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About joff

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  1. thanks, everyone. Yeah I figured out that the softer clay is easier to start but falls apart pretty quick. My hand is a little sore today but no big deal. I don't have a camera to take a picture of the clay. The local pottery village is some distance away, but I will go there soon.
  2. No I know but I don't have access to them. Let me rephrase: If I made a cone out of the clay that I'm working with, would its observation tell me anything of use? I know this may sound dumb because I can see how cones are used by people with access to them, but I'm thinking that perhaps the original concept of the cone may be related to exactly what I'm talking about. Like you would make a cone out of the clay you were using and be able to make decisions based on its behavior. But I'm just making that up. Okay, BUT- it seems like the whole idea of the cone is to show where we are based on the temp of the clay based on thickness (+ based on melting point of specific clay.). And then another fundamental point is that what we're doing here is heating sedimentary minerals to the point at which the molecules fuse together, but we don't want to melt it. Right? So it seems like a cone made out of the clay you were working with would begin to melt at its thinnest point at a crucial point in the process of molecular bonding in your actual pottery. And that the original concept of the cone is perhaps based precisely on this principle. But I googled and have no evidence to back that up. And I obviously have no knowledge of the subject. So I'm gonna try and center another piece of clay. And open it up. I almost got to a little rice bowl last time before it exploded.
  3. No I bought it but it's not like from a pottery supply. It's just the clay that I could get. Does anybody know what exactly is the size of 'grit'? Like in mesh size?
  4. Okay so maybe you read my other thread about a kiln. Now I'm actually messing around with some clay. And the thing is I'm in rural Costa Rica and I can't take a class or access any kind of local resources, I've watched a lot of videos and I think I have a good grasp of what I need to accomplish. I think I'm actually doing pretty well. I'm working on centering it and opening it. Then it gets lopsided when I try to work it further. But I think that's just practice, I've worked with my hands all my life and I know how that works. But a couple questions nobody talks about in the videos. So how much should I work the same piece of clay? The first time it was really stiff, but as I kept starting over it's gotten more and more gooey as more water has been worked in. In one sense it seems easier to work, but in another it's getting worse. What do you think? Maybe just give me a number: 3 times? 5? 10? and then should I start with a brand new piece or should I try to mix in some fresh stuff? And then, so one video I was watching was on choosing clay and the guy is talking about avoiding gritty clay. I only have one choice but it seems pretty gritty. Is that normal for my soft noob hands or do you think my clay is just gritty? (I'm just curious, I'll grow calluses... I can feel exactly where.)
  5. Oh, wait I have a question: So I got this red clay I know nothing about. I understand the basic concept of a cone and 'heat work' as opposed to temp. Considering the fact that the properties of the clay are unknown, would it be logical to make cones out of the clay being used and watch them for (I don't know the nomenclature) a slump?
  6. This is exactly where I'm at. I finally got some clay and am messing around with the basics now. I know I have a long way to go. I'm going to put off investing a bunch in a kiln until I have a better grasp of the medium. I think I will first build a small wood fired kiln out back since everything is free. I do have a pyrometer on the way which I think is important for understanding what kind of temps I'm achieving so I can juxtapose that info with the results. I still can't find any glaze in the country. I'm going to be trying to figure out what I can do with the ingredients around, if anybody has any resources for that. Thanks, Mudtrust, I totally agree. And thanks to everyone else... I'll be back when I get stuck.
  7. So ostensibly I would like to throw useful implements (cups and steins as well as smoking utensils) and add sculpture to them. To sell. But I'm interested in other iterations of the medium that I'm only tacitly aware of, too.
  8. Yeah, okay, this is what made me call up my friend and ask if I could borrow the dust gathering wheel... and to be fair I do have some talent as a sculptor but I only ever worked in oven baked acrylics and plaster of paris... but I thought, , $200? I could do that. http://www.ebay.com/itm/CTHULHU-BEER-MUG-FACE-JUG-GA-FOLK-ARTIST-Ron-Free/171347237279?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D22872%26meid%3D7415188887644386330%26pid%3D100033%26prg%3D9836%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D121070808450
  9. (Edit- this refers to an earlier post about propane being inefficient, some other stuff came in in between... I should have quoted,) Hmm... that's not really what I want to hear but I guess it makes sense. Still, I'm gonna call up my appliance repair guy and see what kind of burner he can come up with. It's the simplest, most readily available system to apply and control heat. When I know what I'm doing a bit better I might consider building an electric kiln. I'm absolutely going to go out to the pottery village when I get a chance to see what they're working with and how they fire it. It's a ways away and I don't have a car so I have to intrigue someone. I may well make my first attempt a wood fired pit/barrel thing. I enlisted some drunken help today and got the wheel moved over to my house... it's Flintstone style. I guess that's appropriate for a noob... although I admit the first thing I did was think about where I could attach a motor and drive... I went out back and tried to find some clay to practice with... long story short it didn't really work. I have found some chunks of very pristine light gray clay out there in the past, but what I ended up with today seemed more like dirt. It wouldn't stick to the wheel. But the guy who loaned me the wheel is sure there are supplies in San Jose and he's going next week. So we'll see what comes of that.
  10. Meaning the faster you heat up your kiln the hotter it needs to go to heat the pieces all the way through, yes? And then I suspect the rate at which you heat (the climb?) affects a myriad of variables in the finished piece. And that the interest/obsession over these virtually infinite variables is what makes the hobby so compelling. Am I on the right track?
  11. Ah. I think maybe that's a pretty fundamental distinction. It's the kind of thing that doesn't get spelled out on the internet at first glance and for a person in my position (isolated by geography) is sussed out with some difficulty. This is why I appreciate a good forum and the people on them.
  12. Benzine, what does that mean the 'heat work'? How is the temperature not simply the temperature?
  13. How about this one? http://www.ebay.com/itm/High-temperature-thermometer-Pyrometer-for-glass-kiln-ceramic-kiln-/110940895666?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19d497b9b2
  14. Thanks everybody for the good advice. I think I'm going to use propane to begin with because it's cheap and plentiful down here. I really like the electric design, but I'd need a decent variable transformer to regulate the temperature, whereas with gas I just need a valve. I still need to monitor the temperature. Any advice on an inexpensive pyrometer?
  15. I have little doubt the clay down here is crap, as is the local pottery... it's supposedly traditional but is for mostly for tourists. It's more like a canvas to paint birds and frogs on. http://wanderlustandlipstick.com/blogs/wandershopper/2013/03/26/glazing-traditional-potteryin-guatil-costa-rica/ I'm from the US- I know how weird it sounds that you can't buy clay or a kiln... but actually North America and Europe are rare exceptions in such varied retail endeavours. Just last year Costa Rica got it's first beer brewing supply retailer.