G. Scatchard Lamps
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This is a picture of George, filling some molds with the liquid clay which is called slip. The slip is mixed in a blunger which looks like a big blender and pumped upstairs for storage. The slip runs down the hose by gravity to fill the molds. Our slip mixture has been developed over a period of time to work especially well with our glazes. We mix three kinds of clay from Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee with feldspar and potter's flint to make a clay body that fires nearly white. After the slip is mixed with water and a conditioning agent, it is strained through a very fine screen to remove any impurities that might cause glaze defects. Pieces of iron oxide, and organic matter that will burn out in the firing are the most important contaminants that come along with the clay. This special mixture fires to a hard and durable stoneware which ships well and is not likely to break in use. Our clay formula is a big part of the reason we are able to offer so many unusual glaze colors. At the very high temperature we fire to, the clay and glaze interact strongly with each other.

After the slip has been in the mold for about two hours, a hardened layer builds up on the inside of the plaster mold. This happens because the plaster absorbs water from the slip and causes it to harden on the inner surface of the mold. At this point, George will drain the remaining liquid through a hole in the bottom of the mold so that only the hardened layer remains inside the mold. Overnight, the plaster will continue to dry the cast form and it will shrink away from the inner surface of the mold. In the morning the top can be lifted off the mold. This is a picture of George taking the top off a mold so the lamp can be lifted out. The lamp base is then set aside to partially dry. This whole process can be very dependent on the weather. In the Winter when we have the building heated things dry out too fast. In the Summer, during rainy spells we have to use fans to get things dry.

[ Tour Picture ]

[ Tour Picture ]

When the lamp is half dried, and can be easily handled, it is put on a Potter's wheel to be trimmed. The whole surface of the lamp base is scrapped with a metal tool to remove any imperfections left by the casting process. The mark left by the mold seam, and any other flaws are removed, the cord hole is drilled, and the top is cut to length and finished. It is this finishing process that insures the pure clean lines of our shapes. If any serious defects like dents or cracks are found the lamp base is discarded at this point. This scrap clay, along with the trimmings are recycled and used to make more lamps.

It is because of this trimming process that we divide the molds horizontally rather than up and down the way most potters do. Having the mold seam mark run around the lamp like a belt makes it much easier to scrape off with the lamp spinning on the wheel. Trimming the whole surface of the lamp assures an even application of glaze.

This is a picture of George weighing out glaze materials to make a batch of glaze.

Our glazes are all our own, and are the result of a lifetime of experimentation. Some colors are the result of hundreds of hours of experimentation, and others are simple adaptations of classic stoneware and porcelain glazes. Put simply, our glazes are mixtures of minerals like flint, limestone, feldspar and clay, suspended in water. These minerals melt into a glass coating on the lamp when it is fired in the kiln. The glaze colors are derived from oxides of metals such as cobalt, iron, copper and chrome. In the heat of the kiln, the clay is hardened, and the surface is sealed by the molten glass of the glazes.

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G. Scatchard Lamps
P.O. Box 69
Cambridge, Vermont 05444

Tele. 1-800-643-5267
Email: info@GSLamps.com

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