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shawnhar

Latest fails as of 05.31.18

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"Failing better every day" is the studio's motto and I am living up to that. Making slow and steady progress though. Almost all the blue mugs glaze ran off the foot and there are pinholes in everything, little spots where the glaze crawled away or was too thin. The 3 vases turned out OK but that big bowl has cracks in the bottom from too much water, not all the way through, but still. Handles got a bit better on the green mugs.

 The 2 black/blue mugs I think the glaze looks the coolest but that combo runs like crazy. One blue mug is acceptable, it's now my personal mug!

Comments, critiques, criticism, tips, tricks and all manner of skulduggery welcomed

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1 hour ago, shawnhar said:

Comments, critiques, criticism, tips, tricks and all manner of skulduggery welcomed

Okay, here goes....

Looks like a lot of your issues are coming from glaze thickness. How are you glazing your mugs and vases? Dipping with tongs or pouring in the liner then dipping the outside or ?

For the runny blue and black combination, did you put the top glaze on right the way down to cover the entire base glaze or did you leave and inch or so with just the base glaze near the bottom?

A few of your handles extend too far from the mug. Handles don’t need to be big and loopy, just a small air space between your fingers holding the mug and the mug body. I agree with you about the handles on the green mugs.

The green and blue glazes look like they have either rutile or titanium dioxide in them, both these materials gas off a fair bit and can cause pinholes. Also, really check the glaze surface before firing, if you see any pinholes after glazing rub them out with your finger once the glaze is dry. Air bubbles coming out of the bisque can cause a pinhole in the glaze as it dries, with glazes that move they are not as much an issue as with stiff glazes.

In a group studio it’s difficult to have any control over the glaze specific gravity but try and take note of how the glazes look when you stir them up in the buckets. How many seconds does it take for the glaze to stop moving after you finish stirring, how long it takes for the glaze to dry on the pot. These types of observations will give you an idea of how long to dip your pots for to build up sufficient glaze. Another thing you can do is dip some test tiles that are about the same thickness as your pots in the glazes at the same time you are glazing your work, dip them for the same number of seconds. Scratch through the unfired test piece, when the glaze is dry, and note the thickness of the glaze. Keep these test tiles as a reference for how thick to put the glaze on and adjust if necessary by dipping or pouring for a shorter or longer length of time.

You might need to double dip the rims with glazes that thin out too much there. If the glazes still are too thin on rims you could experiment on test tiles with dipping just the rim in a clear glaze then your regular glaze. This sometimes works if the clear is a fairly stiff glaze.

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Great feedback Min!

Ugggg, the glazing is the toughest part for me now, very few acceptable results. Our instructor said they would be fine with those little bubbles in the dried glaze but obviously it is not. I am going back to trying to smooth over every little bump and bubble.  There are a few that smooth out, like you said, but those greens are rough, seem to have lots of water to them.

 The mugs I dipped holding the handle, I should have left an inch or 2 with the 2nd glaze but I tried wiping off the top layer with a wet sponge, obviously not a good plan, lol. 

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As a beginner, when you make something functional, use the piece. This will tell you how comfortable the handle is. It will tell you if the lip dribbles. Does the bowl feel good when mixing something in it. Does the glaze on the outer surface of a  bowl have "sticktion". What I mean is can plastic wrap stick to the pot so that it can be utilized as storage in the fridge or elsewhere. 

With new forms you need to use them to discover their strengths or weaknesses. 

When you attach the handle make sure you have a 1/4 inch gap, at the greenware stage, between your fingers and the mug. Also, make your handles at least 1 inch wide at the top then you can taper them down. Small round handles are hard to hold. 

Keep on keeping on...

Edited by dhPotter

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3 hours ago, shawnhar said:

The mugs I dipped holding the handle, I should have left an inch or 2 with the 2nd glaze but I tried wiping off the top layer with a wet sponge, obviously not a good plan, lol. 

Holding the handle with your fingers? Ummm, I wouldn't do it that way. If you have a mug to try it on give the pour and dip method a go. Spritz the inside of the bottom only with a very light mist of water then leave the mug sit for 5 minutes or so, this is to prevent too thick a glaze layer inside the bottom, might not be necessary, depends on the glaze. Pour glaze into the mug about 2/3's full and quickly turn the mug and pour the glaze out at the same time so the inside gets glazed all the way around. Try this in the kitchen sink first with water with a few fired mugs to get the hang of it. You want to try and avoid getting water/glaze on the outside of the mug. Takes some practice not to get slops of glaze on the outside, if you do then sponge it off and leave the mug to dry out. Don't try and glaze it with the outside damp from sponging or you will get an uneven glaze coat. Now that the inside is done you have a couple choices for how to glaze the outside. Simplest way is to hold the mug bottom with your thumb and two fingers, just use as little of your fingertips as possible, and dip the mug straight down into the glaze then straight back up again. You will get a double dip on the inside 1/2" or so of the mug. (If your glazes can take a double dip then no worries, if the glaze is too thick then wax over the inside glaze with cold wax resist, the type that is oil based like Mobilicer, water based wax resist like Forbes won't stick well to the glaze). Now set the mug down and when the glaze is dry touch up the fingermarks on the bottom, or leave them there if that's your aesthetic. Other way to glaze the outside is to take the mug and put one hand inside it and carefully dip it, right way up, into the glaze and get as close to the rim as possible. Pull the mug straight out and set down to dry. Now you will have a strip of unglazed bisque near the rim so hold the bottom of the mug and dip the rim into the glaze.

