|Pots in a Salt Kiln (wadding is circled)|
Wadding is made of the exact same ingredients as kiln wash but with much less water so it’s more of the consistency of clay. It’s got the same refractory properties as the kiln wash but it is usually only used in atmospheric firings where something is added to the atmosphere of the kiln that will create a glaze (wood, salt, and/or soda). Since the glaze is created by introducing something to the atmosphere it tends to glaze everything in its path so we put small pieces of wadding under the pots to prevent them from sticking to the kiln shelves. This allows the glaze to flow under the pot also so you can get an almost fully glazed piece. Since the glaze doesn’t land on the pot wherever the wadding is some potters use it to help create beautiful design effects. Some potters will add combustibles like sawdust or coffee to wadding often for esthetic reasons.
When I was at Penland School of Crafts we used Cynthia Bringle’s recipe for wadding and kiln wash. The recipe uses less Alumina Hydrate, the more expensive ingredient, therefore it costs a little less to make. We fired about 2000 glazed pots in many salt and soda kilns. I promise it works just as well as the 50/50 mixture I’ve always used.
Kiln Wash and Wadding Recipe:
30% Alumina Hydrate
Enough water to make it the consistency of the application you desire. If you use too much water it can be dried out via evaporation or on plaster.
Definition of Refractory - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refractory
Alumina Hydrate - http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/aluminum+hydrate
Edgar Plastic Kaolin and other raw materials - http://lakesidepottery.com/HTML%20Text/Tips/Glossary%20of%20Ceramic%20Raw%20Materials.htm
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff