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Everything posted by ThisIsMelissa

  1. So, I bought that Creative Industries Artista. My local clay supply place had one on floor model where the owner matched the internet price. I felt good that I was keeping my money local, all the while, appeasing the hub who tightly controls purse strings. Well, I bought it on a Satruday. 8 days later (this last Sunday), I took her for her first spin. Boy was I disappointed. When I was at the supplier, I noticed a slight wobble, but the sales guy (not the owner) told me if I located the high spot, I could whack it with a mallet at home. I asked if that would make the wheel non-refundable, to which to answered "well, Mike doesn't want to take it on return if you're paying by CC, cuz we'll be out the card processing fees". When I unpacked the wheel, I saw the date 5-25-2005. Good gravy, that wheel has been on their floor for 7 years? Well, when I threw the first ball of clay, it was impossible to center and pulling a wall was even worse. Now, I've emailed the owner asking him to refund my money. I do not want to pay to ship it to Speedball (Creative Industries merged with them a few years ago) for repairs. I don't want the supplier to repair it (ie, whack it with a mallet), cuz in my mind, a new wheel, "that has never been used" should perform properly right from the getgo. I did offer to pay for the credit card processing fee as a re-stock fee. The owner hasn't returned my email after 2 days and now I'm getting nervous that he's not going to be amicable with the deal. I don't know what to do. I just want to walk away from this wheel and get the Shimpo VL Lite I should have gotten from the start.
  2. I'm too young to have these kinds of issues! Since I got my wheel at home, I'm noticing that my right shoulder has an ache.... kinda right inside the joint and sometimes the dull pain goes down to my elbow. I'm 100% certain it's related to more time on the wheel. I asked my friend, an orthopedist's assistant, about it, she said it was probably tendonitis/bursitis of that shoulder tendon/bursa.... But there's not a lot that can be done, short of surgery, which I'm not anywhere close to needing.... that, and NSAID pain relievers (Advil does help). Surely, some of you all suffer from the same issues. Does anyone know any exercises that can help reduce stress on that joint? I'd rather not grow reliant on Advil. I don't like to take meds if I don't have to, and would prefer a more proactive route to helping with this. Suggestions?
  3. ThisIsMelissa

    Shoulder Tendonitis/Bursitis

    I did end up taking a few weeks off from pottery (throwing anyway). My shoulder stopped aching. Last week, while working in the garden, I pulled something out of the ground wrong and that night, boom, shoulder pain. Today, after pottery class.... boom, shoulder pain. With pottery, I notice it mostly when I'm centering anything larger than 4 lbs. I'm quite aware of ergonomics at the PC. My monitor is sitting on a monitor riser at the right height and my keyboard and mouse are also at good positions. I've been in situations where they've not been good and have suffered. This is certainly not the same. So, yes, I'm using Dr. Google to diagnose, but I do also have a friend at an orthopedist's office. When I told her about it (before even mentioning being a potter), she said, "sounds like tendonitis to me. Do you do this a lot" and she put her hands in a position as if she were picking something up. ... basically, a potting position. "Yup, I throw pottery on the wheel." Bottom line, I'm 39 years old and my body is not what it used to be. I need to come to terms with the fact that I'm middle aged and need to start treating injuries properly!
  4. ThisIsMelissa

    ^06 glaze on stoneware

    If glazes are 06, then that's as high as you can fire the glaze. It will not vitrify the clay, however.
  5. ThisIsMelissa

    How do I fire a glazed spoon?

    What if you used a stand made for firing beads? You could put a hole in the tip of the handle.... just a thought.
  6. ThisIsMelissa

    S cracks

    One guy I watch on youtube throws a lot off the hump. He insists that the reason he gets no s-cracking is that he trims the bottoms very thin... like 3-4mm.
  7. Great news! I got a call today from the kiln repair guy and it's costing me less than $100 to get the old Paragon kiln running.... the one that was given to me by the people I bought my wheel from. I'm super excited, but now I'm a little bugged.... I don't have the faintest idea how to run the thing. Hubby is going to run the wiring for me. I've never even watched someone load a kiln. I don't know what additional equipment/supplies I need. Can any point me to a resource... like "Kiln Operation for Dummies"
  8. ThisIsMelissa

    grog vs sand in cone 6 clay for tall stuff

    On Sunday night, I threw "tall" for the first time. I threw a carafe... about 11" tall. I used a cone 6 white clay from Continental Clay. It's their B-Clay. It was super smooth to throw with. But I will admit that it took 4 tries to get anywhere close to this height.
  9. ThisIsMelissa


    So, until this week, I didn't really understand the hubbub about having tools for different clay body colors. But now I'm starting to understand why. I can see how you could have a whole complete studio set up for different clay colors: canvases, bats, wheel, trimming tools, etc. But really, what is necessary? Sponges, buckets and wires come to mind. As do bats--at least the non-plastic ones. Anything else? I've also come to the conclusion that if I'm going to work with different clays, I should probably clean out my splash pan more often. Or, should I just keep slop buckets for the different colors? It seems like this could get to be kinda space prohibitive. Help?
  10. Yes! I took back the Artista and got a previously owned, but never used, Clay Boss. I love having my own wheel! Thanks for thinking of me. Try checking out my thread, ... I guess I'm setting up a studio... or somtething like that!

