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About Lbegley

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    Santa Rosa, CA

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  1. Urg, despite knowing better, I was talked into making a purple vase for my brother in law to gift this Xmas. Anyone have a recipe for a cone 5 purple they like? (I would rather mix one up and have what’s left for the students where I work, than buy a commercial glaze).
  2. Lbegley

    Leaving Teaching

    I made the insane decision to quit my day job and pursue selling ceramics 12 years ago. I do not regret it at all, BUT, it is not easy. Any ideas you have of a romantic, leisurely lifestyle, forget it. It is a grind. I agree you should not be in the classroom if you have no love of teaching. Get out of there ASAP. But unless you have a high tolerance for poverty, stress, etc, I would ease into it as others have suggested, and find another safety net day job. Here are some things that I wish I had known starting out: Once it’s your livelihood, you need to consider things other than your own esthetics and artistic vision. When you are considering things like how quickly a piece can be made, which materials are most cost effective, what customer’s are more likely to buy, it can effect the quality of your work, and how much you enjoy making it. For your own artistic integrity, it’s best to keep money out it it as long as you can. Look for multiple income sources. Unfortunately for you, a great way to keep a steady income is teaching! My own income was about 1/2 teaching and 1/2 wholesaling my pots and then a small amount of selling on Etsy. Recently I replaced teaching with a studio tech job at the local junior college. Don’t expect to live on craft fairs and studio tours alone. Keep exenses down. I know so many potters who set up beautiful studios, just to close them down because they couldn’t keep up with the rent. Start small, buy used and improve as you can afford it. You don’t have to do it all yourself. I am really, really bad at sales. Selling wholesale and letting someone else take care of the marketing has been a game changer for me. In the beginning you’ll probably have to wear all the hats, but don’t hold on to them forever. As soon as your making money hire someone to do the shipping, take the photos, whatever it is that you are bad at, or takes you away from the making. Sorry for the long winded response!! Best of luck! Let me know how it goes. It’s not an easy life, but some of us have no choice but to pursue it... it’s just in our blood.
  3. Lbegley

    Clumpy glaze

    Glad that the recipe is helpful to you! I’ll investigate the globs and see if they are some single ingredient precipitating out, or the mixed glaze coagulated. Thanks for the idea!
  4. Lbegley

    Clumpy glaze

    It’s always possible that I was off in my own imagination and screwed up the ingredients! But this is a busy community studio and it’s already been remixed a few times, and the glaze fires to be what we expect it to look like, so that seems unlikely.
  5. Lbegley

    Clumpy glaze

    Ha! I’m starting to think maybe I accidentally used cornstarch! It’s so gloopy and weird.
  6. Lbegley

    Clumpy glaze

    Thanks C. Banks! I’ll test your adjusted glaze and see how it goes!
  7. Lbegley

    Clumpy glaze

    It’s a cone 10 glaze, matte. Aside from maybe staining what would make it a bad to eat off of? There are no colorants in the glaze. What sort of testing do you recommend?
  8. Lbegley

    Clumpy glaze

    This is in a community college studio and I use a jiffy mixer to make the glazed, but students use paddles to mix them (apparently before I got there a student drilled through the bottom of a bucket with the jiffy mixer and spilled 20 gallons of glaze, so they aren’t allowed to use it anymore!) I use a 80 mesh screen, but this glaze forms little soft globs that stay in suspension within a day. The lab tech that I replaced told me to toss a handful of epsom salt into each batch of glaze mixed so I’ve been following that tradition, but this is a new glaze and I will try it without next time.
  9. Lbegley

    Clumpy glaze

    I have a glaze that clumps even after being screened. After it sits and you stir it, little blobs remain and it isn’t a uniform dip. Heres the formula: Wollastonite 5.5 Custer feldspar 28.5 EPK. 28 silica. 15 dolomite. 19 Gerstley borate. 4 And, like all of the studio glazes I add some Epsom salts to keep it from settling. I’m wondering if I should leave it out of this one, or if there’s anything else I can do to keep from having to rescreen it all the time.
  10. Luckily in this studio, students are supposed to only use the clay bodies we provide, and they all seem pretty forgiving. The glazes, less so, and I hope to work on that. I’m new to the job, so hopefully I’ll just get really good at hitting the window, but maybe adjusting our problem glaze could help too.
  11. Aside from just me being impatient, this kiln is a little tricky to get to fire evenly top to bottom, so sometimes when it’s ahead on the bottom, I need to open the damper to even it out, but that means speeding up the firing too. I guess the good news is that it was fine, but next time I’ll be sure to make the adjustments earlier and go slower.
  12. Here are the cone packs. The 11 looks more melted than the 10 to me in the front one. Weird! the glazes all look great, so that’s what matters most, but I’m pretty new to firing a gas kiln and need all knowledge I can get out of each firing. The biggest challenge is this is mostly beginning student work, and they sometimes glaze crazy thick, and one of the studio glazes runs like hell when it gets any past 10, so I have a pretty narrow window
  13. Thank you for the good information! I did speed up the firing faster than typical towards the end because I needed to shut her down and get out of the studio. That must have been it. I’ll open the kiln tomorrow and see the results. Fingers crossed it’s not overfired!!
  14. Thank you! I did fire faster than usual. That must have been it.
  15. I fired a cone 10 gas kiln yesterday and the cone 10 and cone 11 melted at exactly the same time, on both the bottom and top cone packs. I’ve never seen this happen. Does anyone know what would cause this?

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