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potterpat

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About potterpat

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  1. Great question! The question reminds me of a series of work I did a number of years ago called Vessels and Journeys. The idea was that we are each a vessel on a journey, and that just as the journey puts marks on us, we make marks on others and leave indentations on the map. It was a fun series, researching the 'vessels' of those I count dear, and them telling me of their journeys- and the challenge of making these visual. My journey has been one of ups and downs, but I have never lost the wonder and excitement of waiting for the next day to do more, the loading, firing, and opening of the next kiln. I started as an art teacher a hundred years ago and then left education for the life of a potter for a number of years-- went back to grad school, became a school counselor, and now a therapist...and thru it all, I have done clay. My father always said I was part gypsy, and I have lived many places, set up studios in many places- some amazing, some not optimum, but I always had to have a space to do clay. I have fired my little updraft to cone 10 so many times I can almost 'drive' it...built a larger catenary arch downdraft that had to be left behind for some important reasons...and now am starting the kiln building adventure once more. This time money is a bit more available than ever before, but space is at a premium. So I have to chose what I want...and soda has ALWAYS excited me- love the accidental nature of it, the flashing, the thrill, the warm earthy toasted surfaces... So I am researching, and looking for the best route to my next destination on this journey. have a wonderful sunny day! Pat
  2. 2 Chambered Kiln?

    So here is a question...In my understanding, there are kilns for standard glaze ware, and there are soda/salt kilns. Is there any reason that you can't fire standard ware, with no soda/salt in a kiln that is used for soda/salt, if you wad it, etc? Not that you would make a constant practice out of this, because of the difference in brick- fuel efficiency etc- but if necessary, you could fire normal cone 10 glazes in a soda kiln, correct? thank you! Pat
  3. 2 Chambered Kiln?

    All good words! Thank you! Had gas co. install a new gas meter on that allowed more volume last summer. They said all the lines were big enough to supply the necessary volume. Feeling braver this morning...thinking I love the look of an arch! So beautiful... And if its not any more complex than a flat top, an arch it is! And when I look at all the pots i have put on my bulletin board as beautiful, 90% are vapor glazed...with shinos and slips, warm oranges abounding... A soda kiln is what I want... I am scrapping the 2 chamber idea. I think I need to just bite the bullet, and build a soda kiln. Design ideas? thank you for all of your input!! Sunny morning here in SD! Pat
  4. 2 Chambered Kiln?

    Hello, I am considering building a new kiln. I want to build a downdraft kiln, using the Minnesota Flat Top design from the book 21st Century kilns. I have natural gas at my house. I am wondering if there has been any research or experimentation in building a 2 chamber kiln, that would have a place for glaze ware, and a chamber for soda glaze ware, in the same kiln? I have only space for one kiln. I am so drawn to soda glazed ware, and would like to try this, but not having any experience in soda glazing, I am reluctant to "put all my eggs in one basket" so to speak. I have extensive experience (20+ years) doing cone 10 and cone 6 reduction ware...and think I could figure it out- but think it would be so much cooler, if I could have 2 chambers so I don't have to make the choice... Ideas and feedback needed! Thank you!! Pat Schultz
  5. Natural Gas From Propane

    Sorry Neil, didn't mean to ignore you! Yes, Venturi burners, and there is a pressure regulator, which is adjustable, but no gauge on it. Thank you! Pat
  6. Natural Gas From Propane

    I am located in South Dakota. I used to live in the mountains, over a mile above sea level. Now I am not living at high altitude. I know when I lived there, I had placed a 2 inch block on the edges of my burner stand to elevate the kiln body. It seemed to help with air flow and the temp climb. Not sure if that will be necessary now that I am not at high altitude. Keep talking! I am taking notes!! Pat
  7. Hello, I have a 12 cubic foot updraft gas kiln, with 4 burners made by Contemporary Kilns about a hundred years ago...or at least 30. At any rate, I successfully fired this kiln with propane for the past 25 years that I have had it. Now being in the city, I am having to switch to natural gas. I talked to my local furnace supplier, and they contacted Ward Burners- found out that my propane orifices were size 50, and that I needed size 39 for natural gas. So they ordered them for me. I have installed them, explained to the gas company all the specifics of the burners- (80,000 BTUs / burner) and had a plumber come and put in gas line and regulators etc. So today we fired it up for the first time with natural gas... hmmm...very colorless flames that seemed bland. I used to only have the gas valve open just a bit with the propane, yet it was half open with the natural gas and still seemed not very serious... Ideas? Input? what am I doing wrong? Thank you for any ideas! Pat
  8. Reading Cones

    The cool thing about cone packs is that you can put them EVERYWHERE in your kiln. As you get to know your kiln, you will notice that there are places in the kiln, where if you place a pot with glaze A there, it comes out looking like the cover of the Rolling Stone (or CM), but the same glaze will come out underfired or runny, or bland, in a different spot. Putting cone packs in different parts of the kiln lets you know where your cold spots are, where your hot spots are, where the spots are with the heaviest reduction. So you can adjust accordingly. I fire to cone 10 reduction, but there are places in the kiln where I put some pots with cone 9 glaze- because its a cold spot, and some places where I stash some pots with a glaze with a higher melt point, because its a hot spot. I have a place near the top where I get the nicest reduction, so the ones I have high hopes for go there. Someone mentioned "reading heat"- definitely a good skill! As you get skilled, you can see when its got a nice cherry glow, and 06 is about to bend. And when it gets to that yellow-white radiant color, cone 8 is down, and 9 is on the way down. I do use a pyrometer, but this is just to be sure that I have a rise in temperature going on- so that if I do have a stall, and I change one thing in the damper or burner air, that I can see if it helped. If not, I change it back and try something else. I use cones to tell when I have hit temperature, not the pyrometer...it doesn't know. My cones show what the heat is actually DOING. Just my 2 cents Pat in southeastern SD where the sun periodically makes an appearance...
  9. Your Dream Studio?

    Ah, the dream studio! Picture a big airy barn-like structure, concrete floor, with sliding doors on the south side, to let in the sun on nice days. A big deck on the south side, with ware carts that could roll out to the deck. Also large tables to sit at for decorative work. Inside, a clay making area, with pug mill and supplies, and then tables for doing slab work, attaching handles etc. A huge pegboard filled with tools, and an apothecary type drawer set up for findings, like honey dippers, teapot handles, spoons etc. A nice long counter for glaze making- supplies conveniently stashed beneath the counter and above. Gram scale, cups and scoops in a handy place. Several wheels set up, with my beloved old kick wheel in the center. An electric kiln area for bisque and low fire. Outdoors there is a propane downdraft kiln, a small soda kiln, and a good sized groundhog kiln, with three chambers. Kilns have sheltering roofs. All of this would be on a few acres, where one could stretch out a bit... Of course, I have made pots in unheated outbuildings with no running water or electricity before. Dreaming is nice, but when it is all said and done, having time, space and resources to make pots is the main thing, and that looks different to everyone. Bottom line is, nothing can unwind me like throwing a dozen mugs...and I can do that most anywhere 😊 That is all. Have a genius day, Pat ... In southeastern South Dakota where spring is attempting to get its business done, so that summer can make its way to the stage.
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