Jump to content


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

51 Excellent

About drmyrtle

  • Rank

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Madison WI
  • Interests
    Functional Cookware, porcelain art
  1. Sodium silicate

    Well, I'll give the Epsom salts a try this week--good suggestion. It will be an interesting experiment, although I doubt many other people would be interested. Just to give people an idea, this is a 70 gal bucket full of clay. It's a lot of clay, and I think they'd be better off to pitch it and start anew. I also wonder how much the silica is attached to the bucket: perhaps the bucket should be pitched for good measure? I know that you can't actually "wash" silicate off because it isn't soluble with most detergents. Mostly when we wash it we're just diluting it to very small amounts.
  2. Sodium silicate

    Sooo... Could I bring this topic back up? The people who use the recycled, pugged clay at my current studio are abruptly having a huge problem with "short"/ low plasticity in the reclaim. This wasn't a problem last fall at all, but now I see friends struggling with basic handle pulling and even well-thrown pots "splitting" on the outside after the pot has been thrown. I tried to pull some handles myself and "no go", unlike a handle or 20 made from 'new' boxed clay. I even wet mixed 50% porcelain + 50% their reclaim, and couldn't pull it worth a darn. I found out today that late last fall, one of the instructors had told students that they could put all of their substandard terra sig projects right into the reclaim bucket, along with any terra sig liquid scraps left over. I also confirmed that their sig recipe has sodium silicate in it. For those who know, don't you think that their entire reclaim bucket has been contaminated with a large enough portion of sodium silicate that all of the clay is contaminated and ruined. (Well, ruined if you think permanent defloculation is ruined.) If you have opinion, could you post such that I might bring in your thoughts? The students were afraid to go against the instructors instructions, and I'm thinkin' the whole batch is wasted because of the contamination. What should be done with the reclaim now? Can it be used even for hand-building?
  3. Seat For Potters Wheel

    Skip the drummers stool: you'll be sitting way too far back, and most of them don't go low enough. Also VERY hard to get clay out of the fabric ;<. Shimpo makes a cheaper version of a tilted stool. That plus raising up the wheel on the (brent) posts made all the difference.
  4. Bathroom Tiles

    Oh, go for it. If I can do it, you can do it. Tips: Use fireclay/heavily grogged (like a raku) clay as it will hold it's shape better. All of the "don't bend your tiles" etc recommendations are already on this site. Make sure you fire to vitrification, what ever clay you use. Test, test, test both the tile after firing, as well as assess your glaze fit. Avoid crazing like the plague. The most important thing really isn't the tile, either: it's the backing. Make sure you are using Marine grade (absolutely waterproof) backer board. If the tile, or the installation, ends up being in any way porous, it's the backer board that is going to save your house. For the same reason, having the tiles professionally installed is a kinda beautiful thing. Strongly consider using a sealant after installation. I don't remember the name, but you smear it on every 6 months or so. Ask your installer, and make sure they've done bathrooms with natural stone before--they'll know exactly how to waterproof. Finally, put your coils on the surface of your tiles. After you make 100 or so of these babies, you'll begin to get better with your technique, and glazes do magical things with coils/texture.
  5. Ok;This is a little crazy in terms of the amount of work, but... I've made up a (trailing) slip from dry clay, a slight bit of water, and what ended up being a large amount of silicone--something like darvan, for example. For my purposes, I needed at least some water for it to adhere to the mugs, but you might not need that in this case. The silicone made the 'clay' very soft and stir-able, but eliminated most of the water component. You'd need to mix this with a blender for your purposes, and be super careful working with the dry clay dust (since you won't have water to keep it down). Perhaps you could test this with a small amount and have some handy ceramicist-type mix up larger batches. This would still shrink in firing still, since the... chemical water trapped in the clay (I don't know how to explain this to a newbie ), is still in there, but at least you'd keep the amount of added water down. But the shrinkage rate should be more on the <6-8% rate than the 15% rate. (Some chemist please help me out here.) Sounds both crazy and interesting as I write... perhaps someone here will give it a try and test out feasibility and shrinkage rates for a siliconized-porcelain tile/mat for imprints.
  6. Thumb Injury