  11. ThisIsMelissa

    Amazed by glazes on earthenware

    I googled her. To me, her stuff looks like underglazes. Many of them can be fired to cone 6.
  12. So, I returned the Artista wheel yesterday and got a previously owned, but never used Clay Boss for a good price that I found on Craigslist. The guy says, "if you want that, you can have it".... pointing to a small kiln in the corner of the garage. Looked pretty old... not sure of the year. Hasn't been fired in at least 6 years as the family has lost interest in clay and glass. It's a Paragon A66B. I called a (different) local company and the technician was very nice. He said I could call him with the particulars and he'd let me know if it's still service-able and whether it was even worth my time. I asked, "so, what if I take it and it's not worth servicing to get it up to par? How do I responsibly dispose of it?" He said, "then I'll recycle what I can for you and what is still useable, I'll keep in my 'graveyard' for when someone might need to service a similar model". Nice! Win-win! I picked it up..... well, the seller loaded into my minivan for me. And I'm going to drop it off at the shop next week. I've still got it in my van, so I asked my instructor this morning, to give his opinion. He said it looks decent. The kiln sitter is missing a prong or 2 It has no stand, I'm not sure if it would need venting or not and hubby would have to run electricity for it..... I was sooooo not prepared to even THINK about a kiln. I've never even helped load a kiln, let alone, fire one!
  13. ThisIsMelissa

    Disappointed in my new wheel

    Success! Thanks to your encouragement! I called the owner today. <firmly, all business. "Hi, it's Melissa. I sent you an email on Sunday night" "Oh yeah, I've been meaning to respond to that. If you're not happy with it, then yes, I'll take the wheel back" .... conversation went on to make arrangements for its return. So, I'm glad I took your advice and didn't let it get me even more angry. I'm returning the wheel tomorrow. ... and yes, my gut told me not to buy it. I shouldn't have bought it. And it turns out a Speedball Big Boss came on Craigslist today. It was never used. Perfect.... except missing part of the splashpan.... I can order one of those myself! Price is reasonable if I can get them to take a little less to leave room for a splashpan. Hopefully, I'll be able to pick this one up tomorrow!
  14. I'm working on cone 06 fired bisque, with a brown clay that vitrifies at cone 6. I'm applying Amaco Velvets using an 18 gauge applicator bottle. I was advised to fire the underglaze first (I presume in the bisque load). And then apply the clear gloss coat and fire to cone 6. Is this how you'd handle it? Or would you just apply the gloss coat and fire to cone 6?
  15. ThisIsMelissa

    Disappointed in my new wheel

    Yes Mark, I appreciated your thoughts. And did take them under consideration. Thank you. My gut told me it was the wrong thing to do right after I'd done it. Perhaps that's why it took me 8 days to set it up. This supplier was unwilling to meet the price on the VL-Lite. He said "that's a good price and I can't match it". He was willing to do a deal on a demo Skutt, but not anywhere near the price I could get from Clay-King on the VL-Lite. And now, with my experience and his demo wheels, I'll not be going that route again. I would hate to burn this bridge, so I'm really hoping the owner and I can work things out. But there is another supplier in town that is nearer to me.
  16. So, I'm down to 2 wheel considerations: The Shimpo VL Lite and the Speedball Artista. I wasn't even considering the Artista until I was at MN Clay last weekend and saw one. It's about $200 cheaper than the Lite and that's kinda a big deal. It was set up on some optional legs, which initially I would probably not invest in, but will be around $80+shipping later, if I decide I need them. It had reasonably good torque and I wasn't able to stop it with my hands. The pedal, would be about the same amount. Ad this $160+ to the wheel cost, and it'd be nearly the same cost as the VL-Lite. It has a 25lb centering ability, same as the Shimpo and I seriously doubt I'd ever want to consider throwing more than that. Here's what I found about use of bats: More importantly the Speedball Artista Pottery Wheel was designed to actually accommodate those LARGE pots. The motor housing, seen rising at the rear of the wheel, is well set back from the full sized 11" wheelhead, thus accommodating industry standard 12-13" throwing bats with the splash pan in place or 14-15" throwing bats with the splash pan removed. The smooth sloping shape of the motor housing allows LARGE 16" diameter platters and even WIDER bowls to be easily thrown on the Creative Industries Artista Pottery Wheel. Here are my thoughts.... Artista Pros: $200 cheaper to start, compact design-easy to store, lightweight to move-not sure if this is a big deal for me yet, Cons: Limited throwing space, foot pedal and legs extra-not sure if this will soon become necessary; use of a bat larger than 12" will probably require removal of splashpan. VL Lite Pros: 12" Aluminum Wheelhead, built-in table, foot pedal included Cons: Price, not portable, more difficult to store I'm not really interested in entertaining other options at this point.... it's really down to these 2. If you've used a table-top wheel.... Do you think I will quickly wish I'd have bought the fixed wheel? Help!
  17. ThisIsMelissa

