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hitchmss

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About hitchmss

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    Sam Hitchman
  • Birthday 01/20/1987

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  • Website URL
    www.SamHceramics.com

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Cincinnati, OH
  • Interests
    Making pots, hunting, fishing, making different foods from my harvests. Like to cook and bake. Enjoy music a lot; its a studio must have. Classic cars, working with my hands. I like to build things. Even though I am not nearly anything close to an engineer, I like to play at it; creating new projects for myself that arent clay related keep me from losing my mind. Metalworking, blacksmithing. Nature constantly inspires and amazes me.

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  1. Oooof! During college I tried to rush a bunch of work through for a upcoming show. My slightly damp cone pack blew up, and by the time I reached enough color to notice it, it was long gone. Turned kiln off and unloaded it to get all the shards out; somehow shrapnel from than cone pack made it inside of tight fitting galley style lids. I wish someone could slow motion video record some pots during explosion because it is a force to be reckoned with. I see you've got 3 pyrometers sticking in the side of your kiln which means you more than likely have a "PRHT" function on your kiln.....next time, PReHeaT for a few hours!
  2. Nope. https://cmtcomponents.com/metal-panels/ Scroll down on the page, right hand side there are some pdf's which have profiles of the panels. I like the idea of using the "V" in front of the chimney to divert the water. We dont get HUGE snow loads here in Ohio, but on occasion we do have a couple of feet. Keeping that snow from "ice damming" up due to the heat escaping from the kiln room, around the chimney, and then consequently ripping my chimney off is a slight concern. More probable is that it would melt slowly enough to eventually work its way into any little crack it can find, and then onto my kiln. Ive seen some people who have some seemingly simple solutions to issues like this; no reason you couldnt leave the space around the brick chimney open, install gutter (under the roof) around the perimeter of the hole, and catch and evacuate all the water that comes in. I however like the idea of never allowing it a place to get in at all; sometimes the best solutions are ones that use a combination of "overkill" and "barely any effort".
  3. gold lustre also cant go in microwave or dishwasher, so while it may be "food safe" it may not be easy to use. Also, very stinky when applied; lots of ventilation and breathing protection. Also very expensive too.
  4. Your clay and glazes dictate what temp you should be firing to, not what was immediately on hand. Read the labels on your clay boxes and glazes; fire to the recommended cones. Also, if you bisqued to cone 4-5 then your pots likely wont hold the glaze at all; Bisque is usually at the 06-04 range.
  5. Top of arch is approx 5'; damper is located about middle of the chamber, or about 2.5' from the floor. Bottom of my truss is at 10', however, the roof line will be about another 6-7' from the bottom of the truss. I say "about" because while I know where the kiln is going to be sitting, and how much pitch there is in my roof (4/12), without some graph paper and some time, Im spitballing. Also, Im going to try and dodge the roof purlins with my chimeny; until the kiln is in place, not sure how far off my exterior wall the chimney stack will be, which can dictate the height to roof line. The bottom cord of my truss is lower to accommodate a 10' finished ceiling height, but my eave height is 13'....hence why there is another 6-7' above bottom cord before the roof metal. Best estimate there is 13-15' of chimney ABOVE the damper, before the roof. If I went with the offset chimney pipe design, my first 45* elbow would be 6-8' above the damper. Was planning about a 4-6' straight piece between the two elbows, which would shoot me out past the overhang (1') and gutter (5"), then allow me to continue vertical. @Bill Kielb I will work on getting some temperatures pulled together from my next few firings with the kiln at its current location. Ill have to dig around and find the old pyrometer, or pick up a new one and/or IR thermometer. Not sure if the IR could read a temp through a 1/2" hole drilled into my chimney or not.... Both your concern and @Mark C. 's concern about the reduced draft in my chimney due to the offsets, and angles, has me concerned as well. Last thing Id want to do is spend $2k on expensive chimney parts to find out that it doesnt work like I planned, and is also very difficult to resell. So, because of this, you've got me rethinking, and pretty much decided on going back to a straight stack, and exit through the roof, not the siding. Not only will this most readily assimilate my current chimney setup, but it requires less chimney pipe, thus, it is a little cheaper. I figure Ill use my IFB's to continue the chimney all the way up until about 1-2' below the metal roof, and then make my transition to 10-12" double/triple wall insulated or non chimney pipe, which will require only about 8' total of pipe and no elbows. Ive used the cones to make transitions through roofs for wood stoves in the past, but its always been on a shingled roof with sheathing. The metal roof I have is not corrugated, and not a standing seam in the sense of a raised square seam lap. Metal is a "C-Loc" raised rib panel; ribs are 3/4" high, 9" OC. I think the cone inserted through the roof from underneath will stabilize my chimney pipe, and provide that air movement (capped by a trad storm collar), but I may try a combination of pure silicone caulk, and one of those rubber "boots" like you showed to provide my water tightness. Use the silicone between the flashing of the through the metal cone, and along the seam, and the boot over top.
