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Everything posted by hitchmss

  1. I'm a huge fan of packing my loads as tight as I can; both bisque and glaze. However, at a certain point the amount of time taken to get absolutely as tight as load as physically possible overcomes the "savings" you get by doing so. For me, making a living making pots, timE is money so I get as tight as I can, but rarely worry about 1/8"s of an inch of space. A space over 1/2" I try to fill if I can, but that also means I need to have a lot of small pots to fill those spaces, sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. If time is no issue pack it as tight as you can, like Mark said, watch for expansion and pots fusing to themselves or furniture, and feel proud of being as efficient as possible. Super tight loads often need a soak at maturation and/or fired more slowly so you ascertain a consistent tEMP throughout. I tumblestsck my bique loads and they are tight!! I do a 10-15 min soak at 06 to make sure if all gets there.
  2. hitchmss

    A little question about Kiln

    Most community studios will fire work for you as long as it's a clay body they are familiar with, they are glazed withglazes they know, and you aren't known for mixing up cone 06 glazes for 6. It's a much cheaper and easier option that buying your own kiln. Unless you're making hundreds, or potentially thousands of beads/embellishments, it's cheaper to pay someone else to do it. Work that size is easily transported so you can still make the work at your studio and take to the community to fire. A small (1 cubic foot or so) 110v kiln, a circuit to run it (if there isn't one already installed; remember proper size wire/breaker, plus ventilation for safety), will cost you around a $1k or more depending on condition, etc.
  3. hitchmss

    Please help me solve the problem !!!

    What you're wanting to do is not learned on YouTube. Take classes like Neil said; an expert will teach you more in a few hours than you will learn from YouTube in days. Too many unspoken "rules" and info which isn't shown in a 2 min video. Reading is good, but for the technical info regarding utilitarian pottery you're gonna need more than just book time. I'd simplify your goals to maybe just making some pinch/coil pots that teach you some basics.
  4. hitchmss

    Taking the design off a mold

    Fill the design with a oil based clay, make a new master of silicone/urethane, and cast new mold off master. If design is positive in shape(in the plaster mold, not the casting); protrudes into mold, then possible to sand down, but if it's negative in shape it's unlikely youll be able to get new plaster to stick, especially if it's a thin design.
  5. hitchmss

    Kiln wash question

    Thicker layer of wash on your shelves. If there's enough of a run to get through the wash to your shelves it's gonna stick as if there wasn't any wash on there to begin with. Add 1-2% g200 to your wash; allows you to build a very thick layer. I used to have about 1/2" of wash on my shelves...then j got advancers.
  6. I use a 10" log from my pugmill wrapped in a piece of plastic held in place with rubber band. Shove long handled plastic brush in it and set to height/width. Heavy/doesn't move, doesn't dry out and shift size, easy to adjust/set, brush doesn't gouge pot rims if you get too big, hang wire tool over brush, needle tool gets shoved in top of log. Use a pair of plain old calipers to measure your floor opening and keep your weight of balls consistent=uniform pot sizes.
  7. Third to the idea of mounting the pieces to a larger board; use a two part epoxy to bond pieces to board. Paint it prior to this if you want it painted. Forget using the plaster to fill cracks; use a knead able two part putty. This can found at craft stores or in the adhesives section at hardware stores. You knead the two parts together and then use this to fill cracks; it will air dry to a relatively indestructible material, but it can be sanded down and touched up as needed. Requires no special treatment to paint. Its gonna be a pain to get whatever material you choose into all those little cracks. Mix you material in small batches and work quickly on small areas at a time. Find some cheap modeling tools, or cut some popsicle sticks into some points/blade shapes to help you sculpt your materials into areas.
  8. Without knowing your budget, and needs for the space, its hard to say what would be best for you. I.e. if your going to be a production potter, and use/buy tons of clay, then you're gonna need a floor which can handle the weight....i.e. reinforced concrete (get the idea?!). If you're making 100 pots a year, then a small storage shed or two from home depot or so might work for you. Items of importance, in order of priority for me; safety (air flow, cleanbility, etc), ease of working (flow, etc), lighting, storage. Make sure you have enough power for all your needs, and add a spare 50-80% of what you're going to need now(my new studio is going to need 300-400 amps of service). You'll likely use it in the future. Consider zoning issue too; setbacks from property lines, if this is a business, how much space can be dedicated to business in residential zone, etc. How are you getting materials to and from studio? Driveway? Walkway? Muddy yard? How are you going to heat and cool the space? If it rains a ton, are you going to need to run dehumidifiers to dry the studio out? Building a studio is like building a home, with just about as many specific choices that need to be made, and in some circumstances can be more demanding. Read up wherever you can, visit many a studios and ask potters what they'd do different.
  9. Pictures please. It's also possible that someone who doesn't understand that 220/230/240v has two hot leads, a common and a ground, may have tried rewiring the kiln prior to your ownership so don't assume that what is there is correct. Does this kiln have infinity switches?
  10. hitchmss

