Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Affordable Firing & Glazing? (I'm New--First Post Here)


  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 JenniferG

JenniferG

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts

Posted 15 June 2014 - 04:09 PM

I am just getting started in pottery and have made a couple pinch pots and a few hand built plates, out of "low fire" grey clay (I was told to start with this clay at the local pottery store).

 

It costs $3 to bisque fire a plate and $3 to fire it again after glazing.  The glaze is around $2.  So a small plate starts approaching $10.

 

There has to be a more affordable way.  I'd like to cut the cost down to a couple dollars a plate if I can.

 

This means I am willing to dig up clay from river beds (need info how to do this), make my own firing pit or small wood fired kiln (fire wood is cheap here).  Willign to make my own glazes as well.

 

I'd like to make stuff that is not glossy and that looks old /vintage/distressed etc..

 

I do food photography and want some really interesting plates and bowls.   But I don't want to have to pay $10 per dish if possible.

 

Thanks!



#2 schmism

schmism

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 141 posts
  • LocationPeoria IL

Posted 15 June 2014 - 05:03 PM

you might look into a local studio that does classes.  It may be more cost up front, but the one I attend offers 8 week classes for a very reasonable price.  I have an addtional clay purchase but the bisque fireing, glaze material and glaze fireing are all included.  If you only kept 2 pieces a week  it would still be less expensive than what you said you were paying. 



#3 PSC

PSC

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 136 posts
  • LocationFlorida

Posted 15 June 2014 - 05:19 PM

There is a lot of technical know how to be able to make your own kiln, clay and food safe glazes, years of learning to get good safe results...wood firing takes days of labor. Find a class to get you started on your journey.

#4 JenniferG

JenniferG

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts

Posted 15 June 2014 - 05:54 PM

There is a lot of technical know how to be able to make your own kiln, clay and food safe glazes, years of learning to get good safe results...wood firing takes days of labor. Find a class to get you started on your journey.

How about a Raku kiln?  Propane tank, propane burner, ceramic fiber & a drum.  Seems simple to me.

 

like in this video:



#5 PSC

PSC

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 136 posts
  • LocationFlorida

Posted 15 June 2014 - 06:33 PM

Raku isn't safe for food and will weep water. Pit fire isn't food safe either and will also weep water. A nice smaller used electric can be gotten off craigslist for maybe $300. A box of clay runs maybe $50. Glaze can be bought premixed by the pint or gallon.

Really a class would be best...you can hurt yourself not handling materials safely.

#6 Stellaria

Stellaria

    Maker of Stuff

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 240 posts
  • LocationPetoskey, MI

Posted 15 June 2014 - 06:36 PM

I, too, would look into classes, or seeing if there is a community center nearby that has a flat-rate fee for studio use including firing and glazes. I know not every place has them, but it's worth looking into.

#7 JenniferG

JenniferG

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts

Posted 15 June 2014 - 07:19 PM

I found out there is a community center in Tulsa that has Kilns.  Only $5 a month!

 

What does open studio mean?  I wonder if they charge more to use the kiln as well.

 

28qqglf.png



#8 Babs

Babs

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,071 posts

Posted 15 June 2014 - 07:34 PM

Sounds like there may be no fixed course or even teacher, just a place you can use to make your own stuff.... who knows ? Give them a call.



#9 JenniferG

JenniferG

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts

Posted 15 June 2014 - 07:42 PM

I can't wait to find out tomorrow and see what it is all about.  That's so affordable!

 

Soon I want to handbuild a saurkraut fermentation crock -- special piece of pottery with a moat for water seal to keep bacteria from coming in and let's gases bubble out.   They want over $100 for those!  I can make for a few bucks!

 

I am gonna love pottery :)



#10 bciskepottery

bciskepottery

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,506 posts
  • LocationNorthern Virginia

Posted 15 June 2014 - 08:12 PM

I found out there is a community center in Tulsa that has Kilns.  Only $5 a month!
 
What does open studio mean?  I wonder if they charge more to use the kiln as well.
 
28qqglf.png


Having started at a community center, my guess is the $5/month only covers being able to use the community center studio. They will likely charge for firings and use of glazes. They may also have a limit on the number of items . . . to prevent the community center from being the labor for potters doing production levels of work or a volume of work for sale at fairs, etc. The community center I started at charged by the cubic inch for bisque and glaze firings.

