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Monday - Friday 9 - 4 pm Closed all provincial and federal holidays Next Closure for stat holiday is for Thanksgiving, closed on Monday October 11th.

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Welcome

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    OPEN JULY 6TH

    Thank you for your patience, support, and patronage. Vancouver Island Pottery Supply has been able to continue to serve our Ceramic Artist on Vancouver Island and the surrounding Islands, with curbside pick up during our long Covid-19 restrictions.

    Our Covid numbers in BC have continued to decrease in case numbers. Based on Dr. Henry's recommendations we will be able to have customers in the storefront.

    We are still requiring Customers to respect and follow our instore policies.

    • 1. Only 2 customers allowed in the store at one time.
    • 2. Masks are still encourage to wear while shopping, and social distancing.
    • 3. Please continue to use the hand sanitizer upon entry.
    • 4. Please continue to email or phone your orders in, if you have a long list of products required. This helps us to be more efficient with our customers.
    • 5. PLEASE BE PREPARE TO LOAD YOUR CLAY INTO YOUR VEHICLE.

    This is our new site. It will help us to serve you better.

    Vancouver Island Pottery Supply is very excited that we finally have a catalog! Please NOTE: All four stores are using the same catalog. We may not stock all product, but most items can be ordered in. There are some exceptions.

    Vancouver Island Pottery has the biggest selection of pottery materials and supplies. Clays, raw materials, tools, wheels, kilns, slabrollers, books & much more.

    We strive to give our customers great customer service, while shopping in the store or by phone. Our staff knows our product and equipment, and can help you with your selections.

    Technical Tips Blog

    A frit softens over a wide temperature range

    Melt flow tests showing the a frit melting from 1550-1750F, Gerstley Borate from 1600-1625F.

    Raw materials often have a specific melting temperature (or they melt quickly over a narrow temperature range). We can use the GLFL test to demonstrate the development of melt fluidity between a frit and a raw material. On the left we see five flows of boron Ferro Frit 3195, across 200 degrees F. Its melting pattern is slow and continuous: It starts flowing at 1550F (although it began to turn to a glass at 1500F) and is falling off the bottom of the runway by 1750F. The Gerstley Borate (GB), on the other hand, goes from no melting at 1600F to flowing off the bottom by 1625F! But GB has a complex melting pattern, there is more to its story. Notice the flow at 1625F is not transparent, that is because the Ulexite mineral within GB has melted but its Colemanite has not. Later, at 1700F, the Colemanite melts and the glass becomes transparent. Technicians call this melting behaviour "phase transition", that does not happen with the frit.

    Context: B2O3, Frit Fusibility Test, The Chemistry, Physics and Manufacturing of Glaze Frits, What Determines a Glaze's Firing Temperature?, Ferro Frit 3195, Gerstley Borate, Melting Temperature, Frit, Common frits begin melting

    Monday 25th October 2021

    Get ready for supply interruptions

    Bottled glazes, weighing out your own

    Material prices are sky rocketing. Prepared glaze manufacturers have complex international supply chains. It is only a matter of time until you are affected. We are happy to sell you bottled glazes, if we can get them! But now might be the time to start learning how to weigh out the ingredients to make your own. Armed with good base glazes that fit your clay body (without crazing or shivering) you will be more resilient to supply issues. Add stains, opacifiers and variegators to the bases to make anything you want. That being said, ingredients in those recipes may become unavailable! That underscores a need to go to the next step and "understand" glaze ingredients. And even improve and adjust recipes. It is not rocket science, it is just work accompanied by organized record-keeping and good labelling.

    Context: G2926B, G2934, G1916Q, G3879, Substituting Materials in Glazes and Clay Bodies, Where do I start in understanding glazes?, Digitalfire Reference Library, Base Glaze

    Saturday 23rd October 2021

    An original container bag of ceramic rutile

    The primary use of this material is obvious: For welding rods. However notice the bag bottom is marked "Ceramic Rutile" (with a batch number). This bag is very small, this material is very dense and heavy. Why would a product intended for making welding rods be useful in ceramics? The answer is very interested.

    Context: Ceramic Rutile

    Monday 18th October 2021

    Frit Melt Fluidity Comparison - 1850F

    Frits melting side-by-side at 1850F

    Fired at 350F/hr to 1800F and held for 15 minutes (I already did firings from 1300F-1800F in 50 degree increments, all of them are visible in the parent project). Frit 3110, 3134, 3195, F75 have all flowed all the way down for many previous temps. LA300 and 3124 were just starting at 1800F, look at them now! 524 and F38 have gone from half-way at 1800F to water-falling over the end. Frit 3249 is still not out-of-the-gate but F69 (the Fusion Frits equivalent) is half-way. Note how the melt surface tension is evident by the way in which the melts spread out or hold together. By contrast, Gerstley Borate, the only raw material here, suddenly melted and flowed right over the cliff between 1600 and1650!