    Choosing Glazes

    For me, and likely many others, a set of glazes is something that has developed over years of use and experimentation. In the beginning it was more a shotgun approach; see a glaze, or a fancy name, and try to reproduce it, which normally led to poor results. Once I got over trying to "find" all the "best" glazes I focused more on finding ones that worked in the basic sense (fit and surface), and using bases to run line blends/triaxials, etc to alter surface, color, fit, etc. Being a full time potter I dont have enough time (that I'd like) to test new glazes and experiment; Ive got a palette of 9 glazes, and many days I think that's 8 too many. Anymore I come across recipes here and there that pique my interest and try them out; out of the few dozen of those from the last few years, none of those made it past tests. When I do test glazes I do a little different tile than most. I make them from slabs, cut out a 4"x6" slab, put two big holes in the corners (for hanging afterwards), and I texture the bottom half of the tile with a tool. I make the slabs from a average grey colored stoneware, dip one end in a porcelain slip, and the other in a brown stoneware slip. When I apply my tests I dip/brush in layers with the thickest being over the textured area to see the greatest amount of variance. For each test glaze I make 4 tiles; one for ox, one for redux, one for wood, and one for soda. I fire Ox and redux regularly, but no longer have my own soda kiln so I toss them in to the universities loads when they fire, and the wood ones into a friends kiln. The only piece of info the tile doesnt provide, since they are fired flat is the glazes propensity to melt. A small piece of extruded tube is also dipped and fired alongside the tiles. I teach students to simplify their palettes and work with no more than 5 glazes, but find ways to achieve 10/20/30 surfaces/colors with those 5 glazes, whether it be by using slips underneath, varying thicknesses, layering, altering application methods, firing cycles, atmospheres, etc...... The way I test layers is by making a large slab, maybe 2'x2', and I make 1-2" wide strokes with a brush, each glaze in a column and row, so I can see what each looks like under/over each other. If I find something that looks interesting, then I take it to a vertical surface and test further.
  11. First time buyers pay 50% down, remainder COD. Orders over $2k are 50% down always, remainder COD or NET 30. This serves as a unspoken contract; no payment, no product. The uncommitted will back out when they see that. For an order with a retailer (that isnt a craft/art gallery), especially a very big one(thinking thousands of units) I might consider putting together a contract regarding liability; as in, the retailer has taken over ownership of the product and when it left my hands was in perfect working order. If a customer of their's were to come back claiming a suit then its no longer your issue. Contracts mean little without attorneys to write them, and a notary to sign them. Still could be broken in a court case, but better than nothing. Insurance only goes so far, and Im maybe a little paranoid, but worry about the what-ifs.
  12. hitchmss

