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About Benzine

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    Socratic Potter

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    The Hawkeye State
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    The Arts (Drawing, Painting, Ceramics, Graphic Design), Running, Music (Mostly Rock), Movies, Technology

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  1. It all depends on the form. If the pole is inserted into the sculpture, then the sculptor had to account for the clay shrinkage, so that the pole still fit post firing(s). Was the sculpture you saw, glazed all the way around, including the underside? If so, then the artist likely used a support specifically designed, for that form, or they used stilts, which are metal tipped supports, that hold the piece from the bottom. It depends on what Cone the artist fires to, as the stilts don't always do well at higher temps. Like I said, it all depends on the form.
  2. Is the topic title also slang, for a person's state of mind? "That guy isn't firing a full load!"...
  3. Jeff, Take that deflocculated slip, that your studio has, that part is correct. But DO NOT add the epsom salt, which will just flocculate it, reversing what you want to do. All that is doing, is giving the impression it is thicker. It is still the same ratio of water to clay, which is why it will shrink a lot, as that water evaporates off. Instead, just take some bone dry pieces, of whatever claybody is used to make the deflocculated slip, crush it up into a powder, and add it to that slip, until it gets to the thickness you desire. Because you are adding more clay to the ratio, it shrinks way less, and is also less likely to crack. This is also why potters use this as a "joining slip" for connecting pieces. But once again, do not add the epsom salt!
  4. One of the previous posters, on these Forums, John Baymore, used to wedge bits of granite, into his claybody. If you do a quick search for his name, you can probably find some contact info, if you'd like to ask him about it.
  5. Dear Benzine,


    you seem extremely wise on all things ceramic. I really need some help. I am based in England and have an electric pottery craft kiln with a Stafford controller. I use st Patrick’s stoneware clay and make big urns. I bisque fire and then glaze fire. The man that delivered the kiln programmes it for me for these two firings. I am totally maths dyslexic and need a very simple and idiot proof schedule of firing for decals and one for gold and silver lustre.  Can you help me?  I would be so grateful. I am in the final year of my ceramics degree and we have external examiners coming in to mark our final hand ins on Monday and Tuesday. I have always fired stuff at college via the techs so am completely confused about deciding on ramps, soaks, temperature etc. I am sorry to bother you but you seem so knowledgeable. Thank you, Boo

  6. Not to hijack this thread, but I thought I'd just ask this here, instead of making a whole new topic, for a relatively simple question. Can I add Alumina Hydrate to a simple, commercially made kiln wash? I've got quite a bit of old, dried wash, in my classroom that I'd like to use up, instead of just tossing. I'm fairly certain that it is all just kaolin, with nothing else.
  7. Dang it Min, I want definite answers!!! Since text doesn't convey sarcasm or joking, I will note, that I am joking... I appreciate your responses. I think I'll just make the mugs, and give them some tests, before use. I don't plan to sell them, or really even make more. I just had some extra of this marble batch, from the main decorative piece I am making. You are correct, I am currently doing low fire, until my home kiln gets hooked up. The commercial clear I use is great. It is forgiving enough, that even student work, has had almost zero issues. I've only had it craze once, and that was when I tried to do another marbling experiment, with two *different* clay bodies. It was delayed crazing too. Apparently the fit is great for my low fire white, but not whatever the low fire red, that was left from a previous instructor...
  8. Did it peel off everywhere, or just in spots? Underglazes can be tricky to make, which is why many potters just use commercially made versions. I've had a few issues with something similar, where an underglaze flakes off, in spots, after being fired, sometimes after the glaze firing, sometimes after the bisque. In some cases it was right after the firing, in others, it was months to years later. In most instances, I chalked it up to either a bad batch of that underglaze, or just applying it to a surface that had some type of contaminate that prevented it from adhering well.
  9. That's one of the best "Used" kilns, I've seen, especially for that price!
  10. Bag Balm is great stuff, I grew up using it for a lip balm, never on my hands though. Growing up, the Walgreen's drug store chain, used to sell this hand healer. It was in a clear bottle, with a white and green label. The product was also clear, and relatively thin. It had an ammonia-ish smell, and did sting a bit, if you had deep cracks, but did a great job. Sadly, you can't find it anymore. My Mom used all of her Online Shopping-Fu and managed to snag a couple bottles, but the product is discontinued. We figure, there's got to be something like it, out there... I'm a fan of O'Keefe's Working Hands. It feel it creates a good barrier. I also second Pres' advice, about rinsing, not washing your hands so frequently. I saw him mention it years ago, and haven't been following it ever since. I tell my students to do the same. If I'm going to handle food, or touch something that needs to be "Clean, clean", I'll use soap. But if I'm just going around the room, helping students, I'll give a rinse, after applying slip with my finger, or helping a student on the wheel. As I figure it, clay is cleaner than most of the surfaces in the room anyway. I also will reapply lotion more frequently, to act as a barrier, especially before helping students on the wheel and such. The only time I will not apply lotion, is if I'm glazing, so I don't leave greasy, oily marks on the bisque surface.
  11. They clear glaze is my standard, commercially made clear. To be clear (Pun not intentional, but not avoided either) I wasn't planning to mix the stain with the clear, to color it, just put the clear, over the marbled, colored clay body. I wasn't sure if any of the stain, from the clay body, could combine with the clear, and leach out. Last year, I made a couple mugs, where I stained my clay body with black iron oxide, and marbled it with the normal clay body. I just put a clear on those. I wasn't worried about leaching, because neither my wife, nor I, have hemochromatosis. I haven't noted any change in those, with near constant use. I was just slightly concerned with a pigment that is more toxic than iron.
  12. The piece I plan to make, with these stains, is decorative, but could they be used for something functional, with a clear glaze?
  13. I've been using some leftover scraps from "Construction Plastic". It's what contractors and such put up, to protect against dust getting out of the work area, to catch paint drips, etc. It's thicker stuff, and keeps the moisture in quite well. It's been so rainy here lately, that my basement stays pretty damp itself. If I just poured some plaster on the floor, it would be one big damp box.
  14. I understand the view, of those opposed to them, as they see it as a crutch, to a process that potters should know. But it is a quick way to center, especially in the bulk, that you are dealing with Mark. It is also a good way to recenter for decorating. I just used mine to day, to recenter a leatherhard piece, right side up, to apply even coats of underglaze. Tap centering that form, right side up, would have been quite difficult. Plus, the feet hold the ware in place, without leaving clay dust on the outside areas, I already underglazed. Also, in my classroom, the Giffen Grip is invaluable. I barely have time to teach the kids to use the wheel to throw the form, so I definitely do not have time to teach them tap centering. So I can still teach trimming, without that extra step and frustration. I still talk about tap centering, and show it to them, I just don't expect them to do it. Regardless, tap centering isn't going anywhere. The Giffen Grip does not work well for altered forms, that aren't symmetrical, and of course, not everyone wants to spend over a hundred bucks, for a Giffen Grip.
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