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Making cycles

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#1 Natania


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Posted 06 April 2013 - 06:39 PM

I would like to build a substantial amount of stock during the summer when I am off from teaching. In the past, my approach has felt a bit haphazard. Perhaps I should aim for making 50 of each item I produce? But it seems one would want more of some smaller items, like cups, and fewer large platters, etc. I am wondering how others approach their production cycles. I don't have a very big kiln, so one idea I had was to make and bisque in the summer, and glaze and glaze fire throughout the year since I could probably manage that while working as well. Any other ideas out there in terms of how to best optimize this opportunity to be productive?

#2 clay lover

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 09:18 AM

I work in a loose sort of series. My kiln is a Skutt 1027, 7 cubic feet. It loads most efficiently with pieces of different sizes so that I can fill a shelf. If doing tall pieces, for the glaze I need to have either a whole shelf or half shelf of that height bisqued before I run them in a glaze.
I try to have a stack of small flat things bisqued and ready to fit in between plates and platters for a glaze.

When I start the glaze kiln, then I mop the glaze room floor and straighten the studio. Then start over again.

I never make less than 20 of anything in one stretch. But I also shift to another form aboutthen, to vary the muscle fatigue. Then they get stacked in a bisque, waxed and stacked with paper between them and wait in a closed cabinet to fill a glaze shelf.

Hope this helps, still in first cup of coffee.

#3 Chris Campbell

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 11:24 AM

I would say that it depends a lot on how your own creative brain works. I have a short attention span so I tend to proceed through the whole cycle so I'm always doing something different. However, if you feel comfortable making for a long period of time stopping after bisque ... then, glazing and firing for a long time ... do it that way. I don't think there is any one way of doing it. I do know that you should not leave the bisqued pieces unglazed for a long time as they tend to absorb moisture from the air and can be damp after a few months. Keep this in mind in case you need to slow down the first part of your glaze firings.
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#4 TJR


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Posted 07 April 2013 - 11:43 AM

As you probably know, I also teach art full time. When I am working, I grocery shop on Saturdays, and do housework etc. I am laughing as I write this, as I told my wife that I don't know how to work a vacuum cleaner.I really just grocery shop. She shovels snow, and my kids sweep and empty the dishwasher. I do all the laundry-washer,dryer plus folding.
Sundays, I work in the studio-usually throwing. My studio is in the back yard, so the kids can visit me. I can usually only throw for about 5 hours, then the back gives out. I trim on Monday evenings and pull handles Tuesdays. Not so rigid as this, but sometimes I am doing stuff right until Thurs. I bisque on Saturdays, or a day when I am not in the studio, as it gets pretty hot. My kiln is vented from underneath. Currently, I have 70 mugs in the kiln which I bisqued yesterday. I have large [5 lbs, pie dishes, and small ones[[2.5 lbs], waiting for handles today. Just got finished putting handles on 10 teapots this morning.
On Monday, I'll glaze and decorate those mugs. I don't really like having bisque sitting around. I would rather see it completed. I fire with another potter in his gas kiln, so when he calls and asks for work, I have stuff already glazed. We are both in a big Mother's Day sale, so I am working harder than usual.

#5 Natania


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Posted 07 April 2013 - 12:50 PM

Thank you for the feedback - some great points about muscle fatigue, bisqued ware getting damp, etc. Is this also why you don't like bisqued ware to build up, TJR? I also could do more thinking about kiln space and how best to stack/utilize it with my making cycles. making 20 of each time to start with sounds good. Lots to think about. And I'll try to forget how to vacuum! Boy, you guys are smart!

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