    Selling Large Work vs Small Work

    In regards to approaching the gallery; speaking with firsthand knowledge (wife is a gallery manager, and has worked in galleries for 20 years now, friends are gallery owners, on and on), galleries utterly hate it when you show up unexpectedly to try and "sell" them something. They are put in the spot of either offending you, or carrying your work, and more likely than not, they'll turn you down just because of unprofessional nature of your approach. The way to approach a gallery about carrying your work (small or large) is to call or hand write a letter asking how they prefer submissions for review and follow their instructions to the letter. If they turn you down, hand write a note thanking them for their time. The art gallery world is relatively small; making highly professional, friendly connections goes a long way. In regards to selling big pots; I make pots that go from $6 to over $6k. I have some friends who sell $2-5k pots at shows quite regularly, but for me I dont. My gleaning from the entire experience is that your big pots wont be valued as much when they are on the same table, or same booth as your $15 sponge holder. So, if you want to sell big pots, create and display a refined booth that features big vessels only, and attracts the customers you want, not the looky loo's who touch everything, and buy nothing. I dont lug my truly large work (48" vessels) to shows just because of the hassle and risk of damaging them, but I do take 24-36" work with me and sell a dozen or two every year in the $500-$1k price range. Often a lot of the customers who do buy those pieces saw me the year before, loved it, but needed the year to realize they should have bought it last year. The truly big work gets sold, typically privately, through connections made and fostered at other events. Galleries, especially smaller craft galleries, dont want to carry big work like that because it takes a while to sell, and takes up a lot of real estate. However, just today, one of my galleries sold a bigger $600 bowl, so they do sell. Big pots do impress the patrons and will sell the smaller pots better. Ive only been in the full time game for 7 years now, and producing 8 or so tons of small pots and doing 22 shows a year is taking its toll on my hands and joints. Long term game plan is to ween off the small pots (either volume, or production method) and focus on making bigger pots. I see some potters who just up their prices on their small stuff as they get older, but then I do see them with the same $60 mug at each show too..... Someone else mentioned the design shows; I have some friends who have gone the route of displaying/selling at the large residential or commercial design/decoration shows. Some have received contracts to put big pots in every room of their 200 room hotels, or a sink in every new condo in the 1,000 unit development. Going this route can pay off, but can be for cash flow. A macro crystalline friend just received a $2 million offer to do a few thousand of his wall sconces for a lighting design retailer; picked up the connection at an art show on the street.
  13. hitchmss

    Best Tent For Craft Show?

    Crafthuts are tanks, but heavy and bulky like one too. Ez-ups=ez-downs too (not in the good way either). There are some pop up style canopies which are beefier and worth using, but in general, if its under $2/3/400 its not worth the risk for your work, or the liability, should it blow away. That's not to say that I dont own one, and use it on occasion (esp. one day shows where setup is crunched), but when I do Im conscientious of the weather and make sure to secure it with proper weights, or anchors into the earth when possible. My go to tent is a Light Dome; it's withstood pretty serious weather, but I have lost one at VA Beach. However, at that show so did another 40+ booths, of all makes and models. I prefer it over the trimline as the number of parts is simplified, and easier to assemble. Pound for pound, id say the light dome is stronger. Another thing many folks dont consider much when it comes to their canopy is how it looks, and how it will hold up/look over 2-20 seasons of shows. A lot of the pop up canopy tops are waterproof, but more fabric than plastic. They stain more easily (also easier to clean, still a pain though). The goal of being at the show is to sell work, and professionals (who LOOK professional) sell better than the rag tag canopy that's barely standing up.
  14. hitchmss

    No Swiping

    In regards to the theft of these digital transactions; Had a friend who made copper wind art who logged into a wifi network at the show. The title of the network was something he thought the show put up like "artintheparkfreewifi". He processed a few thousand dollars worth of transactions all weekend to only come home on Monday to find out NONE of it went to him. The network was fake (not a new tactic). PCI compliance requires you to use your own network when processing transactions. Since it was also mentioned in this thread; the offline mode in square works well. When you dont have signal, it will try to process like normal, and after unsuccessfully processing it will ask to enter offline mode. Perform the rest of your day's transactions and then get to signal within 24 hours, because after that the data that was saved is erased and your out money.
  15. hitchmss

    Glaze Disposal

    Glad to hear that the drop offs will take it (hopefully my area will too!).
  16. hitchmss

    Averting kiln disasters

    I pack my oval tight as I can when I bisque. I normally put a hold of 5-15 min (depending on tightness of pack) to ensure that the core has reached same temp. If you have wetter pots, dont put them towards the center &/or bottom where it takes longer for heat to reach. Learn how to stack pots that the weight isnt being supported on the rims; pass the weight through the bottom of the pots, and consequently to bottom of kiln. Too much weight will crack rims. Also, dont pack it that pots cant move at all. As they expand, if they dont have a little room they will break themselves. Tumble stacking is what I do and there are some tricks to it. Better to fire pots than furniture. In my glaze loads I leave no more than 1/4" in between pots when possible. I like to fill the kiln as tightly as possible with the idea that the radiant heat among all the work will help even out small zones of cooler temps.
  17. hitchmss

    Will my kiln be happy outside?

