Here’s an interesting glaze inspired by a locally abundant material – dead palm fronds. Every week throughout South Florida the streets fill up with piles of dead vegetation from people pruning their trees and plants. With a 12 month growing cycle, they’re EVERYWHERE.
To utilize this stuff, I started by collecting about a half of a pickup truck’s worth of dead palm fronds. Collecting all of this stuff took about 10 minutes, and I didn’t have to go very far. I then setup a perforated burn barrel with a grated floor. I burned down everything, and collected the ash in a tray under the barrel. Once I collected the ash, I added it all to a 5 gallon bucket and ‘washed’ it, by dumping out the top layer of chunks and oily looking stuff. I gave it 24 hours, and came back out and stirred it, and repeated for the next few days. Fin ally, I poured the mix through a 40 mesh sieve into a bisque drying platter and let the stuff dry out. After that I crushed it into a powder and pushed it through an 80m sieve. Quite a bit of work, but a truly unique material.
Given that the soil here in Florida has so much Silica by virtue of all the sand it contains, I had the thought that its be likely that palm tree ash would have a much higher % of silica than say, hardwood ash. I haven’t had it tested for the side-by-side chemical composition, but my initial tests seem very promising. My next step is to dredge up some clay-like muck from the canal across the street, and mix in calcined seashells for good measure. If the canal silt doesn’t do the trick, I’ll try some clay/silt from the Intracoastal waterway (A brackish salt/freshwater channel that runs parallel to the ocean, inter-connected by inlets and canals – which ultimately keeps South Florida from turning back into a swamp!)
Nontheless, the 3 tiles on the left were soda fired. The 2 on the right were Reduction fired to cone 10/11. The clays from left to right are; Studio Reclaim (A bastard mix of everything), B-Mix, 550 Porcelain, Studio Mix, Porcelain. The recipe is as follows:
Fisker’s West Palm Ash
Unwashed, 80m Palm Ash 45
Nepheline Syenite 45
Redart Earthenware 10