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Posts posted by yappystudent

  1. Hi and welcome:

    I've found ceramic education varies widely in quality by institution and teacher. The first for-credit ceramic classes I took were a waste of my resources and actually put me off doing ceramics for about ten years. Oddly the 'community learning' non-credit beginner classes were not just more fun but the information given was better also, go figure. My own practice, research (Youtube) and daily experimentation has been my method overall and it works great for me.  If you have the money and time to do the formal education route, make sure you leave room to take your own path as well and don't get railroaded into any particular genre. 

    As far as difficulty to master, to a certain extent that depends on what you want to do with it and how far you want to take it. Ceramics spans the breadth of the mundane to the high arts, and you may find your goals expand over time. 

    Once I got back into the medium I quickly found that paying to have my work fired was expensive and frustrating. Like most people I wanted my own kiln. When I finally took the plunge I quickly became about 5k poorer, but with the kiln successfully installed it's been a lot like getting my first car: it opens up freedom and opportunities you hadn't even realized were missing.  There are certainly cheaper ways to do it if you're mechanically inclined (or know someone who is) and can fix old kilns and equipment. 

    If you want to try your hand as a beginner, you might want to check out some materials lists and tools on Youtube.  Pottery supply stores will usually tell you to buy BC 6 or a simliar white "classroom" clay to start with. Classrooms often have their own clay made from odds and ends that comes out of their pugging machine. 


  2. What you got there is what the experts like to refer to as 'crawling'. It means that for one of a handful of reasons the glaze basically didn't like the surface of the clay you're using and is trying to get away from it. Sometimes this is desirable but usually not. That's a very groggy clay you're using, it almost looks like fireclay, is it some kind of sculpture clay maybe?

    Glazes do tend to dry very quickly when they hit the dry surface of clay, they don't apply like regular paint at all really, but the industry makes a product, -I bought mine in powered form alongside my powered glazes, that will increase the flow and ease of application. I just know it as glaze gel but some helpful person here will certainly tell you exactly what it is I'm sure. It will be useful to you to do a search term for "Crawling" on the forums, you'll find lots of discussions about it, the causes could vary. 

  3. I have a growing collection of mosaic shards, glues, backings, and concept drawings, also a couple probably overly-zealous prototypes. As I rethink the saying 'keep it simple, Stupid', I continue to collect the better-looking pot shards and other materials until I'm ready to tackle the project again. 

  4. I found this video on Youtube which seems pretty popular, but mainly it might be a jumping off point for you for more videos on this subject line. It's a teacher specifically casting a  doll  -figurine in multiple peices, but it's pretty doll-like, and explaining how it's done. I get a ton of basic and advanced info from Youtube, and I'm sure others on the forums who do slipware can give you more specific info about slip casting. Welcome to the forums!


  5. Typically the traditional method is exactly what you described as #2, except most folks would put a clear glaze over a colored matte underglaze. Layering another colored underglaze with a glossy finish works too. You'll get brighter colors that way, like 'glazing' with watercolors. Just be really careful not to disturb the dry first layer when putting down the second layer, so use a soft sumi ink brush or something similar to apply your top glaze.

    For thinning just use water, although this may thin the color you can apply more layers to build it back up. If the finished glaze pits you've usually used to much. At low-fire temps underglazes are usually pretty well-behaved, it depends on what look you're going for. 

    Like Gabby said, Amaco velvets are very nice underglazes and their colors are reliably vivid. For me they have been really foolproof over greenware. 

    Most of my underglazes are the Duncan you described. Their main advantage is you don't have to necessarily use a clear glaze over them, eliminating the need for a second firing if they turn out well, however their gloss varies slightly from color to color in my experience, temperature, whether you're firing greenware or bisque, etc, testing is *groan* the only sure way to figure out each and every color you buy. If you want a lot of different colors try mixing colors in the bottle like tempera paints -but I'd try to stay within a brand type to pre-mix colors. 

    BTW not being confident about end results is a way of life for potters. Be brave and welcome to the club. 

  6. 4 hours ago, Tyler Miller said:

    Cadmium is pretty bad news.  There are two kinds of hazards a studio potter has to be aware of—poisoning yourself/studio mates and poisoning your consumer.