    Neil nailed all the points regarding the kiln. From experience on a different project, if you're gonna have larger (over 2-3') hinged sections of this building to open up, put a castor on the suspended end. Unless you use beefy hinges, anchored into super solid beams, then the doors will sag, and eventually not close. A castor helps bear the weight of the door. Needs to be on a flat surface to work; if not on concrete, use a pneumatic tire at least 6" in dia. If wheels on doors wont work, then use a beefy piano hinge for extra large doors. One other thing not mentioned, maybe thought about though. You're gonna be running electric there anyways, so put in at least one extra 15-20 amp circuit for at least one(id do a couple of fluoro housings, or leds if budget-able) overhead light (god knows you'll be loading the kiln in the middle of the night at some point in your life), and if you need power tools to work on kiln shelves, pots, etc.
  18. One thing I picked up regarding kiln wash; from kiln master at homer laughlin factory. To keep wash popping loose from shelf and flying around their turbulent kiln (and consequently when handled in/out, etc) he would add enough G200 to the wash mix that it was hard enough after firing that his finger nail would no longer dent the surface, but a key/nail would scratch it still. For me in my cone 12 kiln I would use 1.75% G200. I second Marks recipe; 25% Calcined EPK helps keep it from shrinking too much and flaking off. Before I got my advancer shelves my cordierites had a build up of maybe 3/8" thickness of kiln wash; when glazes ran they rarely made it through the layer to stick to the shelf. Touched them up between firings. I didnt flip my shelves; no amount of flipping will keep shelves flat at cone 12+, but if needed to, a drywall knife, or angle grinder with a wire brush attached could remove the fired wash easy enough. Do this outside, with plenty of ventilation, wear a mask, and make sure your and your neighbors windows are closed first!
  19. I have two electric kilns(oval 2728, and 1027), and one gas kiln (65 cu ft downdraft shuttle/car). Takes me about a week-two to get work made, bisqued, glazed and loaded to fire. My firing cycles for glaze firings, once I do have a mountain (500-1000# of pots) are one per day. I glaze fire about 60 times per year. Depending on what I am making that day its anywhere from 20-200 pots per day. My baseline is that whatever I am making that day, whenever I sit down to throw, I want to make $1000 of pots at that session. If thats (50) $20 mugs, or (10) $100 bowls. More often than not an avg day produces around $2k in pots(not finished, but made). Last two weeks Ive made $17k in pots. An associate of mine, when thinking about becoming a full time potter, called a bunch of potters inquiring about the money making side of the process. One potter told him he needed to make $1000 per week. That was a couple decades ago; For me, I shoot to make at least $1000 per day in the studio making. Not every day is spent making; about 1/3'rd of the year is though. I make between 10-12 thousand pots a year (including all the small stuffs); use 8-10 tons a year, a few hundred gallons of glaze, and maybe 1500-2000 gallons propane. Ideally new studio will have 130 cu/foot shuttle/car kiln, along with 65; two ovals running bisque, and soda kiln for when I want to play.
  20. hitchmss

    Glaze Disposal

    Depending on what the fluxes/feldspars are in your glazes, the point at which melt begins can vary greatly. All your recipes may be cone 10 recipes, but some fluxes may begin to melt at cone 7, and others may not begin until 9. Unless all, or predominately all your waste is the same recipe/flux, it would be difficult, without testing, to determine just how much heat is enough. I agree, no need to fire to maturation. Enough to enter melt is all you need; a couple/few cones shy of maturation is probably a safe bet. Aside from stressing the vessel with more heat, the combination of numerous fluxes/oxides can drastically alter the melt point. There are ceramic surfaces (decals etc) which get fired to temperatures at/around quartz inversion (1064 F), but not many glazes do(some lustres, etc). 1064 would be around a cone 023/024. Quartz inversion is the state in which quartz particles go from an Alpha to Beta state (reverse upon cooling), and has little to nothing to do with glaze maturation. Ceramicists are concerned with the phase mainly in relation to the expansion/contraction which occurs at this state. Yes the cylinder would be more stressed filled with glaze rather than just coating the surfaces, but just coating a cylinder wont use a whole lot of glaze. Disposing of glaze doesnt accomplish anything for my other than cleaning up the studio and saving me paying someone else to do it; the less time invested the better.
  21. Im 20 years in (8 full time, 5 years of school, 2 years of teaching at a university, and many tens of thousands of pots), and still have only learned a drop in the bucket (metaphorically). Take it one (baby) step at a time! Enthusiasm is good, but can get you under water quickly. Get some good books(lark books are good!) on specific processes you want to learn and start there. Take classes where offered, and get a good handle on one process before jumping into the next. Searching the forum, and google for your specific areas of interest are good places to start too. Happy you can explore the wonderful world of ceramics!
  22. hitchmss

