about analytic implementations.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy them, or that I am not interested.  It’s more that this is my bread and butter.  I have invested a lot of time and effort in creating solid solutions to problemms like page naming strategies and I feel like if I give away my secrets I am short changing myself.  Also there are always concerns about IP and whether or not I should be explaining these strategies used by my empployers However, that being said I also feel I owe it to the industry to pass along what I know and help others. Plus any developer worth calling a developer should be able to get their hands on any JavaScript without much effort.


This is TD bank and they have made the classic mistake of using the URL as the page name.  Now I am using TD but it is not meant to be as critical as it sounds.  As a developer I get it.  Maybe there isn’t a data layer or maybe the implementation timeline was short.  Either way they short change themselves later on.  The reason why this is an issue is because URLs can change very easily.  You also run into issues for any pages that use iframes, or any dynamic technology such as JSP or .NET.  In fact with this very site, you can tab through the various offerings without a change in the page name.


A well constructed page name should be: concise, contextual, and clear. When I am dealing with a new implementation I think about the number of sites or subdomains I will need to contend with.  I like to start my page names with the domain so for this page I might start with “TD:”  this is because the bank has other offerings.  They might have an investment wing, or charity site that is at sub-domain. This particular page is difficult because it is “about us”  and “our business” but the tabs also break down the various sections. So do you have TD:CA:About Us:Our Business or TD:About Us:Our Business:CA.  Personally I would lean towards the latter. Now sometimes the page names can get really long, especially in banking.  If you’re using the URL as your page name you will quickly hit the 100 character limit.


Take this product page as an example,  the page name is extremely long and cumbersome.  / Using the naming strategy it could easily be shortened TD:CA:Personal:products:accounts:chequing:all-inclusive  The advantage of doing it in this fashion is it becomes very easy to filter and segment. For example, a similar product for business banking might look like TD:CA:SMB:products:accounts:chequing:all-inclusive. searching So for example if you had a HUGE list of pages you could search for all TD:CA pages and filter out all non-CA pages or filter out “TD:CA” to see all the other. Or you could search “all-inclusive” and get the total views of that particular product.  You could search for “products” and get all the product pages.

Using scripting you can also parse out the different levels:

SiteSection1 = TD
SiteSection2 = TD:CA
SiteSection3 = TD:CA:personal
SiteSection4 = TD:CA:personal:products
SiteSection5 = TD:CA:personal:products:accounts
SiteSection6 = TD:CA:personal:products:accounts:chequing

By using these it is very easy to report on how sections of the site are doing or compare them to others.  The challenge of course is to ensure that “accounts” is on the same level as all other types of products or that small business is on the same level as personal.  Taking some time at the beginning of an implementation and ensuring that the page names will make sense will save some HUGE headaches later on.  While stakeholders are always keen to get going, an hour in planning is worth weeks in reporting.


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