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About Doulla

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  • Location
    Somerset, United Kingdom
  • Interests
    Passionate about making ceramic animal sculptures and also love gardening and observing wildlife.
  1. Glad you got it sorted. I havn't been watching the forum lately (don't know why) so was a bit late with my reply. Happy firing!
  2. I bought both my kilns from Potterycrafts and have had them for 11 years with no problems. The larger of the two kilns is very similar spec to the one you have on your link and cost almost the same!. I can't really comment on the service as I just had them delivered and installed by a local electrician and they have worked ever since. I am not a heavy user, firing perhaps 10-20 times a year. It's also worth looking out for discounts, a friend of mine managed to pick up a voucher for me at Hatfield Arts in Clay.
  3. Doulla

    Solar Powered Kiln?

    I have solar panels on my house to produce electricity. The excess of which goes into the grid and we get paid for this by the electricity company/government. I always try to run my kiln on a sunny day to reduce the cost as much as possible. My small kiln which is 13kw can run entirely from the solar electricity if it is a nice sunny day.
  4. I once put a small sculpture that was underglazed onto another underglazed piece and it stuck. This happened during the stoneware firing. It did come apart though with a bit of gentle persuasion but I made sure I didn't repeat it.
  5. We installed solar power a couple of years ago so I fire during the day. I set the timer to start at about 5am which means it is ready for the bung to be put in when I get up. I try as far as possible to fire on nice sunny days and my smaller kiln will fire entirely on solar power so for free!!
  6. I sculpt animals and have a very large mirror on the wall behind my table. I like viewing the sculpture in the mirror, for some reason I can see mistakes better in the mirror.
  7. Love your pug. You must be very proud of your first piece. Well done!
  8. Doulla

    powdered underglazes

    I buy an underglaze medium which comes in liquid form (I'm in the UK so maybe this is called something else in USA) which I add to the underglaze powder and water which gives the same consistency as the ready mixed ones. It took me a while until I discovered this and struggled for a long time with just the powder and water.
  9. Doulla

    Bisque firing

    Stoneware and earthenware can be fired together for the bisque firing i.e. at around 1,000 degrees centigrade.
  10. I sculpture with stoneware clays and use the following schedule for bisque firing which is one of the preset programs that came on my electric kiln. 60 or 90 ramp depending on how large the piece is. I use 90 most of the time even on larger pieces. It ramps at these until reaching 600 degrees centigrade and then continues at 250 ramp to the final temperature. I use 1,000 - 1,060 for my final bisque firing temperature. I have lots of pottery books but none of them really talk about the firing process in any detail so I got most of what I know from the manual with my kiln. I have been following this schedule for over 10 years and have never had a problem.
  11. Doulla

    Garden Art

    I make garden pots using a crank clay. I fire the pots to 1240 degrees centigrade. Glaze will protect them but I do not use glaze. Instead I brush on a liquid bees wax or the other thing that can be used is liquid brick sealant. I use the same system for outdoor animal sculptures that I make. This winter we had alot of snow here and am happy to say that the only pots that broke were the ones I had bought from a garden center.
  12. I usually paint on the underglazes at the leather hard stage which I find the best time. I have also put them on before this and when bone dry. I have never had underglaze chip off. I then add more colour if necessary after the bisque firing.
  13. I never leave home when my kiln is running. I just do not want to take the risk that I return to find a disaster.
  14. I make animals by coiling, pinch pots and slabs and even out the walls as I work. You definitely need a hole in the bottom to let the air escape. If you are worried about certain areas being too thick like the shoulder you can pierce through it a couple of times with a potter's needle from the outside, making sure that the needle goes right through into the hollow part and then smoothing over the holes. If you want to cut it in half it is best to do this when it is leather hard or almost leather hard so that it does not distort. I dry my sculptures slowly under loose plastic on a slatted wooden board so that air can circulate. After a few days I replace the plastic with a cloth which I remove during the day and replace overnight. My pieces usually take about 2 weeks to dry. The only time I had a problem was when I forgot to make a hole between the body and tail of a squirrel and it exploded in the kiln. Not a pretty sight!
  15. I love the planning phase especially when I am going to sculpt a new animal and need to gather information about it. I enjoy the sculpting and the time when the piece is leatherhard which is when I always think it looks best. I hate opening the kiln to be disappointed by some of the results of the oxides which havn't turned out the way I imagined. It does me good when customer's tell me 'you are so clever'.

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