    Context: Fusion Frit F-524, Fusion Frit F-69, Fusion Frit F-15, Ferro Frit 3602, Fusion Frit F-75, Fusion Frit F-38, Fusion Frit FZ-16, Ferro Frit 3195, Ferro Frit 3134, Ferro Frit 3124, Frit B325, Frit LA-300, Ferro Frit 3249, Ferro Frit 3110, Frit, Comparing the Melt Fluidity of 16 Frits

    Monday 11th October 2021

    100 years ago, the Plainsman Clays plant would have been a small outbuilding at ACP

    Plainsman Clays is built on the site of the former Alberta Clay Products Co. Ltd. The Plainsman plant is overlaid on the lower part of this 100-year-old photo. ACP was North America's second largest brick manufacturer. The plant and high temperature kilns, were all constructed using bricks and firebricks made in a temporary kiln on the same site (using clay mined nearby). No outside brick was purchased. The plant produced a wide range of brick but was most known for its production of vitrified salt-glazed pipe used in sewer and water lines across the west. During the period when this photo was taken the plant had 325 workers. In 1962 the main building burned to the ground! Shortly after, Plainsman Clays began operation in the small building beside the uppermost kiln. And moved to the current site in 1971.

    Thursday 16th September 2021

    Are you using your expensive kiln like a pop-up toaster?

    A small controller-equipment kiln and views of programming it

    Put the pots in, select a cone, press start. It is time to rethink that approach! Seriously. The Bartlett Genesis kiln controller is standard equipment on hobby and production electric kilns now. It is not meant to be run like a toaster! Good glazes are about much more than recipes, they are about firing schedules. None of the built-in "toaster schedules" have hold times on any segments, drop-and-hold sequences or controlled cools. Or even fire-to-cone accuracy. Yet such are a must for defect-free glazes, enhancing the effects of reactive glazes that must develop crystallization or variegation or firing accurately. It is easy to program: Tap the blue edit button to edit a program, tap a column of any segment to edit its value. Tap a segment number to delete or duplicate it. Google "bartlett genesis controller" for videos on creating and editing a schedule.

    Context: When the cone does this I need to adjust the program, Manually programming a Bartlett V6-CF hobby kiln controller, Bloating on a range of bodies at cone 6: Why is this happening?, Be thankful for the hobby kiln controllers we have in North America, Bartlett Genesis Kiln Controller Programming, Firing Schedule, Kiln Controller

    Thursday 16th September 2021

    Three rutile blue glazes at cone 6

    Three mugs with floating blue glazes

    These are GA6-C Alberta Slip floating blue, AMACO Potter's Choice PC-20 Blue Rutile, GR6-M Ravenscrag floating blue. The clay is M390. The firing is cone 6, the schedule is C6DHSC (drop-and-hold, slow cool). The inside is GA6-B. The two on the left develop the blue color because of the slow-cool, the one on the right works on fast-cool because it contains cobalt (although it will fire somewhat more mottled). The centre one is a bottled commercial product, it was painted on in three coats. The result is quite compelling, this is a good place to start if you want the rutile-blue effect. Remember, these work best on dark-burning bodies.

    Context: Ceramic Rutile, Ravenscrag cone 6 floating blue thinner and thicker applications, Ravenscrag Cone 6 Floating Blue on porcelain and a red stoneware, Rutile Glaze

    Saturday 11th September 2021

    An Alberta Slip based black passed all the leaching tests

    Four black-glazed test tiles

    This is the G3914A recipe on Plainsman M340 test tiles. They were fired at cone 04 using the PLC6DS schedule. We tested them in four different caustic liquids (using the GLLE test), there is no sign of leaching on any of them. This recipe contains only 4% black stain, that is enough to stain the base GA6-B glaze to a jet black. The surface has a unique iridescence not found in any other glossy black we have used.

    Saturday 11th September 2021

    What is the simplest, most practical raku base crackle recipe?

    A glazed tile showing the raku crackle effect

    Many people suffer high-percentage Gerstley Borate "bucket-of-jelly" raku recipes they find on line. Don't do this. There is a common Ferro frit that is perfect for this application, frit 3110 (Fusion frit F-75). All it takes is 15% kaolin (e.g. EPK) to produce and easy-to-use recipe that is guaranteed to craze. We have assigned it a code number of L4264, a raku base transparent recipe. We have also catalogued some common recipes that people use and outlined the issues they have: L4264A, L4264B, L4264C, L4264D. Do you need a white? It is a simple matter of adding 10% Zircopax to this.

    Context: Raku

    Saturday 11th September 2021

    Are frits partially soluble? Yes, many are.

    These 1 mm-sized crystals were found precipitated in a couple of gallons of glaze containing 85% Ferro Frit 3195 (we have seen these with frit 3249 also). They are cubical, hard and insoluble. Why and how to do they form? Many frits are slightly soluble, the degree to which they are is related to the length of time the glaze is in storage, the temperature, the electrolytes and solubles in the water, interactions with other material particles present and the diligence of the manufacturer in mixing, correctly achieving the target chemistry and firing. The solutes interact or saturate to form insoluble species that crystallize and precipitate out as you see here. These crystals can be a wide range of shapes and sizes and come from leaded and unleaded frits. In industry this issue is not generally a problem because glazes are used soon after being made.

    Context: Ferro Frit 3195, A glaze slurry precipitates flakes, G2925B glaze can precipitate crystals like this over time, Precipitated crystals from a glaze having 60% lead bisilicate frit, Ooids in Glazes, Precipitation

    Friday 10th September 2021

    Vancouver Island Pottery Supply, 515 Stanford Avenue E, PARKSVILLE, BC V9P 1V6
    Phone: 250-248-2314, FAX: 250-248-2318, Email: sales@vipotterysupply.com