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Babs

Are There Any Laws Of Pottery?

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MAking for a few weeks, surviving the bisque, and actually a couple of days ago firing a couple of pieces for an exhibition."Washed up" and going somewhere i don''t usually go ie thrown , altered and handmade additions, I finally placed the above in the kiln, turned it on, baby sat for 1 hour, then wrote a note to partner to continue the firing schedule i had written out.

Phone call mid arvo to say that the kiln had tripped, and he had gallantly OPENED the kiln placed a cone on the kiln sitter and continued firing....

When I returned, the FEEEKIN, sorry, thingie had tripped again. I checked the temp, 250C SO I propped the kiln sitter permanently on and continued firing.....till the wee small hours, nursing that baby so gently.

ANyway , My partner had serendipidously chosen the right cone on resetting, bless that person, hadn't scorched the eyebrows when opening the kiln. tTHe fact that it tripped after that could be put down to inexperience. Only thing i did differently on first setting the sitter, and don't ask why>>> was to position the cone with the pointed end facing away from me , did think, why, but logic said makes no difference.

Result, when opening the kiln at ambient temp. yes, the base of the "Object" was cracked. So ignore all my sagacious remarks on how to avoid cracks occuring in the base of pottery. THis baby was on coils etc.

THe LAW is:  anything important will most likely stuff up if you do not have your eyes crossed, tongue up left nostril and standing on one leg for the duration of the firing.

PLEASE do not ask for photos. think of a pile of shards.

Feel free to give advice, or address of a bleedin good shrink, or bottles of wine will be accepted.

Babs

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*HUGS* Babs

 

It never fails when you absolutely need it something goes wrong. I've gotten in the habit of making 2 of most stuff just to keep the kiln gremlins confused.... Do we wreck this piece or that one? Grumble grumble grumble. Take that kiln gremlins!

 

My Mom appreciates the duplicates and doesn't seem to mind I mark the bottoms of hers "artist copy". The ones the gremlins do get to generally end up in recycle or if only slightly whacked then somewhere around my house.

 

I hope the next firing goes better. Heck glue all those shards together and call it modern art!

 

T

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sorry that happened.  it is usually the special things we notice but i have had lots of just ordinary things go bad.  they can add up.

 

i am reading this as my own kiln, filled with a number of platters for the fancy restaurant, is cooling.  down to 300 F.  will know in the morning.

 

knew a potter who accidentally knocked a hole in a pot about to go into the bisque.  she said many bad words, thought about it, then, knocked a hole on the opposite side.  

 

it won a prize for "originality".

 

have heard the term "arvo" or "avro" before.  please explain the upside down word ?  you folks in oz have the most interesting language similar to english.

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thanks, the sides of the cracks were smooth , glaze melted so it was on the way up.

Old Lady, "arvo" is the shortened version for afternoon, just shorten words and add an O works most times.    thus Johno, Davo, smoko  that's morning break for a cuppa .

Make 2 you say Pugaboo, that is very wise thinking.

Next time. and next time I will stay home.

ANd I will make the call for a new kiln, I really think the old kiln gods just were not at all on the bus re. the talk of the new kiln choice.

( Partner says after my last hissy, that there will be a contribution towards the newbie from that direction :wub: Lifting and lowering the old kiln lid was traumatic for the person.X)

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Ugh, so sorry! :( Often when inspecting a kiln load I'll wish I could sacrifice something I didn't care about that came through just fine for the sake of a cherished and ruined item. I'll kind of glare at the stupid, perfectly fired kiln filler while cradling my carved and decorated baby with its' combination of expensive glazes, cracks, crazing, and bubbles.

 

Side note: Would it have made any difference to use pyrometric bars instead of cones or is that a totally unrelated issue? We use bars now because the kiln was over- and underfiring if we put the cone in too far or not far enough.

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Oh @Babs,

We all have those days when the Laws of Pottery get the best of us.  Here's my list:

Law 1: If you work with clay, kilns, and glazes you only THINK you are in control.

Law 2: Never forget Law number 1

 

And Paul's Law: There is a direct proportional relationship to project failure and falling in love with a piece once construction is complete...the more you love it, the more likely disaster looms somewhere on the horizon :huh:

 

Peace,

-Paul

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Uhhhhh! Devastating when the kiln Gods do not cooperate, especially with a neophyte assistant or partner. I have had as bad happen to me-oversleeping on shut off time by 3 hours and walking out to a garage where the heat was literally jumping out of the kiln! Had to turn it off at the breaker because too hot to get near. Luckily the load was the only thing hurt, but the kiln does have element holders that are darker than used to be. Since then, I have made certain not to oversleep! 

 

I had some problems with cone positions years ago when using the school setter on the L&L there, and switched to bars, much more consistent, and could never put it in wrong. Only goofy thing about the school kiln was the setter sat over two rings. This meant that if one ring was off, then the shut off tab would not drop to turn off the kiln. Happened only once, but because I set the timer for about 30 minutes later than the setter should shut down it did not create a problem-hard ^06 bisque.