When you talk to them, ask if they accept only studio approved clay bodies (the ones they use in their classes) or if you can use your own clay. Also, ask if they glaze fire at both lowfire (your grey clay which will turn white) or at cone 6 or cone 10. Some studios may only glaze fire at one temperature. Find out if the cost of using their glaze is included in the fees or if you can use your own glazes. Finally, ask if they allow double-dipping or layering of glazes . . . you'd be surprised some studios do not allow layer/double dipping as it often results in a glaze run onto the kiln shelves.

#11 Diesel Clay

Diesel Clay

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 104 posts
  • LocationCalgary, Alberta, Canada

Posted 15 June 2014 - 09:05 PM

It sounds like you already do!

I am familiar with those crocks :).
It's not the shape that dictates the cost, it's the freight from Germany on those puppies.

The tricky part in making one will be finding or formulating a glaze that will resist the acid attack of 6 weeks worth of lactic acid fermentation.
Glazes, as well as clay, are made of minerals, that if mixed and fired improperly can be slowly dissolved by even mild acids such as coffee or tea. Some of those minerals fall into harmless categories, some don't. If the wrong ones leach out, you can inadvertently add small quantities of things like heavy metals into your sauerkraut. Personally, I like mine with a bit of caraway seed rather than iron contaminants:)

Higher temperatures than any low fire clay will tolerate are needed to form the glass within both clay and glaze that would make it food safe under the kind of abuse you're talking about. It IS doable with a lot of testing, and if you want to learn the process, this is an excellent place to find a lot of good information and support.
Good luck!

Cal
Www.dieselclay.weebly.com

#12 PSC

PSC

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 136 posts
  • LocationFlorida

Posted 15 June 2014 - 09:16 PM

Heck for $5 a month i'd go even tho i have a complete studio...just for the fellow potter interaction. I miss that from college. Teaching does help, but being the most knowledgable potter in the room...sometime you just want fellow peers to talk with.

Open studio round here runs $5 an hour.

#13 JenniferG

JenniferG

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts

Posted 16 June 2014 - 06:25 AM

The tricky part in making one will be finding or formulating a glaze that will resist the acid attack of 6 weeks worth of lactic acid fermentation.
Glazes, as well as clay, are made of minerals, that if mixed and fired improperly can be slowly dissolved by even mild acids such as coffee or tea. Some of those minerals fall into harmless categories, some don't. If the wrong ones leach out, you can inadvertently add small quantities of things like heavy metals into your sauerkraut. Personally, I like mine with a bit of caraway seed rather than iron contaminants:)

 

This is making me think.. and now I am worried:

 

I make my own sourdough bread using a sourdough starter I keep in the fridge.  The starter has been in the fridge in various glazed crocks I gotten from the flea market, over the past 7 years. There is acid in the starter.. I bet it is eating at the glaze.  Who knows if the glaze has lead in it or not right?

 

I actually have a few crocks.  They are shaped like the following but only one of them is indentical to the following (most are just brown all over) :

 

aaab+005+%28Small%29.jpg

 

I'm thinking I might switch to glass mason jar.



#14 Benzine

Benzine

    Socratic Potter

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,636 posts
  • LocationThe Hawkeye State

Posted 16 June 2014 - 12:34 PM

I made a homemade kiln with fiber blanket, but it was for Raku, which as already stated, is meant mostly for decorative wares.

 

I did happen to stumble across this today:

 

 

This individual created a kiln, from the same blanket, which he used to bisque fire wares.  He nearly got to cone 04, and probably could have easily.  However, I don't know if such a kiln would be capable of efficiently reach mid to high fire temperatures.  

 

In regards to acids hurting your crock, there is a simple test for that.  Put a piece of lemon wedge on  the interior surface of the crock.  Leave it on there for several hours, or just overnight.  Remove the lemon, and rinse and dry the crock.  If leaching occurred, you will see discoloration.  If there is no discoloration, the the glaze is potentially safe from leaching.  The only way to know for one hundred percent certainty, is to send it in to a lab for testing.  


"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users