Spring Has Sprang…

That’s how they say it here in Kentucky. There’s lots of other things they say here in Kentucky like… I have ran out of gas. Lack of participles aside, it’s been a glazing week again and I’ve been able to open the window in the studio and let in the fresh breezy air. Maybe I’ll be able to take the plastic off the upstairs windows soon (when it stays in the 50’s at night) and keep them open while we sleep. Of course, sometimes during the day I get help and company…

Hopefully, I’ll get the kiln running tonight as I think I have a whole load but maybe a piece of two shy. It seems that I keep throwing up roadblocks to inhibit my progress. Yesterday, I was hurriedly whipping up some cabbage soup and sliced the very tip of my left thumb off (about the size of a ladybug). Not a huge injury but wouldn’t stop bleeding and wasn’t so hot about immersing my hand in glaze for any reason. Anyway, here’s a couple more shots of the dynamic duo…

Every now and then I see posts about favorite tools and I got one of mine out recently. Although I prefer the romanticism of tools that do not require electricity, sometimes those circuits are our friends and if the electricity supply in our future is in doubt then I doubt that whether or not I can use this tool will be high on my list of concerns. Anyway, a couple years ago I was doing a bunch of blue and white vases that required painting cobalt (not copper) stains onto bisqueware and putting a clear glaze over the top (or overtop as they say here in KY). The problem with some of these stains is that the solution falls out of suspension rather quickly and you end up mixing the little jar of stain with the brush so that you don’t end up with a brushload of weak diluted stain. Of course after mixing the solution with the brush the opposite is true… you end up with highly concentrated brushload. So a friend loaned me this indefinitely… it’s the Honeywell/Wein WP-MM Magnetic Mixer,

This is a very simple device that has a small motor inside of a housing with a rheostat knob on the outside. Inside, a magnet is attached to the motor and spins just under the surface. There is also a small plastic coated magnet about 1 1/2 inches long and about the width of a pencil. So you mix up your stain (I usually put a bit of glycerin in there), set the jar in the center on the mixer, plop the little magnet into the stain and turn the knob. The magnet in the bottom of the jar spins the same as the magnet that is spinning inside the housing and voila… the stain remains perfectly mixed and in suspension. Here’s an action shot, the stain is spinning…


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14 Responses to “Spring Has Sprang…”

  1. Mike Pappas Says:


  2. Charles the Potter Says:

    That’s pretty high tech for a simple potter 🙂

    I hosted a workshop with Seth Cardew about 10 years ago and his trick was to blend in a wee bit of the clay you were using with the oxide.

    As a not too well closeted geek I like your solution better.

  3. Michael Says:

    Very cool mixer. i want one now.

    Ouch about that finger. I did that once cutting onions (in a hurry, of course).

    Heal over soon!

  4. Jerry Says:

    We have a number of those mixers in the lab. They often have a heating element in them as well, in case you need to warm up what you are mixing. You might be able to find them on the cheap from sites that sell used lab equipment.

  5. zygote Says:

    I have a tube of liquid skin in my studio for nasty cuts and gashes. It works great if you can find it in the studio mess.

  6. cindy shake Says:

    Very cool mixer! I’ve used New Skin or Liquid Skin with success for my misc. skin carnage in the shop… yeah, it’s not too painful but those darn bleeders make for a mess on the art!!

  7. meredith Says:

    you have all the cool tools! i would love one of those.
    Out here they say things like:
    I have to “carry” dadie to the doctor.
    All things end is s.
    Squashes, gravels, and my favorite tests.
    You don’t take a test here you have tests.
    I am on a first name with the hospital and Mark still trust me to chop and dice.
    Get better and get back to work!

  8. liz Says:

    Its those tiny cuts that are the worst. I nicked my knuckle changing kiln elements last friday, and its still a pain every time I bend the finger.

  9. Connie Says:

    Ouchie!!!! Very cool mixer!! I want one too!!

  10. Barbara Edwards Says:

    Very cool tool! It is like one of those kid toys where you can lead the little car around the course by moving the magnet underneath. Well, slightly more sophisticated.
    Demon dog is looking angelic.

  11. Victoria Says:

    Love your blog! Have you tried an imersion mixer, I use mine all the time.

  12. ang Says:

    wow that too cool! lets compare studio injuries,, i smacked my head on the corner of a shelf last night while moving a bag of plaster! big ouch! LUCKILY nice dent but no blood so you’re one up.. but then i don’t use my head for mixing glaze!

  13. gz Says:

    “The Spring is sprung, the grass is riz
    I wonder where the boidies iz?
    The boidz iz on the wing…
    Now that’s absoid…
    I thought the wings were on the boid”

    Love the stain mixer!!

  14. Patricia Griffin Says:

    Love it! Want one!

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