  6. So as many of you know I am in the process of building my new studio (which is coming along; photos and detailed post to come at the end of it). I am going to move the 65 cu ft downdraft LPG car kiln from the current studio to the new one and I'm wanting to change the way the chimney exits the building. The current chimney has a custom built roof jack which is a series of metal baffles, air space, IFB's, and kaolwool which protects the trusses it's installed in between and the roof sheathing/shingles. It does reduce the chimney from a roughly 12" square (inner dimension) chimney to an 8" round flue pipe, but we've never had any issues with reduced draft on this approx 18' tall chimney. Now, the new studio with have a metal roof, and short of making a new roof jack, which will closely follow the metal panel ridge profiles, and relying on caulk and other flashing methods to maintain watertightness, I am not coming up with a readily available, and cost effective way of make the transition through the roof. Because of this I am wanting to run my chimney through the side wall, by using an "offset" all fuel style chimney pipe kit. My plan is to carry the IFB chimney up to about 7-8' (2-3' short of the bottom of the trusses), then use a chimney pipe cap, and two elbows to shoot a 10-12" round chimney pipe through the wall, out past the soffit/gutter, and straight up about another 4-6' above the gutter, topped with a rain cap. Now I have two concerns which I'd like your advice on; chiefly, what kind of temps have you measured on your chimney flue gasses at different heights above the damper? Duravent who makes the chimney pipe, make a number of different models, some of which will handle continous temps of 1700*F, and peaks of 2,000* for 30 minutes. This assuredly would handle my temps, but I also don't want to spend more than I have to if this is overkill. I8I know I can see the inside of my chimney from my damper opening, and towards the end of my firing I definitely have red-orange heat below, and a inch or so above the damper, but not sure how hot it is from there up? I could take an IR thermometer or thermocouple up to my chimney top and measure there, but still won't know how hot it would be 4-6-8-10' above my damper. I could drill some holes in my chimney and test with a thermocouple but don't want to make holes if I don't have to. Does anyone know what kind of temps I should be expecting on a cone 10-12 Firing lets say 4' and higher above my damper?( Damper is 2' above floor of kiln.....middle of total chamber height of 48"). Second, this new chimney pipe will not reduce from 144 square inches (roughly) to 50 square inches as the current one does, instead it will go from 144 to 80-100 square inches, and the chimney will be about 6' taller than the current one. My inclination is to say that I will have adequate if not excessive draw/draft (which can be controlled with damper) with this new chimney as compared to the current, but ill also have (2) 45* elbows, and about 6-8' of 45* angled straight pipe compared to an all straight chimney, which may impact more than I predict. Should I be concerned about my natural draft /Venturi style big Bertha burners not drawing well with this new chimney setup? Thanks in advance folks! Sam
  7. The way I look at this QOTW is more about my competency in being able to produce objects on the wheel, and not about when I made "good" objects, whether those be for sale, or in comparison to my other works. I also agree that it is more a measure of intensive, focused hours of practice than it is years of dabbling/making/etc. What I tell students is that in the beginning while learning to throw they are going to be "taking" what the wheel and the process gives them; yes they have input, but once things begin to go awry, they do their best to keep it from flopping, and call it good enough. The point at which they are able to sit down, and produce any object they want, in just about any (realistic) size they want, is the point where I consider them to have mastered the throwing process. For me, this took me about my first 8-10 years, and its been another 8-10 years since that point. There are definitely objects or sizes that challenge my skills, but it has become a process like breathing in which I dont have to think about it much, if any, and I just do. While I feel that I have "mastered" the wheel, I definitely do not believe that I have nothing left to learn from the wheel; it is a process in which I will continue to grow in my technical abilities for the rest of my life......i.e for now throwing 15#, 1/4" thick bowls takes relatively little effort, and one day I will be throwing 30# bowls with the same ease. However, many have noted the other exhausting lists of skills that need to be honed to make "generally admirable" work, let alone work that is designed well for its utilitarian purposes; form, surface, glaze chemistry, eutectics, equipment handling, studio management....all these "broad" categories take years/lifetimes to hone.....it took me about 4 years, maybe 200 firings of my gas kiln to truly understand and with relative precision how to predict how each zone of the kiln will react....the next new kiln, will take me likely as long to learn its nuances too. It is these challenges which keep me excited about ceramics. In my area there were a couple of potters who would at shows share a double booth, and would hang these 10' tall banners of themselves with the words "Master Potter__________", yet they both made pots which were adolescent in their maturity at best; while yes, they may have put in the 10,000 hours, a master potter it does not make. I know Ive spent well over 10,000 hours practicing the art of walking, yet I aint bringing home the bacon with my vertical posture!