    Studio hazards are many and we work with lots of acutely toxic and chronically toxic substances. Dust control, work wet, etc etc. covers all that.  Cadmium stains are now available encapsulated, which should reduce studio risk.  Talking to your doctor is also a good idea, there are a whole protocol of tests for cadmium levels if you’re concerned.

    Cadmium’s real issue comes from the fact that it can poison your end user.  Pretty easily.  That’s what the leaching laws are about.  a poorly formulated cadmium glaze is a lot higher stakes than a poorly formulated copper or cobalt glaze.

    Gettig cadmium out of the body is a lot harder than most other metals.  Chelation doesn’t really work.

    Not saying don’t use it.  Just be extra safe, and test your stuff if your plan on selling it.

    Had to read this twice trying to find the hysteria in it. Seems like well-worded and level headed advice to me.

  7. Mid range usually means cone 5-6. Greenware is usually fired at cone 04 (be sure to know that cone has negative numbers, for example don't get cone 04 mixed up with cone 4). Glaze firing varies widely depending on what glaze you're using, what clay, etc. There are glazes for all sorts of temperatures. I don't personally know what the Laguna clay you mentioned does other than B-mix is usually a smooth white that is quite plastic and good for beginners, making molds or tiles, etc. The added grog will make the end product rougher but give more strength. When I started out I went for a B-mix type clay and it was probably a good choice looking back. Like dhPotter said the supply houses have all the info you'll need for numbers, what glaze to use and such. Be sure to copy a cone firing chart that explains what happens to clay at different temperatures. 

    Have fun!

  8. Be sure your employees feel appreciated and what motivates them to slack off will be redirected into their work for you. What makes them feel appreciated might not be what you think they aught to feel appreciated for. Generally being treated like an adult human being, knowing your boss and co-workers have your back when problems arise, decent wages that allow you to handle your life outside of the job so you aren't constantly worrying about it, and a non-stressful work environment contribute to a sense of 'let's do a good job for the boss' mentality. As a past "slacking" employee, I'd go out of my way not to do a good job for someone who I'm aware reads books about Attila the Hun tactics as a business model. 

  9. On 6/10/2018 at 6:48 AM, Marcia Selsor said:

    I used it in a clay body out od desperation in 1991 when I was one of the last artist to arrive at our studio in native. A previous group had worked before the second half arrives. I was given one large lump of Chammotte ( high fire very refractory with gravel like grog, and a lump of red earthenware. I had to make pieces for our exhibition at the end of our visit, I walked down to the Baltic sea and returned with a bag of sand. Mixed it all together. Test fired it and it worked. Made several pieces for the exhibition.


    Now you're talking. 

  10. Since I haven't tried it yet, I can't say I prefer it yet, but I'm a pretty good judge of when I'm going to like something. Reasons since you insist:

    -It seems to me like Gaia wouldn't mind her sand used to hold something besides beer cans, shot gun shells, and dune buggies. So a religious-reclaiming Earth aspect. 

    -I have a small paper bag of grog that I paid $3-$5 bucks for, and still feel stupid about it. 

    -I'd like to do some post-apocalyptic figure sculpture in the Lisa Larson mid-century zeitgeist,  less warm/fuzzy, but generally that feeling. I always pictured doing it with a sandy grogged sculpture clay that still allows a lot of detail. My skill level isn't ready for this project quite yet. 

    -I love exposing the grog on the surface of the pinched dishes I've been making. something about roughing up the surface of a larger-usable size dish that would ordinarily from a design standpoint be smooth is intriguing. 

    -I'm currently doing a series within my current skill level of dish-shaped coral-like? lifeforms for wall sculpture. I'd like to to do these in all sorts of finishes from glassy celadons to heavily (cat food!) grogged surfaces and everything in between. Since they're meant to be sea creatures beach sand needs to be tried. 

    -Trying to hash out a series of simple rustic Xmus ornaments to sell online and in stores on the coast, unless I get a better idea these will be simple flat leaves, glazed on one side, heavily grogged raw clay on the other. I'm trying to make the unglazed side more interesting so I won't feel bad about not glazing both sides (too much fuss). My location will be part of the selling point, so beach sand seems yet another small addition to make them more coastal: vine maples, alders, eucalyptus, you get the idea. 

    And could probably write a novel,  I'll spare you, TY for asking. 


    -Did I mention Sacramento was my home town when I was a kid? 


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