    Simple things to consider: Try taping the thumb that hurts to the rest of your hand. It's one thing to "try not" to use it, vs. "not able" to use it. Awkward, but it works by forcing you to use everything else but your thumb. If tape adhesive bothers your skin, put a non-latex glove on your hand, then tape that together as above. I suppose a plastic bag would do the same, but the goal is only to trap the thumb, not your whole hand. If you're throwing more than 7-8lbs of clay, use the butt of your left hand (clay spinning counterclockwise) while holding your thumb out of the way with your right hand. Think of "persuading" the clay, rather than forcing it, since you'll have no counterbalance. Also think of putting the force down towards the wheel head and curling under it with your left palm. When the load is centered, tape your thumb as above. (There are probably videos of this technique on the intertoobs.) Get an ice pack, and ice your thumb (where it hurts) after you throw whether it *hurts* or not. Be super careful not to freeze your skin, by keeping some type of cloth between the ice bag and your skin. This just helps back the swelling process off just a tad. If this injury continues, play with gentle heat if that feels better. Massage the muscles all over your hand, fingers, palm, etc. including the wrist. Enlist helpful beings if necessary. Dogs with big tongues can be helpful (I suggest Newfoundlands, but I'm partial, and they're so handy for me.) Finally, although no one has mentioned this I think, strongly consider getting a referral to an Occupational Therapist from your doc. OTs deal with hand issues, and they can give you more in depth information about exercises to counter balance the weaknesses that have caused this. (Don't be surprised that they start working on exercises for your shoulders; it's very likely that you are overusing your thumb because the general strength in your arms and shoulders is inadequate for wheel throwing.) It's worth paying for a session for the exercises, do's and dont's that they dispense, and way easier than getting shots or surgery, depending on the diagnosis.
  7. Current things that mess up in the glaze firing meet what I call "the hammer of under-performance". ;> Do warn people in shared studios "...something is breaking but nothing is wrong...", or you'll have a couple of people climb up the walls unexpectedly. However, a long time ago, I realized that by the end of each year, completely functional stuff without flaws was tucked here and there in the house and garage. The solution to clearing this out was to put ridiculously low prices on it, and sell it through a December high school ceramics department sale as a consigner. I never put bad stuff in that sale. That way, the HS gets money for their program, I do almost nothing, and my space is cleaned out for the non-sellers in the next year.
  8. I have no experience with the Bailey. The GGrip has another advantage that other's haven't mentioned, although it might be due to my peculiar studio situation currently. I work in a warehouse on the weekends, then transport the work in to the community college to be fired. Because the work-flow timing is so odd with not everything at the same place, I like to throw mugs, dry lightly, then immediately attach the handle. The bottom I leave for last, so when I go to trim, I've got that tempting handle to potentially knock off. The GGrip allows for that handle between the holders, so I can trim it last, then transport it. So, the high arms are really useful to prevent destroyed handles, as long as I keep my fingers/tools up high. The other advantage is that the bottom is at hard-leather hard, so with a sharp tool I don't distort the bottom because of the softness. (When I put the handles on last, the work is too dry to reliably attach handles.) I don't know anyone else who throws + handle then trims in this order, but it works for me.
  9. Hmm. While that might indeed be the technique, not one line, one circle, one edge is out of place. No overlapping glaze anywhere. The form is also supernaturally round as well. This makes me think that it wasn't "free-hand" painted at all. Sure maybe the colors were filled in, maybe..., but it couldn't be a hand glazed work entirely because I don't see any evidence of hand-work; glaze moves too much and hands are too unsteady. I think if I wanted to work at recreating this, I'd have to mold the thing, with circular indentations as a part of the model, perhaps working off of something that was very circular like a plastic ball. Then take little ring cutters to the cast (for the perfection of the circle, again). Recast that. Practice a million times on drawing black resist in the cast circular channels, then apply the color inside of circular barriers so that my stroke-n-coat trailer didn't wander outside of the black lines. Spend a decade cleaning channels if need be. The Islamic tile at the Met is quite variable in pattern and application. It's brilliantly done, but not "perfect".
  10. Have you been here? http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/neurology_neurosurgery/centers_clinics/movement_disorders/conditions/essential_tremor.html Because the tremor is often worse if your hands are higher than your elbow, changing the position of your chair higher (without hurting your back:) ) might help, as well as light weights on your wrists. Good luck with your health care providers.
  11. Pug, the pug image in the middle is fantastic. I wonder whether you might play around with changing your design a tad to eliminate the curved edges from your design, only printing on the flat interior. That way, you would create a frame for the image, and get away from the blotchy spots on the rim, while enhancing the central image. My other thought is to hand paint over some...all...? of the hearts with a black outline. I've done this with pretty neat effect, because it essentially doesn't matter if you are right on the edge or not. It ends up looking sort of three dimensional, ant takes the eye away from what the actual (fuzzy or not) heart edge will be. I've used a glaze pencil, but that ends up looking more like a crayon. Just some thoughts.
  12. Community Challenge #4

    Pics of greenware ewer & hydria. Doubt I'll keep the hydria, tho it might be interesting to check the functionality with the air port. I think the port is too low, so.... Ewer is a keeper so far.
  13. Hydria & ewer

  14. LOL! Can I point out the obvious? One slice of that giant pizza (generous 22? Inch wheat crust, some type of nitrate cured meat, (s)?, mozzarella cheese, tomatoe sauce) has 30gm carbohydrates alone, and few people alive will eat one slice at a time. 2? 3? 5? At a sitting? Talk about insulin resistance on a plate.... Diabetes, anyone? The thing in that picture most likely to lead to his demise isn't the kiln, I would surmise, but the pizza itself . Let's talk about gaseous toxicities when the subject being toasted is red peppers or cauliflower.
  15. Soaking Moisture - Bisque

    I love what people fabricate from clay! Ant dens. Never saw it coming.