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About curt

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  1. curt

    blue wash

    Edit: Assuming by safe you mean dependable colour? Yep cobalt will get you blue alright, and a little goes a long way. Just make sure your clear glaze is the stable, non-runny kind, particularly if you are making designs.
  2. They are much cheaper than the numbers being discussed here on eBay. You can find basic type Ks for $10 to $15, usually out of China or HK if you watch. I have bought a couple just to have them around, but since I always use Type R I can’t (yet) attest to their, ahem, longevity. Type Rs much more expensive and rarely available on EBay.
  3. May seem obvious, but make sure the end of the firing (last few hundred degrees) takes place during your cheapest electricity period, because that is when the kiln spends the most time with the heating elements on. Takes relatively a lot of juice to get those last degrees versus near the beginning of the firing, when the kiln is going slow and the elements are hardly on at all.
  4. Wheels are like high-end road bikes. The optimal number to own is (n + 1), where n = the number of wheels you have now.
  5. Google Hamer and Hamer on dunting. Could be you are not bisque firing hot enough.
  6. curt

    Centering 50lbs on a VL Whisper?

    This SOUNDS cool until the moment that you actually have to cut the top off a large vessel which you have spent hours throwing into just the shape you wanted. Then cool is not the word you will using.... speaking from experience on this one...
  7. curt

    Centering 50lbs on a VL Whisper?

    I know you are here to learn (cause you said so!) so I will be brutally honest (you explicitly asked for that!) and tell you that only a beginner would ask such a question. The very seasoned and experienced throwers you have just heard from here are telling you that they mostly do NOT sit around throwing 50 pound pots every day. And when you have more experience you will understand why, and what techniques (namely composite and coil and throw) are in fact typically used to throw large vessels. Not that you CAN’T put some whopping big amount of clay on the wheel and get a pot out of it, just that the more you know the less likely you are to do this (unless that particular process has some inherent value for you, eg, like the guy that used to demo for Speedball, but that is another matter ). And make no mistake that ANY wheel head can be stopped dead if you put enough reverse torque on it. But that is hardly what we spend our days dreaming of doing, or?... Why does this matter? Because you would be well advised not to make your decision on what wheel to buy on this basis. There are many other factors which are almost certainly more important, including design, functionality, configuration, reputation, price, after-purchase support, warranty, etc, etc, most of which have been discussed at length in many threads on these forums. I will close by saying that everyone has their own slant. At the moment i am throwing larger bottles using the aforementioned techniques, and sometimes end up with 40 or 50 lbs of clay on the wheel, but at the end, never at the beginning. I deliberately bought a VL Whisper last year to do this (sectional) and many other kinds of throwing, and have not been disappointed. It performs comprehensively well. Not saying you should get one - just saying I wouldn’t rule it out on the basis suggested by the title of this thread.
  8. curt

    Dry wood ash on glazes

    Hmmm..... dont know what freckling is...gold specks could be the kind of pyroxene crystals you find in a teadust glaze... As to what might happen, if, if...well, wood ash is notoriously variable as a glaze ingredient so hard to say anything there. And how other unspecified glaze ingredients might interact with that mystery ash? Just an exercise in pure speculation.... You would have more luck finding out how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.... test, test, test.... yes it takes time, and the gains are hard won, but that is just part of the game. Good luck! Would look forward to seeing your results!
  9. curt