 

As to the laws, TJR has a great plan, about custom orders. I have seen it many times here, and mean to follow it, but it seems I am one of those people who has a hard time saying no, volunteers all too often, and likes to make everyone happy.  :(  Good thing I retired! :rolleyes:

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Might I suggest a small offering to the kiln gods: flowers, fruit, joss sticks.

 

To Old Lady: the oz use of abbreviations is extensive. I blame the print media. By shortening the words, they can use larger lettering.  eg pollies=politicians; ambos=ambulance drivers (paramedics); garbos=garbage collectors; firies=firefighters; rellos or rellies=relatives; vollies=volunteers. I have heard reference to volly firies, that is volunteer firefighters.

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Paul, I agree with your law that the more you love a piece increases the possibilities that something bad can happen to it. Whether it is real or perceived one tends to handle those pieces a little more gingerly and hurts more when disaster does strike.

 

Paul

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The law:  if you need one of a certain thing, make two.  If you make one, it will certainly not survive.  If you make two, they both will. 

 

I've no idea why, but it seems to always work that way.

kiln gods!

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There is a law like- what I have discovered over time is

In this order

If you really want or need it the chances are large it will fail

The more you care the more its about to blow up

If you rush it its doomed and will fail

if its a custom piece the chances it will fail are large

if you could care less it will make it no issues

 

These are guidelines more than laws that hold a certain truth

I'm not a superstitious or religious person but these laws hold true for all things ceramic.

Mark

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1. Accidental happenstance always seem to look better than engineered intention.

2.  demands and deadlines propotionally  increase ware distruction and disasters.

 

 

As to the austalian abbreviations, following Earthfan's examples....would pottery experts be potties?

 

 

Jed

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well, babs, if i could speak Oz, the message would be the same - DAMNO!  

 

opened the kiln this am.  filled with only the platters special ordered for the restaurant in D.C.  I NEVER TAKE SPECIAL ORDERS!!!!!

 

the glaze was too lightly applied on every one of them.  i thought i was using too much.

 

the best part was the slip and glaze tests that go into every firing.  some are wonderful.  anyone need a great salmony slip color?  use little loafers slip and add Lobster mason stain.

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Here's a rule I hadn't thought about in a while since I am working alone in my own studio.

I used to work in a 26 member co-operative, then before that ,art school.

Here's the rule;

Do not touch another person's kiln. As in turn it up, turn it off, turn switches off after it has fired.

I have on occasion phoned the person who is firing to ask if they want their kiln turned up. Saves them a trip in the cold of winter. Most people say yes, and thanks. One person said "no".

This is o.k. with me.

 

Australian;lippy for lipstick.chewey for gum, bottle-o for liquor store.A big one which Babs used was stuffed it up for effed it up.

TJR.

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I have to go with jrgpots' rule 2). Had request (commission?) for 5 pieces - anything, for Golf Club Captain's special day. To be fair, I didn't get on with it as soon as I could have done, but not really too tight timescales. I threw 8 bowls and had a couple more in the damp box. Had to do something different to each (I carve, add pieces on, texture etc etc.) and nothing too similar to previous pieces as Golf Club have had my work before and no one really wants to win a second bowl like the one they we're thrilled with last year.

Add to this, recently moved from white earthenware to stoneware and a new kiln.......Recipe for disaster????

Finishing off last bowl before bisque - a week before the deadline - loved it, nice thrown shape, beautifully carved (even though I say, it myself). Masking off with newspaper before using an airbrush for copper oxide, caught scissors on side of bowl ....... 3 pieces of bone dry bowl on worktop!!! Stopped myself bursting into tears and got remaining pieces into the (old) kiln for bisque. All beautifully bisqued - Yay! Half way there. 5 days to go - Dip glazing next favourite piece of the bunch and glazing tongs snapped off a very delicate addition! 4 days to go - Went to new kiln and set about programming the controller - despite following the 'easy' step by step instructions I could NOt get the program to save. On advice of my husband (wise old sage!) decided to fire in 2 batches in old (small ) kiln - a bit anxious by now, as I had to go out for the day and needed to get this going. 3 days to go, Opened the kiln. One piece good (actually a tricky piece that usually doesn't make it this far), one rubbish - a previous bisque firing which I think must have been vitrified as glaze crawled off! Remainder underfired - on checking I'd used a glaze that required another 80oC than I'd set the top temp (in too much of a hurry to go back into the house to check!!!! Currently refiring to 1200oC, kiln glowing and I have everything crossed. Next firing for the other half of the batch, awaits for tomorrow.

On the upside, the golf gods were with me today and I played one under my handicap in a knockout against the Lady Captain - and won on the 18th hole. Guess you can't have all the gods on your side at the same time.

 

I'm glad I'm not the only one who has these disasters - good thread!!

