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About oldlady

  • Rank
    single firing an electric kiln to cone 6
  • Birthday 08/30/1940

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  • Gender
  • Location
    harpers ferry west va and pinellas park fl
  • Interests
    architecture, old Sears mail order houses, cocker spaniels, name a subject, I will love it

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  1. look at the work of Kim Kirchman for photos of how she does what callie talks about above. try entering her name at the top of the forum to see some photos. they are simply colors on newsprint paper, dampened and rubbed into leatherhard clay.
  2. oldlady


    i hope we have not driven Nicky into the loony bin. you have not told us anything about how you came to pottery or what education you have in the field. if you are learning on the fly, read on. nicky, you are only at the very edge of the beginning of learning about pottery making and finishing. get yourself some basic books, (they are portable and not subject to interruption by not being recharged). some very old textbooks written before your parents met. you will find explanations of all kinds of things you do not want to make but the process is the same for what you do want so learn how to do the basics. look at previous posts about what books you might want. and just FYI, slip is the simplest thing to color and use. use it on wet clay, not bisqued clay. yes, it can be done but why set yourself up to learn something so complicated when it is so easy to use slip made from your own clay and water plus color. experiment with lots of things, i know your first pots seem to be as valuable to you as the mona lisa but they are really only practice for making good work later.
  3. stamps made of rubber are not worth it if you intend to impress into the clay. there are plastic stamps that are stronger but metal is best for this. a quick press into clay is much easier than using an ink type stamp on bisque. if you really only want to use some kind of ink substitute, it will have to be fired on to last through dishwashing. it will take a lot of practice to get it on clearly without smearing it.
  4. oldlady

    Drippy Cake Plate.jpg

    what a treat! how did you do it? does it stand on its own? twenty thumbs up!
  5. oldlady

    Looking for advice in a wheel purchase

    listen to the wheel you will buy before you pay for it. some are very noisy but others are quiet so you can have a conversation in the same room without shouting. bailey would be my choice, all the things they make are very high quality.
  6. kakes, congratulations on the huge step of having your own kiln. you will be learning a great deal over the next 20 firings. i have been single firing for a number of years. there are a few things you might think about. you have not mentioned the brand name of the kiln you have or its size. i use an L&L with a controller. it is large enough for me to make huge, shelf size, platters and trays. sometimes i have a hard time fitting a rectangular tray into the corners of the decagon because of its size. my controller has a slow glaze setting. i always use it, never tried outguessing the engineers or experts at the kiln factory on ramping up and down. i use the slow glaze and choose the preheat which takes my dry clay to something over 200 degrees over a couple of hours, i think. i have had no problems except when i do something stupid. last month i refired a large platter because there was a dragonfly on it that i had not colored and some of the background was a little pale. i reglazed it and then did the stupid thing. i put it on the new shelf i had kiln washed but not put sand on. naturally, the platter split down the center like a jagged lightning bolt. when i opened the kiln, it had a 1/4 inch space between the halves. it now lives on the wall of shame in my studio. my kiln controller offers me the choice of slow or fast firing or using my own ramp. the ONLY way to use preheat, which i consider paramount, is to use the factory settings, not my own ramp. so, i use preheat and slow glaze. i pack my kiln very tight, sometimes using 9 shelves only 1 1/2 inches apart. this makes a firing take a long time, about 12 hours these days with the elements no longer new. and i always check for the temp when i close the peepholes and make sure all the water vapor is gone. have a neat 8x10 mirror to do this with. for people who use a shared studio, you have no hope of trying single firing. the shared firings make the tech set rules so everyone has a chance to get work successfully fired. hence, bisque firing is required. once you have your own studio kiln, you can try single firing if you like and the work you do will allow it. handling greenware is NOT difficult. you have an instinctive soft touch, like picking up a baby, that will save your work from damage. watching carefully as you move work, so you do not let it smash into something else that might be in the way, comes with your messing up a few times. you quickly learn to let the clay DRY before firing. i hope your new kiln gives you the results you want, kakes, and you love every piece you take out of it. and hope you find that single firing, which has been done for centuries, will work for you.
  7. Benzine, i really needed the laugh your post provided. i am trying to remember how many pipers are in the holiday song about the 12 days of christmas and picturing someone with a torch warming them up. thank you for the inadvertent humor. having collected a number of the heaters for food at buffets, Salton Hotrays by brand name, i have a variety of sizes for different purposes. one use is to warm a glaze fired flat tray that needs more glaze . works very well and quickly and then it dries out the newly sprayed additional glaze so the tray can be handled again. and i do not have to run to the kitchen oven. if someone wants to keep clay warm, one of them on the lowest setting would probably work well. i don't know if i would leave it on overnight but maybe on a timer so clay would be warm by starting time. i would wrap the clay in a thick, damp towel even if it is in a plastic bag. if you are really cold, you are invited to my tiny studio in fl. as long as you do all the math and heavy stuff.
  8. oldlady

