Saggers and Sickness

Hello everybody,

So I took the day off from blogging yesterday because I was too tired to write before I went to bed.  Yesterday was a busy day – it got off to a great start when I opened my test kiln and looked at the results of my saggers in the morning.  I’m really pleased!  Here’s a picture:

Amy Uthus ICS porcelain sagger tests

Porcelain sagger tests

More on Facebook (I don’t think you have to sign in to look at this page, being that it’s set up as a “celebrity” page… hee hee!):

After that, I took pictures and put them online for my committee back at home to look at, then I made some more saggers so I can fill the smallest gas kiln here, since nobody wants to fire with me 😦  J/K, J/K.  I totally understand why they don’t want their porcelain in a smokey firing.  🙂

Then I went to an “English Club,” for people who get together every week to speak English.  It’s held in a community youth center.  The people there were super nice, bless their hearts, but I don’t know if I want to go back.  Part of me feels like I should, because I was almost painfully aware that they want to have a native English-speaker included, but the other part of me really wants to spend my time doing other things.  Like making work and writing my thesis report.  So we’ll see.  I’ll probably try it one more time.  It also costs money, which I’m not nuts about.

I wasn’t feeling too hot all day, and it got worse before I went to bed.  I thought I’d sleep it off, but then I didn’t really sleep. My stomach and my head hurt too badly.  So, getting up this morning and going to class with the Hungarian students (they have once weekly meetings with their professor) was a bit of a challenge.  I took some Tylenol, gasx (TMI?  Sorry), contemplated pepto-bismol but ultimately decided against it, made a hot cup of tea, and sat down to listen to two hours of solid Hungarian, broken up by two or three sentences in English.  Yes.  I mean, igen.

I hope tomorrow is better!





7 comments on “Saggers and Sickness

  1. Jackie says:

    I hope tomorrow is better, too! Keep me posted, literally! BTW< your tile is so pretty!

  2. Jen says:

    Could you enlighten me and tell me what a sagger is? Thanks! I mailed your birthday package today. Sorry, I forgot to have Jacob sign the card 😦 Hope you’re feeling better!!! Do you think it’s from the food or water?

  3. amyuthus says:

    Saggers are the clay boxes I fired the tiles in – you put one or two tiles in each box and fill them with sawdust or some other material and then stack the boxes on top of each other. Then you seal all of the cracks with a special mixture called wad clay (it’s more refractory than regular clay – it doesn’t melt as easily). The wad clay seal keeps oxygen from getting inside the boxes. Since all of the cracks are sealed, the air can’t move in and out. So, when the carbon is released from the sawdust through burning, it wants to bind with something, but it can’t bind with oxygen in the air to escape. It’s forced to bind with the molecules in your clay body instead – which is ultimately what turns the tile inside the sagger black.
    Supposedly you can punch holes in your saggers to allow some air movement, which will lessen the amount of carbon that binds to the clay, making the pieces have various shades of grey. I’m going to try this next. I hope that made sense!
    Thanks for sending a package! That’s okay about Jacob. Maybe you can put up some cute pictures of him on facebook instead? 🙂 I’m not feeling a whole lot better today. I don’t know what it’s from. I’m not used to eating such heavy food though, so maybe that’s it. Most things here are fried or have lots of sour cream in them. I’m going to go to the store later today to try to find some chicken broth and rice. I also found some seltzer water stuff that’s pretty good, so I’ll probably buy a few bottles of that.

  4. Jackie says:

    So…I think you explained saggers very well! I always thought I’d try that with my pottery kids but never did – I think they would’ve thought it was cool. I sure wish you would start feeling tip top again – maybe some chicken broth will be a good comfort food for you and then you’ll be on the mend. G. Dorie told me she can’t figure out how to read your blog…the link doesn’t work for her. She’s going to try going through FB>I’ll check with her later to see if she’s success. She’s very interested in your work and life in Hungary. love, mom

  5. […] got several saggers done (for a technical explanation of saggers, please see the comments after my previous post).  I have six more to make today, then I should be able to fill the smallest gas kiln halfway. […]

  6. […] mind:  I have a kiln firing right now.  Aren’t you excited??  I thought so!  I packed my saggers this morning, and Jakob loaded them into the kiln for me early this afternoon.  It’s kind of […]

  7. […] and when to lighten the reduction.  [To read more about reduction, see the comment section of this post.]  The cones also tell me when my firing is finished.  When cone 11 falls in this kiln […]

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