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The law:  if you need one of a certain thing, make two.  If you make one, it will certainly not survive.  If you make two, they both will. 

 

I've no idea why, but it seems to always work that way.

 

Reminds me of sowing seeds in the garden, "one to weed and one to crow, one to rot and one to grow."

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Uhhhhh! Devastating when the kiln Gods do not cooperate, especially with a neophyte assistant or partner. I have had as bad happen to me-oversleeping on shut off time by 3 hours and walking out to a garage where the heat was literally jumping out of the kiln! Had to turn it off at the breaker because too hot to get near. Luckily the load was the only thing hurt, but the kiln does have element holders that are darker than used to be. Since then, I have made certain not to oversleep! 

 

I had some problems with cone positions years ago when using the school setter on the L&L there, and switched to bars, much more consistent, and could never put it in wrong. Only goofy thing about the school kiln was the setter sat over two rings. This meant that if one ring was off, then the shut off tab would not drop to turn off the kiln. Happened only once, but because I set the timer for about 30 minutes later than the setter should shut down it did not create a problem-hard ^06 bisque.

 

As to the laws, TJR has a great plan, about custom orders. I have seen it many times here, and mean to follow it, but it seems I am one of those people who has a hard time saying no, volunteers all too often, and likes to make everyone happy.  :(  Good thing I retired! :rolleyes:

YOu are fooling yuourself Pres, you will never retire, only diff. is you're now not on a payroll :D

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1. Accidental happenstance always seem to look better than engineered intention.

2.  demands and deadlines propotionally  increase ware distruction and disasters.

 

 

As to the austalian abbreviations, following Earthfan's examples....would pottery experts be potties?

 

 

Jed

NO they are just mad! Actually don't know what they call us!! Now that's significant....

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well, babs, if i could speak Oz, the message would be the same - DAMNO!  

 

opened the kiln this am.  filled with only the platters special ordered for the restaurant in D.C.  I NEVER TAKE SPECIAL ORDERS!!!!!

 

the glaze was too lightly applied on every one of them.  i thought i was using too much.

 

the best part was the slip and glaze tests that go into every firing.  some are wonderful.  anyone need a great salmony slip color?  use little loafers slip and add Lobster mason stain.

OLD LADY!!!!! Can you respray??

Makes my disaster seem so  trifling! 

I hope with your ingenuity that you can "save the day" , perhaps it is only too thin in your eyes?

Think somedays one has sucker written on forehead and others know that this is the day to ask the impossible.

DAMNO prob not strong enough expletive!

There are so many posts about this above that I would run out of likes.

I guess this means we are never bored in this game, and I have learned, am still learning never to take anything for granted

Think one of us could publish "the little book of calm for potters" or a similar narration of all the above stories, a calendar perhaps for the pottery studio!!

One law a day!

You can't change what has just happened but you can change how you react to these happenings......

Much calmer a few days on....

Off to put those chards in a pot then fill and plant a fern in it.

Thanks.

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I believe that if its important, you should triple check everything, because if you dont, crap will go wrong:

 

I have a related story. My family members asked for a few things for Christmas they wanted me to make. So I said sure why not, all my pots been coming out nice. This was back when I used commercial glazes on everything 100% of the time. I was working with P5 at the time, hadn't had anything go wrong in ages. 

 

So I make 4 soup mugs, a 8# bowl with a ruffled rim, and a 14'' platter. I bisque fire it all, comes out perfect no s-cracks or anything, so I glaze it all. I put it back in the kiln, and for some reason my kiln overfired. I still can't remember if I put in a hold or not, I was so upset when I opened it and saw all the cones melted I just hit stop, and didn't review program. To this day I don't know what I programmed in as I was tired. I must have held the kiln though, cause it reached cone 7 almost flat, and the mugs warped bad, the handles pulled the mug cause it they got so soft. The 8# bowl had a huge scrack on it, didn't go through though, and the platter was almost touching the kiln shelf it warped and melted so bad. lol. I tossed it all, they came over later that evening to hang out, and asked how their presents were coming along. I said their in the trash, they said WHAT? and went and took them out, they kept the mugs, and the bowl, but not the platter as it was unusable. I protested greatly and they said they just wanted them for decoration in their cabinet and they liked the way the bloated mugs looked. ...

 

I still regret it to this day that I didn't hammer them before they hit the trash. Every time I go to their house I see these 4 warped mugs sitting in a display shelf, they look interesting, but probably some of the most wonky pots Ive ever seen. The bowl works fine for she just has it on display in her house with some fake lemons in it. I told them both if they ever get rid of them(please do), to hammer them first so no one else will see them.

 

Now I break everything I put in the trash can just to be sure no one else will use it. 

 

This Christmas I am going to make 4 more soup mugs that are 10x better and I am going to steal the other ones and replace them with the new ones and smash the old ones. Same with the bowl. I am just gonna go in and do it without permission. Ninja Santa. :ph34r:

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