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About SleepingBird

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  1. Tumblr and Pinterest When I want to drool over old tile http://www.tileheaven.uk/
  2. Commercial Glazes And Studio Made Glazes

    Mark, it would take me years to fill up a kiln that large...years! I'm a hobbyist who only sells a few pendants here and there, and as such am really thankful for pre-made glazes. I also have a chemical sensitivity so working with large bags of dry materials in my studio room is never going to happen for me. I would love to mix my own glazes simply to understand better how they work and because they are unique to each artist. Besides the sensitivity, the ease of use, variety, and small volumes are the main reasons I and other hobbyists would choose commercially made glazes. The reactive glazes are pretty cool for those of us who don't have access to much more than a small electric kiln. Someday, I'd like to buy a gas kiln and crank it to Cone 10, but for now I'm happy to have a kiln and glazing materials at all. In other words, we can't always get what we want, but if we try sometimes, we get what we need.
  3. Oxblood Troubles!

    What Cone (temp/heat work measurement using Orton Cone system) will you fire the ox to? Make sure you know what type of clay you are using (low fire, mid-fire, or high fire) so that it isn't overfired and so the glaze will 'fit' the clay (for example I use low fire earthenware clay with low fire glazes). If you are working with low fire clay and glazes, Spectrum makes a nice Oxblood that fires to Cone 05. Link: http://www.brackers.com/oxblood
  4. Photo Lithography on Clay

    Here's the most comprehensive list I could find, Mike: http://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Ink-Toner-Cartridge-Printhead-Issues/iron-oxide-in-current-laser-toner-cartridges/td-p/1711531 Made it a bit more confusing for me, actually! I'd like to ask others who may know about this process: will any Xerox copier have iron oxide in the toner, say if I went to a copy shop and they used Xerox machines? I'm interested in this topic too as I'd like to make some gifts with portraiture on them. I've already purchased the book OP mentioned as well as Images on Clay but there is nothing in there regarding this technique.
  5. Low Fire Clay Ok?

    I use low fire earthenware clay for making tiles and jewelry. As long as the tiles are not going to be outside in freezing temperatures or in a spot where they are continuously wet, they should hold up. Low fire clay is still porous when mature and so will still absorb water if not completely covered in glaze, eventually causing the glaze to flake off if it gets wet alot. Even tile that is installed will absorb water from the back if the wallboard gets wet. As far as underglazes go, be sure you choose a brand that can be used at greenware or bisque, depending on which you plan on doing. Amaco Velvets, Spectrum 500 series, and Mayco Underglazes can all be used on greenware or bisque. Mayco Stroke and Coat can be used on bisque or greenware, but acts more like a glaze than an underglaze and will stick to shelves like a glaze. I use underglazes on both greenware and bisque. When using on bisque, I lightly sponge on the first layer of glaze to avoid smearing the underglaze, then I don't have to fire again in between UG and glaze layers. Hope this helps, I'm also new to ceramics and tile making, glad to see another here!
  6. Cooling Ramps In Tiny Kiln

    That makes a lot of sense guys, I'll nix the wedge next time.
  7. Cooling Ramps In Tiny Kiln

    I've read a lot of differing info on the wedged lid/peep out thing so decided to play it safe. Seeing that a firing in this kiln costs under a buck, it probably doesn't waste more than 10 cents worth of electricity. Guess I'll do another test load, and look for the answer myself as to when the ramp should end. thanks anyways.
  8. Hi, I have some questions about cooling ramps. I make low fire pendants and small tiles in an electric test kiln, no vent but I wedge it until 250 degrees and keep the upper peep open throughout the firing and cooldown. When the firing is complete, my kiln normally drops 600 degrees in one hour. I programmed in a cooling ramp of 200 degrees F/hr to 1400 degrees, at which point it shuts off. I saw great improvement in the commercial glazes I’m using, mostly in the satin mattes (less glossy than they were) but also the clear gloss glazes seem to have a better clay/glaze interface. My questions (all temps in F): 1) Is a 200 degree per hour decrease a normal ramp down speed or could I make it a bit faster/should I make it slower? What is an average cooling rate on larger electric kilns? I have Richard Zakin’s Electric Kiln Book, it says a 100 degree drop per hour is conservative, 200 is too quick for most wares. My kiln would have to work really hard to maintain a 100 per hour drop, even 200 is a bit of a struggle for it. 2) Would it benefit the glazes even more if instead of shutting off at 1400 to ramp down to below 1200 degrees, which I’ve read is when the glazes are no longer liquid state? (There was a lot of popping when the kiln shut off at 1400; six minutes later the kiln temp had dropped 100 degrees--but the glazes looked much better than they had without the ramping down). 3) Should I put the upper peep in when the firing is complete to try and contain some of the heat, or will this hurt the glazes by trapping any last escaping gasses within the firing chamber? I have put the peep in at the end before, but didn’t see much of a reduction in the temp drop. Thanks so much for any help with this, I’ve looked around but there isn’t much info out there; I suppose cooling is probably not much of an issue with larger kilns.
  9. This thread made me remember one of the questions that I've had a hard time finding an answer to. I've been making pendants with low fire commercial glazes, just for family and such, no hopes of selling anytime soon. For glazes that aren't marked as food safe, are they still safe to use on something like jewelry that will be in contact with the skin? I read the 'crackle' glazes may grow bacteria between the cracks making it an unsafe surface for food. Bacteria isn't something I'd like next to anyone's skin, so I'd like to know if I should avoid using these types of low fire commercial 'special effects' glazes on jewelry. And hey, we newbies don't say this often enough but we appreciate your time and dedication to helping us learn something new every day here and answering the (sometimes really in-your-face obvious) questions.