  8. Your work will (hopefully) always be getting better, so waiting until you have good work, is not a good idea. Take good images now of the work you have now, which you consider the strongest; It may get you into shows that you didnt think you could get into. Better shows means hopefully better sales, which means hopefully faster growth rates. Some shows will look at your image submission histories and if you use the same images every year, they may rank you lower. Ideally you should have a new set of slides (including booth) every year....granted, Im using the same images I shot in 2017, but dont count on one set lasting you more than 2-3 years. Its just a part of the business expenses and plan on saving work that you want to photograph, and set a date every year which works well for you.....photo day should allot as much effort and motivation as a show.
  9. More copper does not = more red. I fired at cone 10 redux for my reds, so my experience may not be as applicable at 5/6 ox. However, if you are seeking those bright, fire engin'ish color reds, then adding more copper will yield a more green color than a bright red. If you are having trouble getting consistent reds across a pot, then adding more copper may bring that consistency in check....copper volatilizes at a low temp, so if you dont achieve reduction at the proper temp, you will burn off the copper needed to produce the red colors. Again, Im creating a reduction atmosphere at a certain temp, whereas you are using temperature to convert SiC into a localized reduction atmosphere; without having much experience with oxidation copper reds I cant say that the same principles apply from ox to redux. Do a line blend and post your results here. Most of my copper reds have tiny amounts of copper in them (relatively).
  10. Im kind of with Mark on this one; we dont have a place to compost here at home, so when we do, it has to get toted to an offsite location, which means it needs to be something more durable than pottery, which is.....a cheap ol plastic 2 gallon bucket. I personally think clay/pottery has its limitations in comparison with other media/materials made for the same products; I love a handmade mug, but use my yeti travel mug every day....stainless steel, boring as heck, but doesnt break, and works well. For a while, and still kind of do, I thought about making food storage containers, like tupperware, from ceramic....seems awfully cumbersome and inconvenient, but oh how much prettier and enjoyable. Two things came to mind when reading through the other responses; to make a vessel big enough that its more than a one day use (if thats what you want), then the potter must have an efficient use of their clay; a 5# empty, quart sized container would not be fun to lug around. 2, wet hands (often in the kitchen) and slick glazed sides mean handles are a must....make em ergonomic and meaty...big lug style handles, at least 1-1.5" off the side of the pot..near the rim, so the thumbs can hook over top easy. I personally would do a thrown, more cylindrical style handle; grab it in a fist, and pick up; a shallow parabola with a lip/ridge at the upper point to catch in the hand. Also, in the interest of containing smells, and making a "durable" lid to be beat around, what about a non ceramic version? Thinking like some kind of plumbing rubber end cap, like the kind youd get with a hose clamp for sealing off pipes. They come in numerous sizes, are flexible/could fit around oblong/out of round pots, and as long as the fit isnt too snug, would lift off relatively easily....i think? Just an idea! Ive been toying around with making airtight seals on lidded ceramic objects either with brush on tool dips, or cast in place silicones....initial tests were ok, but need a lot of improvement.
