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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. in your list of requirements you mention 2 things that might be cured without the clay being perfect. if you want pots to stay round when removing from the wheel or batt, put a flat piece of paper over the damp rim. if it seals to the damp pot, the paper allows the pot to be, in effect, a ball. food coloring added to white glaze will allow your students to see what is covered and what is not.
  2. if you are using a matte glaze inside, you might re-think it. first, it is hard to clean enough so it LOOKS clean. when you tested with water and paper towel it failed. yes, i know it is the clay but even if you change clays, i would bet the matte glaze will still weep. shiny inside and matte outside if you want but not matte inside. advertising shows so many impossible things you cannot believe anything except that someone wants your money. (remember the scrubbing bubbles? my children cried for hours when there weren't any.)
  3. am i the only one who cannot see any of the photos in all the posts above? i get a little symbol of a photo, some numbers and nothing else. clicking on them does no good. what am i doing wrong or what happened to everything on page 7?
  4. maybe the best "tool" is the way i keep them at hand for use all the time. my slab roller was built on top of a table that i created with 2x4 legs, stretchers of plywood for storage and a very heavy wooden slab door. the table is wide enough that i have space between it an the wall for the large number of plastic jars for my sprayer and several pieces of foam rubber for pressing slabs. a heat gun and hair dryer live at the end near a 36 inch rolling pin i bought long ago when i thought i would need it. the front edge hangs a few inches over the legs and provides a space for 2 little containers that will hold the tiny bits of excess clay that otherwise would end up smashed onto the back of a freshly rolled slab. there is also a stack of sticks to judge thickness, i do not trust the little dial on the roller, i want to feel the thickness with my fingers. the top is supported by a 2x4 on its narrow edge. this is the best tool, it allows me to hang all the things i need when making slab work. they are under the table top a few inches so i do not hit the nails or the tools themselves while working above on the table. i marked the top with a thick sharpie just where the nail can be found below. this means that i can find something without looking, the sharpie mark says it is right here. whether a cheese cutter, a pizza roller, a wallpaper smoother, a wide, narrow or extra wide putty knife, a towel or a cutoff wire. a glance at the black line and the tool is in my hand.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. oldlady

    Drippy Cake Plate.jpg

    what a treat! how did you do it? does it stand on its own? twenty thumbs up!
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.)

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