    Tabletop Wheel vs ?

    Well, I bought the Artista today! My local supplier matched the price I'd seen online for a floor model he had. I haven't tried it yet. No legs, no pedal. I'm going to try throwing standing up. If that doesn't work for me, I'll set it up on a small end table, or build something. I figured that if I decide I want a fixed wheel instead, I can always re-sell this one and recoup most of what I've invested. Or I can make it a trimming wheel.
  18. ThisIsMelissa

    First time on a wheel...

    I started on the wheel in December. The counterclockwise thing was awkward to me at first too. Yes, trim your nails. Look up some videos from Tim See on Youtube. I learned a ton from him. Centering.... try the cone up, cone down method. Works well. Once a piece flops, you shouldn't try to re-mound the clay. You WILL get air bubbles. Recycle the clay and move on to a new ball of clay. Wiring off. If you're not using a bat, then you should wire off relatively soon. If you don't, as the piece shrinks, you run the risk of it cracking if it's still stuck to the wheel. You'll learn to leave yourself a thick enough foot so as to be able to remove it from the wheel. It takes practice to be able to get stuff off the wheel without making a mess of it. If you feel like it'll flop as you're removing it, there might be issues: too much water, maybe you've not taken enough slip off the sides and interior. Could also be your piece is too thin or you've thrown it outside the "Safe zone".... in which case, it'd be a good idea to leave the wheel on super slow and put a fan on it.... allowing the piece to dry up a bit and bring in some stability. My single biggest suggestion is to not become emotionally attached to a piece. It's hard not to at first. But even after its thrown, there are a lot of things that can go wrong.... not getting it off the bat, cracking during drying, punching thru during trimming, cracking in the kiln, terrible glazing, sticking to the kiln shelf, etc. Good luck!
  19. Ok, I think I'm ready to take the plunge into having a wheel here at home. I've been putting feelers out for used wheels. No luck. Craigslist, no luck. Bulletin boards, no luck. So, now I'm thinking about a new wheel. The cost is the holdback. I was at a local supplier, yesterday, and asked their opinion of what to look at without spending an arm and a leg. I've been using the Creative Industries Clay Boss at the studio, so I asked about that. A little under $600. Their recommendation was the Shimpo VL Lite. It's a hair less in price. Here's what I know so far. The Shimpo is reportedly easier to service, if needed. But the 2 Shimpo's we have at the studio are kinda loud and a bit of a rough ride, but they're different models and different housings. The Clay Boss's at the studio have been modified to have metal wheel heads and I like those. But the one I'd be looking at is a polypropolene wheelhead. I've not used it before, so I don't have any reference for what that might feel like. I suppose it doesn't matter if I can get used to using bats. With the Clay Boss at the studio, I feel like it's kinda hard to get a slow speed going. The transition out of stop to a slow speed kinda doesn't exist. I do not know if that would be the case with the Shimpo Lite. The Clay boss bullet-shaped splash pan is also a bit uncomfortable for my short arms. Makes it hard to reach the bucket. So, can anyone comment? And if there's another option you can recommend that's under $600, I'd love to hear it.
  20. ThisIsMelissa

    pottery studio wish list

    If you opt for putting in a sink, make sure you include a trap for the clay. Here's a video for another way to handle it: Since the humidity in your garage might vary greatly from winter to summer, also consider having at least one set of your shelves be a "damp area" :: There's a whole series of Expert Village videos on studio setup tips. BTW: I'm jealous!
  21. ThisIsMelissa

    homemade trimming tools

    I can't remember which video I saw this on, but one lady said she makes her tools from steel measuring tapes and puts them onto sticks with dental floss (I think).
  22. ThisIsMelissa

    Imitation: Flattery or a rip off?

