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About neilestrick

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    Neil Estrick

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    Grayslake, IL

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  1. The other problem of having your own body mixed by your supplier is that before having them make the big batch, it will take several hundred pounds of any body to effectively test it once you've got it close. It takes throwing everything in your repertoire, testing all of your glazes on it, several firings, different drying conditions, etc. If it's not working, then it's mixing another 300 pounds of test clay and repeating the process. Mixing 300 pounds of clay without the proper equipment is no small feat in itself, and it's absolutely necessary before going to big batches. It's no small thing to commit to 2,000 pounds of a custom mix. You could get 200 pounds into it and realize it's not as good as you thought.
  2. Going to visit a clay supplier is fun! Kid in a candy store....
  3. When I lived in Iowa, I used to drive up to Minneapolis to buy clay. It took a full day to go up and back, but we always made a good day of it and had a nice lunch, did a little shopping in the big city, etc. It's worth it versus mixing your own clay. If you do not have the equipment and ventilation to mix clay bodies properly and safely, then it's going to be way more work and risk than it's worth. Take a drive and get a sampling of other clays, or call another supplier and see if they'll ship you 5-10 pounds each of several of their clay bodies. When you find one that works, just buy enough that the shipping isn't too outrageous per pound. That may mean buying 500 or 1000 pounds, but it'll keep for a year or more. And even expensive clay is cheap when you break it down to the cost per pot.
  4. satin matte glazes - earthy tones

    Personally, I think you're approaching this the wrong way. If they don't want YOUR work, they way you make it, then find somewhere else to sell your work. It's up to you to create a body of work and market it to the shops. If they don't want it, then move along. Don't get caught up in letting them dictate what you make. You'll go nuts trying to please them. Yes, accept constructive criticism, as they know what sells at their shop, but not every shop is going to be a good fit for your work. Making a new line of glazes is no small order, and they probably don't realize that.
  5. Upcoming 300th Firing - Kiln Repairs

    @Joseph F Yes, touching the end of the tube.
  6. Upcoming 300th Firing - Kiln Repairs

    You should be able to get about 150 firings, combined bisque and cone 6, from a set of elements. TC's may last longer. Just check the element resistance at 100 firings with a meter and see where you're at. No sense changing them early if you don't have to.
  7. Upcoming 300th Firing - Kiln Repairs

    Yep, that TC was shot! And no, don't pull it back. Just leave it tight against the end of the tube. Fire away! Imagine if all that black metal from inside the protection tube had shed into your kiln and onto your pots and shelves....
  8. It would be easier and faster to test some clay bodies from other suppliers. Where are you located? We all might be able to make some suggestions for nearby options.
  9. cone 5 clear glaze for Cassius Basaltic

    In what way is it not working?
  10. Have you tested glazes to confirm that they don't work? Could be that the supplier is wrong.
  11. Don't let @glazenerd see this thread or you're in for it! What exactly is the problem with the porcelain you're currently using, and what properties are you hoping to get out of your own formula? The most basic cone 10 porcelain formula is 25% silica, 25% feldspar, 50% kaolin. Going from there, for a cone 6 porcelain you'll have to increase the feldspar to get it to fuse at a lower temperature. You'll also need to add plasticizers to make it more workable. I'm a big fan of VeeGum T, but there are other (cheaper) white bentonites and such that work well, too. The best porcelains use English Grolleg for their koalin. If you plan to have your supplier mix it for you, then you'll first need to find out what materials they keep in their inventory that are available for you to use in your formula. Convincing them to get in certain materials just for your mix will be difficult and expensive. Bear in mind, too, that this will take a long time, like maybe years to get just right. It may be easier to simply try out other porcelain bodies from other suppliers.
  12. Floating Blue is finicky on a good day, so anything you do to it will affect the color. The good thing about floating blue is that the surface it mottled enough that you probably won't notice any crazing, and on a vitrified porcelain you won't have to worry about weeping. Someone more familiar with the glaze will be able to tell you if it even works on porcelain. If I remember correctly it's happiest on brown stoneware bodies. Some glazes rely heavily up their chemistry to create their look, and you can't do much to change them without ruining the thing that makes them great. Others you can change a lot, with little effect on the final result.
  13. Mason Stain in base glazes

    I've been running tests of about 15 different mason stains in a clear base every day for the last 3 weeks. My first round was 4% of the warm colors, 2% of the cold colors. It was a good starting point and gave me many nice results. I've also been blending colors, for instance trying to tone down a very bright yellow, and as little as 0.2% of some browns will have a noticeable effect. A lot will depend on how your base glaze responds to colorants, though.
  14. Genesis Controller

    Just like cell phones! I never know what's happening when my phone updates. I'm betting that 99.9% of the controllers Bartlett sells are sold to the kiln manufacturers, who all have their own manuals. This updating stuff is new to them. It would be nice if they maintained an update list on their web site. The app won't be available for public use for another couple of weeks. They're shooting for November 1st.
  15. Table top fountain design

    I'm not a big fan of running the cord out the bottom and trying to seal the hole with silicone or anything else. It will fail and some point. All it takes is a pull on the cord to make a leak. I've done several where the bottom vessel had a lid, and as the water cascaded down it went through holes in the lid. These were large fountains (3-4 feet tall) that were meant to be outdoors, so the lid kept leaves and critters out of the water. The cord went out of a notch between the lid and bottom vessel.