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  1. Special Orders

    I'm glad it all worked out in the end, and the customers were pleased. The waterfall bowl is really beautiful!
  2. Sounds like everyone has some really interesting ideas for the new year, I wish you all sucess on all your projects. At the workshop this year, I hope we can get the kiln fixed and working properly, and then we'll be busy making lots of new plaster molds which should be fun! X3 Personally I'm hoping to go into the workshop when there is no ceramics group on so I can practice my throwing more. I'd really love to make a teapot in time for my brothers wedding present in the summer. ^^" I'm also keen to try smoke firing! ^^
  3. Cracking Ceramics

    Ok, thanks for the tip, I'll have a close look at the cracked pieces when we get back after the holidays. Good to know what to look out for to help diagnose the problem!
  4. Using plaster molds

    I love making molds and have made a fair few molds of various materials including plaster, I only recently started making molds for ceramics use tho. That info about using industrial plaster is very useful! We just ran out of potters plaster! For the mixing, I was taught how to do it properly, but never remember except my tutor used to say it should be the thickness of single cream. That advice seems to have worked well for all my plaster mixing so far. Also I'm too lazy to measure the volume of plaster I need, but I alway try to mix less and then just mix more if I need too as set plaster sticks to wet plaster just fine. Some books suggest casting in wooden boxes but I use sturdy cardboard boxes for casting in. A glue gun can seal up the gaps. You can cast a surprisingly large amount of plaster in a cardboard box! ^^ I think the best way of learning to use plaster is to experiment and not be too precious. You are gonna have some disasters but that's how you learn. So rip open those bags of plaster and get casting!
  5. Special Orders

    It sounds very stressful making custom orders! Hope the kiln gods were kind to you!
  6. Cracking Ceramics

    I think it could be a compressing problem. Since I can't always keep an eye on everyone I usually give plaque making to people who I've already shown how to do it, but maybe they have forgotten to roll both ways. We'll have another go after the holidays and see if that's the case. Thanks for the tip on carving hatch pattern on the back Trina, we'll try that too. Diana, we don't use alumina, they are just laid on the shelf. But previously, (for years before I was recruited) they have been fired that way with no trouble. Devany, yes 3 days is ages, before the elements went we were able to put the kiln on in the morning and it was ready to unload the next day. Can't wait till the kiln is serviced so it's working right again! Thanks for the replies, I really apprecaite the help.
  7. Cracking Ceramics

    Thanks for the reply. ^^ We've tried placing them direct on the shelves and tried placing them on stands on the shelves, both times they still cracked. I'm afraid for fireing range, this is where my knowledge ends. My mentor who taught me most of the basics only taught me how to load, unload and turn the kiln on, and since she left neither me or the project manager has any other knowledge on the kiln. " We haven't touched the setting since it was first set up pretty much. We make stuff out of terracotta stoneware mostly with some low temperate glaze stuff so the kiln is set to accomidate that as far as I know. I do know the kiln is taking 3 days to complete it's firing, but not sure how much of that is cooling down.
  8. Hello all, I have a question about glazed items cracking in the kiln. I'm a volunteer for a charity with a ceramic workshop but I'm still learning the ropes about ceramics myself. The problem is some wall plaques that we make. They bisque fire just fine but the last few times we've glaze fired them they have all cracked, even if they are of different designs. The crack is very clean with no splinters usually cracking in just one place into two clean peices. I'm pretty sure it's not bubble related or it would have exploded on the bisque firing and there's no sign of any bubbles in the breaks. The glazes are ones we often use and aside from the cracks the fired peices look great and the glaze has fired fine. Other items being fired at the same time have all been fine. In the past we have glaze fired these same wall plaques with no problems. Our electric kiln was inherited from another charity and is very slow and needs the elements replaced (which is happening after the holidays) But even despite the slowness it's been firing things fine until these recent breakages. If anyone can explain why this is happening, it'd be very helpful! Thanks!
  9. Introduction

    Hello, I'm shiro, I'm from the Midlands in the UK. I did some ceramics in college, along with a general art course. Then after being a client at a mental health back to work project doing ceramics, I became the volunteer in charge of the ceramics part of the project after the lady who ran it retired. Tho I have learned a lot during my time as a client, I'm winging it a lot now, but I'm enjoying learning lots about ceramics along the way. At the workshop we do throwing, use push molds and slip molds and make slab pots. Recently we've had a go at making our own plaster molds with mixed results. I hope to learn lots more at this forum and maybe pick the brains of you more experienced potters.