    skipping bisque firing

    everyone else here is kind. i am not. but i single fire everything except when i need to transport things a thousand miles to my glaze kitchen. i single fire all kinds of things that could be described as tile(s). what kind of final product are you working toward? how will the tiles be used? do you anticipate them curling up while being fired? are they totally flat with only color added or are they thickly textured? do you fire them in setters or on shelves, flat or on their edges? nobody will steal your design if you just share what you want to end up with.
  9. oldlady

    how to make slip

    let it evaporate if you want it thicker. the clay you use is the best thing to use for slip. just water is enough to make it work, you have to decide how thick you want it. evaporation and letting it settle so you can remove excess water with an ear syringe is enough. sieve it just to remove anything that might be mixed in. last time i sieved silp i found cat hair.
  10. having sold lots of pots over lots of years, i still do not know what to take. saturday's sale was wonderfully profitable. sold lots of big items as gifts but the real money maker was the basket of items that were under $10 and the smaller things at $16 and $19. next sale, i plan to have my camera ready and ask people to hold their purchase and smile. maybe i can pinpoint the most popular item that way. i make a lot of things and some will probably never sell but they add color and variety to the booth. (sold the ugly fish this time just minutes after i offered it to my helper because she liked it. she had it in her hands when a couple returned and asked for it. there is no way to tell what will sell.)
  11. oldlady

    Kiln not reaching temperature

    yes, it is normal for it to slow as you get to a certain point. i have a kiln with a controller and it is set for a slow glaze at the factory. i have used it once or twice to slow cool but i really do not use that feature, i trust the factory setting. it has 3 thermocouples and i can determine the temperature at the top, middle and bottom of the kiln as it fires. the readout shows the middle temperature and at times the bottom is 20 degrees cooler and maybe the top is a few degrees hotter. i consider that normal. normal for my kiln, my kind of work, my packing density. when it gets near the end of the firing i have watched the readout fluctuate back and forth several times before settling on a particular number of degrees. it has always fired well for me and maybe i am just too easily satisfied, but for what i do, it works very well. my user manual discusses the program and the expected slow spots. having read it once, years ago, i am confident that the factory setting was thought out well. my concern with all the recent questions is that some sources of information are not as reliable as others. i do not know where your program came from but some folks think a firing should take only 4 hours and that seems extreme to me. the size and contents of the kiln, the spacing of items, the age of the elements, the number and type of shelves and posts all play a factor in firing. someone else's firing schedule may not work for the kind of work you do and the way you pack your kiln. i hope your results are good and your concerns are just a normal learning curve.
  12. is there a reason you want to ruin a perfectly good antique that someone else would treasure?
  13. oldlady

    Kiln not reaching temperature

    lukeseall, your post reminded me that lately there seem to be a number of folks who have their first kiln whether new or used. many questions lately include the question of how long a firing should take. whether stated or implied, many folks seem to think that firings take only a few hours and even turn off the kiln at the end of only a few hours assuming it has fired too long. my question is, where are these bits of information coming from? is there someone on youtube telling viewers how long to fire things?
  14. oldlady

    Why make functional ware?

    liambesaw, i am going to print your post and make it a part of my display at any craftshow i attend. starting tomorrow. thank you for putting it into words that anyone can understand.
  15. oldlady

    How was this vase made?

    touchdry, if you look closely at the bottom of the vase can you tell if the deeply scratched initials are just a little lighter in color than the outside surface? using a flashlight to see deep into the crevice, are you able to see a variation in the color of the clay that would be similar to the variation seen on the exterior? or is the clay a consistent color which might indicate a surface decoration instead of the marbling of the clay before throwing. if so, the darkness of the exterior is due to a glaze or burnishing technique and the clay is not colored. marbling the surface by dipping would fit since the color is uniformly seen on the bottom as well as the sides usually worked on for decorative purposes. my vote on the initials, GV cannot think what the other thing is.

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