    Bisque temp for raku

    Denice, that info is contrary to everything I have ever been taught and experienced with raku wares. Are you saying you would glaze it immediately after making, as in, still plastic clay? How were you getting glazes to adhere to wet work? I teach my students, tell my customers, and personally would never use any raku ware for utilitarian purposes, mainly because raku clay (in my experience) is never vitrified enough, and the glaze surfaces are not food safe. Not only are raku glazes designed for rapid heating/cooling (thermal shock), but they typically contain high percentages of oxides, which combined with the poor glaze chemistry, are way out of acceptable additions. Lastly, most raku glazes craze due to the thermal shock they undergo; combined with a porous clay body, there's just a timer set until the glaze/clay interface fails and becomes part of your digestive system. Maybe I'm overly cautious and "preachy" when it comes to "raku pottery", but ever since I saw an inept (inept because she was told not to) beginner selling mugs through a coffee shop (with a clueless owner) and had to inform both of the law suits they were asking for, I make a point of informing. If Im wrong, Id love to know. Everything Ive been taught and learned contradicts though.
  23. hitchmss

    Using Elements and Element Pins in

    At what point do they become brittle....well define brittle. So brittle any bending while cold will snap, or more brittle that brand new? Out of the package they can be manipulated without breaking, however after the first firing they develop an oxide layer on the surface which helps protect and extend the life of the wire. Hence why they are shiny when new, and black/grey/crusty after firing. This oxidization continues to occur throughout each firing, and while dormant. After the first firing I wont bend an element wire without heating it to a dull orange/red color with a torch, and bending while hot (pliers) to avoid breaking it (doing this to bring wire back into channels). Without any definitive testing I would have no idea, how long is too brittle. If you're making jewelry Id use new so the wire has the most integrity and surface as possible. For sculpture any state is fine, just might need to heat to bend. If you put the wire into very thin pieces of clay it will crack it as the clay shrinks around the metal during firing, so some testing will tell you how thin/small is too small.
  24. Shawnhar; I hope my constructive criticism didnt come across as aggressive; sounds like you want honesty and not hollow compliments anyways. Best advice I ever received was some of the most difficult to swallow at the moment. Compliments dont create fortitude! Im assuming you mean that these planters had drainage holes you put in the base? I always put any holes into my pots when it is leather hard. I use a drill and bit, but the hole cutters, or piece of pipe work just fine too. The push through type require softer clay to avoid cracking, so that may be the cause of your cracks post bisque; might have been there when going into bisque as it may have cracked while/after pushing the hole cutters through (assuming thats how you made the holes). Any standard twist drill bits work wonderfully well for making holes in leather hard, or even semi bone dry pots (the drier, the slower you go with pressure, speed is ok). If you have very large holes (over 1/2") Ive used forstner style bits to make the holes, go slow with pressure on bigger holes; more surface area, more tension/torque. Heres a tea pot of mine with larger (and smaller holes too) all drilled at leather hard; biggest holes are about 1 1/2" in dia. Cracks could be related to number of other issues though; too thick/thin of floors, lack of compression (cracks "S" shaped?), too much water left in bottom after throwing, stress during trimming/hole making....Sorry to hear they suffered flaws....good glaze tests now, plus, if they're just planters a little extra drainage wont hurt anything. Keep on cranking the pots out; Its my belief you wont make good pots until you've made a lot of bad ones. Your goal of 300 sounds great! Every session you're working in the studio shoot for another 1,2,3....5....10....20.... pots per session. Dont sacrifice technique for speed, cut out excess steps, and focus on the process. Often I get in a rhythm when making work and count in my head what step I'm on. Most of my pots have 6 steps; center, open, pull 1, pull 2, rib, finish, repeat....Of course there's a bunch of little steps along the way too, but the gist of it is that I keep my mind in what Im doing, and not thinking about the leaking faucet. Turn and Burn!
  25. hitchmss

    Choosing clay types

    Glad I could help; with the vast amount of variables ceramic artists face, eliminating excess is a great way to produce solid work. Good Luck!

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