  11. Lots of what I would have shared has already been touched on. Shooting your own work is a skill set which takes a lot of practice to master, and if you like fancy equipment, it can be quite expensive. However, for relatively little money, you can make all the diffusers, reflectors, backdrops that you want. Shooting glossy round surfaces is going to be difficult all the time and the issues are exactly what you see, and what you DONT want to see. Hot spots, reflections, glare etc. This all comes down to moving your lights to the right locations, and diffusing them correctly. I also like to have the only light in the room being the ones that are on the pots; 3-4 lights min., 1 overhead, two from the sides, and a 4th where I need it positioned per pot. Lights get aimed at the pot so that you can reveal as much of the 3d surface as possible..i.e. dont point them all at the pot from the front....maybe 1/3'rd of the side, 2/3'rd the side, slightly forward from center, high on the pot, middle, low.....Tripods make this very easy, but clamp on lights and chairs/ladders make it easy too. SLR's are wonderful because you can take a million pics for the same price; take a pic, check the image, adjust the lights. After doing this for about an hour on the same kind of objects (convex vs concave) you will get the hang of it. Reflectors can be made from scrap cardboard and spray painted any color you want; the color you choose will impact how the colors in your pots reflect....choose wisely. Dark cloth on the table surface can help suck up reflected light too. Pick the right color of bulbs for your work too! I dont know cameras at all, so those who do know how to use all the fancy settings would be better at this; a friend told me that for anyone who's camera illiterate to just use the "landscape" or "mountain" mode on your mode selector dial. I like a gradient background, but some dont. The all white, and vibrant image look is seemingly to become a more hip way to shoot images...gradient backgrounds sometimes seem old and sleepy in comparison. If using a solid color background, try making a LONGER background which curves upward; it will give you a softer change in shadows and will help to provide depth to your images. Use paper backdrops, not fabric....unless you iron the living hell out of it...too many wrinkles. Posterboard is bordering on the thick side for paper backdrops, but does "curve" nicely....rolls of construction/craft paper work well. Get a backdrop which is going to be at least 12-18" wider on each side than your widest work....you can almost never have them too wide. Grouping numerous pieces in a image is generally a No no. Many shows will reject you automatically for images like that because you didnt follow their directions; one work per image...read directions for each show...they do vary. No props in jury images; if the jurors cant tell what it is without the prop, then you should be using another artwork to apply...."are we jurying the prop, or the artwork....which is which...?" If you dont have photoshop, take your images to someone who does, and knows how to use it. Everything from cropping and rotating, adjusting color balance, exposures.....you can fix basically anything. Take your images in .tif format, or the largest file size you can...gives you more data to adjust. Read up on application requirements for image sizes; Zapp will want images a certain size and any bleed areas to be black. Others differ. I took my own images for a while, and even though I would do my lighting and setup the same as a professional photographer friend of mine, my images were never as good. He says its experience, I say its a $15k camera. Anymore I just go to him and pay him to do it for me. Last time he took images for me we shot over 150 slides, and he charged me about $700, which is DIRT cheap for quality images, and if the odds of you getting into a show, and making your living, go up by paying someone who is a pro, then do that. Ive paid nearly $80/slide...too much. When this friend of mine finally kicks the bucket I plan on finding someone for no more than $60/slide, fully edited, copies on numerous formats provided.
  12. Hey Keith, you can send me a PM to my email hitchmss@gmail.com, or you can call me. Contact info is on my website. Ill have new work ready for sale in about three weeks or so!
  13. I hope I didnt come off as riled up....well maybe a little. Even though I love number crunching, (right now looking at 2018 total expenses/income and crunching numbers), and I think that can be a very accurate way of coming up with evaluations of certain "things", when it comes to handmade pots, that specific attention to details/numbers can be very helpful in determining your COST in a mug, but should not be a huge factor in deciding retail prices...as you saw, $7 for a mug.....god bless, Id be a truly (even more so than I am) starving artist! Numbers only get you so far, I think the best evaluation is looking at your market, and your competition. Thanks for the comments about my work! 20 years of hard work!
  14. Worth the $ for the ITC. Extended the life of our IFB kiln to 650 firings. Goes to cone 12 on $60 of propane in 8 hours with a single wall construction + 2" of fiber. Amazing coating! Apparently the designed of ITC used to paint a thick 1/2" layer onto plywood and fire a plywood kiln to cone 10 without burning the wood....never seen this myself, but heard it from a many a folk....maybe just talk...
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