    My love affair with clay is only beginning (having started in early 2011). I find myself being attracted to certain forms or techniques and initially, I find that I want to copy. For my own purpose, I think I want to copy so that I can learn the technique. But then later, do what I feel led to do with the technique. I really have enjoyed hand-building. I've given pieces as gifts and my friend even bought a couple last week when she needed some last minute Christmas gifts. They weren't anything spectacular.... certainly not a copy from the artist I was inspired by.... different forms, different uses and definitely different glazes. I have to say that I have whole boards on Pintrest that are devoted to inspiring clay works. Sometimes, I'll try to connect with the artist.... maybe asking about a technique or a glaze. I NEVER EVER presume that THEIR process is somehow free for MY taking. It's not! One artist was very forthright in saying, "my processes are patented and images are copyrighted" so I never share the techniques. I respect that and I respect her for taking steps to protect what it is that she does and does so very well. There are, however, some people who are very willing to share and even WANT to give advise so that you don't have to spend years and years trying to overcome some obstacle that they've now figured out. I think of these folks as mentors. They WANT to share their knowledge and experience. These are the people who do "how to" vids for CAD, who give workshops at local studios, etc. They are putting themselves out there as a mentor, they're teaching their specific way of doing things-techniques, tools, etc. They say, "give it a try.... let me know how it turns out". They get satisfaction and joy from sharing. I actually get offended when people say to me, "oh, you're so creative. There's not a creative bone in my body." Well, I actually do NOT think I'm creative. Not at all. I think I can look at a piece and figure out how it was made and maybe make an attempt to make something similar. But I am NOT creative. I don't innovate. I don't do anything that's new. Really, there are very few innovators in this world. I don't even call myself an artist.... artists are creative.... they create work that move people. I'm very utilitarian in my thinking. "If I make this, how might it be used?" I'm careful to not assign names to things if they're not specific use (like a butter dish, for instance). I know, the general public has a hard time working with something that doesn't have a label.... but I at least like to challenge folks to think in that direction. I gave one of my pieces as a gift on Christmas. I didn't say that I had intended the use to be. But the recipient immediately said, "ah, a spoon rest". Cool, SHE assigned a use to it .... it happened to be the same use I'd originally started with, but I'd have been perfectly ok if she'd have said, "ah, a ring dish". Where am I going with this? I dunno. I guess I'd love it if truly innovative works and their artisans could be respected and allowed to have their moment in the sun. Let them collect their reward for creating something new and exciting. But if that same artist is going to put themselves out there and give workshops and create "how to" vids of their process, then who are we to judge if a student of that mentor goes on to do something that's even more amazing?
  23. ThisIsMelissa


    I can always bring my clay to and from home. Other than "works in progress" there really isn't anywhere I can store tools/supplies. I think handbuilding would probably be an even bigger issue. The handbuilt stuff I do is mostly with slabs. And the slab canvases are tinted by the brown-ish clay that the studio has used for years. And I certainly don't want to invest in my own canvases. Yeah, there wouldn't be a bunch of slop/slip or a lot of trimming debris that wouldn't be recyclable, but then I wouldn't be able to use the slab roller either. I dunno. Lots to think about.
  24. ThisIsMelissa


    I, too, would like to give porcelain a try. I've seen some demos on CAD and on youtube that look so good with porcelain. And the stoneware that we use at the art house (where I take classes) is extremely groggy and it's almost painful to use on the wheel. However, our studio only fires to cone 6. There are 2 suppliers in our area that carry a cone 6 porcelain. So, I thought about buying a 25 lb bag, just to give it a try. The disadvantage is that I wouldn't have the benefit of my clay being recyclable, since the studio only pugs the clay that they buy. But, perhaps it'd be worth it anyway.
  25. ThisIsMelissa

    Amaco Palladium

    Okey Doke... I bought some of this stuff last month, but haven't yet taken the plunge. I've had a couple of glaze issues recently and I want to avoid them in the future, so, since no one where I take classes has ever used this before, I wanted to ask for your experience. I know, I know, make some test tiles. Got it, but I want to know YOUR personal experience! The studio I work at glaze fires at cone 6, Oxidation, Electric. We use a fairly course stoneware clay: I do a lot of hand building, but I've recently started on the wheel. I'd like to know what your experience with Palladium is like? Is it like many of the other Amaco pottery glazes that require thick coating(s)? I'll be brushing it on, and of course, I can be heavy handed if I need to be. 2 heavy coats? 3 heavy coats? more? And what about the imperfections.... say from handbuilt pieces that dried too fast or slumped in places not planned.... not sure if these pits have a name or not.... I'm kinda hoping that a uniform glaze will help fill those little holes and minor cracks..... Your thoughts?

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