Or just use tongs. 

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You look like you've been practicing, and you're developing some good skills on the wheel. On to the next step: Feet and rims!

The feet you're trimming on both the bowl and the vases could be better refined, although it's a good start. Think about the Golden Mean when you're scribing the mark that will be the outside diameter of the foot ring.  Yours are a bit wide yet, and that leads to your pots looking like they're going to be heavy to lift. If the foot actually needs to be that wide for stability, consider undercutting it slightly where it meets the outside curve of the bowl so that the foot appears to flare, rather than being so sharply perpendicular to the bowl. Because that inside curve of the bowl looks all nice and round and smooth, if you leave your foot rim square like that, it tells me you could have taken some more weight out of there. The next time you're trimming, before you centre the pot, feel out the bottom to see how much clay is where, so that you can estimate better how much has to come off where, and if there are any thin spots to be mindful of.  Usually what I do is make a small mark with my thumbnail on the outside bottom of the pot where I can feel the inside curve begin. Think about making the outside curve you're carving on the outside of the bowl match the curve inside as you trim.

For the vase forms, did that foot need to be trimmed for that shape, or is that something you're doing as a default, or maybe for trimming practice? With such simple forms that have a little bit of an organic feel to them, rolling the foot so it creates a very little bit of a flare to create a shadow on the table will give the piece a sense of lightness might be a better choice. Right now, that short, square blunt foot makes your piece look heavy, like its sucking the table. 

If you work on finishing details like feet, rims, and proportion, those are the things that will make your work take big leaps and bounds forwards aesthetically. 

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I know, pamtastic right? I don't use that stuff but my wife does, those are all different kinds too, olive oil, butter, grill.... That handle works OK, a bit small for my fingers but my wife likes it. 

Great points dh, I took your input and made wider handles on the last mugs

Min, I have tried tongs, doing the inside first, filling inside then pushing it down into the glaze, then the rim, all have different results each time. I found out the crawling on my blue/black was from me rubbing out the bubbles on the 1st glaze before dipping again, finger oils prevented the top layer from sticking. I learn a little each time though, the reason I did the glaze like that on these mugs was our instructor showed us to do it that way. - Cool tip on spritzing the inside! (and the other info as well)

Thanks Callie, I've been making the feet wider because it just "feels" like they would be more stable, I like the undercut idea though and did that on my last pieces. I have been in "default" mode for the feet and I agree rolling these would have been better. I am still very much focused on basic shapes at this point. I feel like that needs more work before moving to aesthetic refinements.

 

 

 

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On 5/31/2018 at 10:29 PM, Min said:

practice not to get slops of glaze on the outside,

My instructor showed a method where you put a funnel of paper around the top of the mug so that the glaze pours out evenly and reduces the dripping

 

On 5/31/2018 at 10:29 PM, Min said:

Other way to glaze the outside is to take the mug and put one hand inside it and carefully dip it, right way up, into the glaze and get as close to the rim as possible. Pull the mug straight out and set down to dry.

There is a post on the daily section where there is a cheat using pvc piping angle joints and a sponge attached for the inside of the mug I've yet to try this but I'm sure that this would work fantastically. I have trouble getting an even line when I dip. 

Getting better takes time and lots of fails.

Best of luck and stick at it.

Andrea

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In my personal experience from glazing (maybe I am a slow learner) it’s the repetition that helps. 

Two semesters ago I changed schools. Whole new studio, glazes and philosophy. 

First semester my glazing was awful. My bowls developed extra feet from all the drips.  

By the end of semester I finally got it (so much so that some of my pots disappeared - I took that as a complement)

i discovered I was slow. My counts were slow. I was following the guidelines but interpreting them differently.  

I am now trying to ‘understand’ brushed on glaze to have more depth with two toned glazes.  

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Preeta, in dipping glazes, I tended to be too fast, because my teacher scared us into over-caution to protect her kiln shelves.

Now I much prefer brushing on glazes,  but that is probably impractical for people doing production work.

Edited by Gabby

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