    Choosing Glazes

    Re-reading the responses here it feels like there are some overlapping issues which influence these decisions. Some part of this must be where you are at in the journey, and it seems another part has to do with with your personality, and, ultimately, your voice and how it expresses itself in clay If you are at the beginning of the journey the whole topic of glazes seems quite opaque. You are coming to terms with the main game of making, and are given a short menu of glaze options, almost as an afterthought. You dip and pray, feeling your way forward on application by trial and error while slowly unravelling the mysteries of firing and heat work. Later, in the middle of the story, your making has improved and you want more control over surface treatment than you have had up to now. You have discovered there is a whole world of glazes out there, and you reach a fork in the road. You can continue to push forward on the main road using glazes made by others, preserving your time for making instead of learning glaze chemistry, but never quite knowing why a glaze works or doesn’t, or how to bend it to your needs. Or you can take the side road into glaze chemistry land, which slows your making somewhat but offers technical enlightenment which you feel will have great rewards down the line. Success and failure through experimentation becomes daily fare, parallel to, but different from, making. Until recently I believed that this latter path was pretty much essential for “success” as traditionally defined in this medium, on the premise that to become a master of clay, one needed to dominate all aspects of its use, including the technical. Now I am not so sure, as I see artists recently arrived from other mediums using clay with little or no technical expertise, with great critical success. Perhaps I am missing something, will continue to ponder this.... Anyway, further on in the journey, judging by the people I see ahead of me including many on these forums (!) the voice has emerged clear, with glaze aesthetics and decorative choices (and ultimately personal preferences) well-defined. There is substantial technical mastery in evidence with successful execution as the baseline, and mistakes or failures cropping up just temporary kinks to be identified and worked out. Dependence on commercial products for the final look appears to be limited - signature treatments are everything. The main lament I have heard from a few privately seems to be a sense of feeling a bit trapped by one’s own success. Galllery curators and loyal customers tend to want more of the same rather than bold new directions, or so it seems. Inventories of proven product to a defined minimum standard need to be stockpiled periodically to meet market demand, cater for exhibitions, etc.. Without the benefit of direct experience at this stage I wonder if there still experimentation, and if so to what end? Once an experimenter always an experimenter? Not sure. I would look forward to others offering different perspectives....
  10. What GEP said
  11. curt

    Choosing Glazes

    Mark, I have some old talc from my high school gym locker, smells kind of perfumey, could you use that? For the next life, maybe?? this is like question of the week! A disarmingly good question which has made me think, thanks Min! Sooner or later the same 10 glazes in the shared studio glaze room get stale and run out of appeal, particularly after you have seen them layered every which way but loose (some layers work, some don’t) From there the well-trodden path seems to be to go off chasing recipes from books or the web, with the grass always being greener on the other side, and I guess one could spend a lifetime doing that. Many otherwise competent potters I know (still) seem to be doing this. It is not clear to me when you arrive if you take this direction. All seems rather incestuous... Buying lottery tickets not my thing, so shotgun approach is out. Derivatives of well-known base glazes also out, for similar reasons. Steady selling not a big priority at this point, so dependable glazes with repeated outcomes not really an objective (yet). This will come as I mature as a potter and grow more comfortable with myself and my work? In a field crowded with ever-more commercialised glaze recipes using increasingly refined and industrially processed raw materials from fewer and fewer suppliers, experimentation, uniqueness and individuality are more appealing at the moment. Using new and unknown ingredients which I procure locally and develop myself seems more promising in the development of my own work. Testing is central to the process on this path, as are knowledge (glaze chemistry!) and research. Increasing headwinds to world trade seem to suggest that the free exchange and easy access to ceramic materials is not something we can depend on going forward. much more to be said, but there is the essence..... Edit: fixed typo on Mark’s name!
  12. Somewhat tangential, but I can tell you from experince that if the maximum wattage (more specifically amps) the wheel can pull at top torque (when you bear down trying to center that big ball of stiff clay) exceeeds the amperage of the breaker on the electrical line that wheel is plugged in to.... you will suddenly find yourself in the dark.... For real fun (and howls of delight from students!) get several wheels and a few hairdryers all in the same circuit running at once... Hours of fun deciding who is to blame!!!
  13. curt

    Crazy requests

    Great story. Did they have a Hawaiian accent? Just checking.... I think this must certainly be seen as de facto confirmation of “legendary status” in the ceramics world. If random strangers call begging you to perform miracles with clay beyond the realm of any human potter, surely you have ascended to a higher plane of existence? While we are on that, can you make me a bottle that will turn water into something red?
  14. curt

    Crispy Cone

    As Maraku has suggested, is it possible to get a bad batch of cones from the factory? Never heard of that before but it sounds a bit too coincidental that it is happening to two people at once? No doubt Edward Orton would be rolling over in his grave to contemplate such a thing... wonder how Hermann Seger would be reacting?...
  15. curt

    are these engobes ?

    Sounds like someone is volunteering to write the new and improved CAD glossary!

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