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NawaeClay

Novice Questions

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Disclaimer: I know every forum loathes posts such as these, but I am 100% self taught and try to be self reliant as much as possible HOWEVER there are many questions I do have that the college-level books and various internet videos do not seem to answer, so I throw myself to the mercy of the web forums, heh.

 

I am working with a ^5 Porcelain clay body by ArmadilloClay and I have a hand-me-down Paragon TnF-66 kiln purchased in 2001(new) that hadn't been used but 3-4 times since 2004ish. I was able to fire it up for a test run on Tuesday and then on Wednesday I actually successfully completed my first ever batch of bisque-ware @ ^06 with the witness cones giving me more of a readout of around ^05 after all was said and done. All in all, I am content with that and I think I have the Bisque part of this hobby understood for the most part. My questions now circulate the glazing process. (photos of my figurines attached just to get an idea of what I will be working with as well an item I would like to attempt to try glaze wise, but not copy, which I do not claim credit for and have kept the IG artists name in view)

 

1.) I will be painting figurines and was curious as to whether or not I am to apply Underglaze, air dry, and then apply a clear overglaze?

 

2.) If I do use a commercial Underglaze, can/should I water it down to get more of a "watercolor" effect on my items, or should I strictly use a product such as a Semi-Moist Underglaze Palette?

 

3.) What cone do people usually fire their glazed work at? My clay states ^5 and most of the commercial glazes I see range from the lower cones up to ^10 so I am a tad confused. From what I have read the higher up, the more washed out colors tend to get; but if my clay body says ^5 does that mean I fire the glazes to ^5 as well or is that just like, the max that clay can handle?

 

4.) and my last question is, can I use compressed air to get the powdery "dust" off of my bisque ware, should I run it under water, or is it fine to just leave alone? Ive been reading about dust causing issues when glaze firing so I am a bit concerned.

 

Once again, I apologize for the noob post, but I am severely stumped on these things and without local help/mentorship its a bit difficult on my own.

 

Thank you,

M.Wooster

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Disclaimer: I know every forum loathes posts such as these, but I am 100% self taught and try to be self reliant as much as possible HOWEVER there are many questions I do have that the college-level books and various internet videos do not seem to answer, so I throw myself to the mercy of the web forums, heh.

 

I am working with a ^5 Porcelain clay body by ArmadilloClay and I have a hand-me-down Paragon TnF-66 kiln purchased in 2001(new) that hadn't been used but 3-4 times since 2004ish. I was able to fire it up for a test run on Tuesday and then on Wednesday I actually successfully completed my first ever batch of bisque-ware @ ^06 with the witness cones giving me more of a readout of around ^05 after all was said and done. All in all, I am content with that and I think I have the Bisque part of this hobby understood for the most part. My questions now circulate the glazing process. (photos of my figurines attached just to get an idea of what I will be working with as well an item I would like to attempt to try glaze wise, but not copy, which I do not claim credit for and have kept the IG artists name in view)

 

1.) I will be painting figurines and was curious as to whether or not I am to apply Underglaze, air dry, and then apply a clear overglaze?

 

2.) If I do use a commercial Underglaze, can/should I water it down to get more of a "watercolor" effect on my items, or should I strictly use a product such as a Semi-Moist Underglaze Palette?

 

3.) What cone do people usually fire their glazed work at? My clay states ^5 and most of the commercial glazes I see range from the lower cones up to ^10 so I am a tad confused. From what I have read the higher up, the more washed out colors tend to get; but if my clay body says ^5 does that mean I fire the glazes to ^5 as well or is that just like, the max that clay can handle?

 

4.) and my last question is, can I use compressed air to get the powdery "dust" off of my bisque ware, should I run it under water, or is it fine to just leave alone? Ive been reading about dust causing issues when glaze firing so I am a bit concerned.

 

Once again, I apologize for the noob post, but I am severely stumped on these things and without local help/mentorship its a bit difficult on my own.

 

Thank you,

M.Wooster

 

1) That would be considered normal/standard - but you do whatever you want,  the Amaco Velvets for example have a pleasant finish when unglazed, and if the clay is correctly formulated and fired to maturity it shouldn't need glaze.

 

2) All the underglazes I've used can be watered down, often they benefit from it, although you would then need more coats to achieve the advertised colour, they are very much like watercolours in that respect.

 

3) The clay and glaze need to match:  a ^5 clay needs glazing with a  glaze that's formulated to fit the clay when fired to ^5.  A ^10 glaze won't have melted properly at ^5.  Most underglazes nowadays will fire to ^6 without washing out - the destructions ought to tell you.

 

4) I use compressed air to blow off the pots if I'm spraying the glazes, it only takes a moment to change the sprayer for a blower, (be wary of breathing the dust), I will have already given them a wipe over with a damp sponge. The pots can be made quite wet before glazing if you have a reason to do it - the main reason would be so that they take up less glaze, or you can wash them and leave them to dry.

 

No-one here minds what may seem to you like trivial questions - I'm sure I've asked a few myself over the time I've been here.

D.M.Ernst and Marcia Selsor like this

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Agree with everything ayjay said.

 

If your figurines are not going to be used as foodware, or any situation where they will get wet, then it is ok to underfire your clay. In this situation, the cone 5 rating is the max, not the required. Some underglaze colors, not all, will be brighter and more reliable at low-fire temps. You will save a lot of energy and element wear if you fire to lower temps. However, you should test this idea before commiting to it. As ayjay mention, a low-fire glaze might not fit your clay, causing issues like crazing or shivering. Also, an underfired piece will be more fragile. Do some tests and decide if these trade-offs are worth it for you.

 

Welcome to the forum!

yappystudent and D.M.Ernst like this

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Love that your figurines are hand molded.

 

Take it from someone who is also a novice, these folks don't mind if you ask noob questions, and if they do you can really stick it to them for fun.  :P

 

But anyway, I also do a lot of small work similar in process to what you're doing, and I can relate the following:

 

Just did a mass of retesting at ^5-^6 -all the shop I use will fire to, (and since I tend to see this cone # bandied about a lot I would say it's about average and you can find a lot of products for that firing range for sale) -and I loove the set of Duncan 'concepts' underglazes I bought, if that is, you want flat clear reliable colors that usually fire with a nice glossy or high satin finish without the need for clear glaze, over bisque. This also has the best reds, purple, yellow and other bright true colors I've seen in the medium-fire heat range. I have yet to try them on unglazed ware, which was probably what you are asking. But over bisque at least, they work perfectly and have high colors even over black and dark brown clays which is ordinarily an issue. They play well with specialty glazes that I like to layer over them, working as a base color. I often have to thin them with water as the shop I buy from tend to let their materials dry out on the shelf...

I also really like Fireshades brand underglazes, they only fire to a velvet finish, but the colors are vivid and clear with great coverage. They are your basic economy-price underglaze and they definitely help save me some $. I bought them in larger 1/2 pint jars of basic colors, white, yellow, blue, red. These don't work as well over really black clay, but did fine over a groggy dark brown I use quite a lot.

I also have a set of 'Amaco semi-moist underglaze decorating colors' (that is the exact title) As you guessed I've found them unnecessary and a bit of a spendy indulgence, they do work just fine and are easy to use, store and clean up. They look exactly like regular underglaze from the bottle if you use 2-3 layers, stick with one layer for a watercolor look. I haven't' tested them for layering different colors or under specialty glazes, and they only fire to a velvet/matte finish without a clear coat.

Don't waste your time on Duncan 'french dimensions' in case you were thinking about it. It's a sort of engobe-slip-trailing stuff in little bottles. When it works it's great, but most of the time it puffs, bubbles and fusses. 

 

Welcome to the forum, I've found it to be a great inclusive place, one of the best forums on the web IMHO.

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