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How To Get Started With Old Stains, Etc

stains oxides Glazes getting started

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#1 Dani

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 11:13 AM

Just starting to do pottery at home. Have inherited many bags (40+) of cone 4-6 glazes, stains and oxides and I am overwhelmed by all of it. I have done some pottery before but in a school where all the material was premixed. I know how to mix powdered glaze with water, no problem, but don't know how to mix the stains and oxides. Plus, I don't know where to start. Do I start trying out just one glaze or do I prepare small batches and do a series of test tiles?

#2 neilestrick

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 11:35 AM

Stains can be added to glazes to color them. i would run small batch (100g) tests with 2, 4, 6, 8, 10% stain added to a glaze, by dry weight. Stains can also be used to color slip, but higher percentages are generally needed. You can also use them to stain texture on pots or as underglazes, but they will generally need to be cut with a little frit first.

 

I would also run small batch tests of all your glazes before mixing large batches. Start making test tiles!

 

Large batches of glaze should be sieved through an 80 mesh screen. Test batches can be mixed with a stick/immersion blender.


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#3 DirtRoads

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 02:46 PM

40 glazes ... that would certainly overwhelm me.   When I started out, I had way too many glazes, undercoats, stains, etc.   Tried to experiment with all of them.   Really didn't get far.   I then picked out about 3 colors that I continued to test.   Add this, take away that, more of this, more of that.  I put numbers on the back of small scraps (about 4x4in).  Recorded the combinations in a journal.  Today I have over 800 entries in that journal, along with boxes of sample color scraps (4 years worth).   If I'm working on a new color I go back through those scraps.  Sometimes I flip through them just for entertainment.

 

I would consider picking out a few colors that you want in your line (for me it was a blue, brown & cream in the beginning).  Decide if you want matte, satin or gloss finishes.  You work those colors.  I worked on red for 2 years to get what is now a great seller.  Now I only work colors in the spring.   I try to come out with one new color every spring.    I have around 16 different colors in my show room at the moment.   I have 5 colors I stock pile  ... multiples of all pieces for the 2 shows I do and for showroom sales.   6 colors I stock in 1's or 2's for  show room only.  The other colors are just random pieces that add interest to my showroom and sell occasionally.

 

Most of the potters in my area wholesale and have about 4 colors.    Get 2 or 3 colors going and continue experimenting.   I love seeing those test scraps. I'm sort of wrapped up in the business now but seeing new color is one of my favorite things in this business.

 

Have fun with your new found wealth!   But single out a few and develop.



#4 oldlady

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 03:26 PM

dani, great start for you.   there is one thing to check, that is whether there are any really toxic things in your bags.  carefully, without raising dust, check each bag for any printed or written information that might be on the bag.  once you have found the name and other details for each item, make a list of them.  it would help if you could weigh each item as you list it.  

 

once you have a list, post the names here so some of the real experts can tell you if there is something you may not want to touch until you have LOTS of experience.  if there is nothing on the bags, set them all aside and ask for help to dispose of the contents. 

 

when you have found the things you will want to keep and use, put them in tightly sealing plastic labeled containers and carefully, again so as to not raise dust, throw away those bags.  the continual opening and closing of paper bags will cause clouds of dust in your studio which could be bad for you.

 

i once was given the contents of a potter's studio whose family simply wanted to regain the space and knew nothing about what they had in their basement.  it was VERY hard to find a way to safely rid myself of the uranium i found in a glass jar.


"putting you down does not raise me up."

#5 Dani

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 08:10 AM

Thank you for your advice. All these ideas are great. In terms of dangerous chemicals, the 19 stains from Tucker's Pottery Supply House should be no problem, nor the 11 leadless glazes (most of these are small quantities - ~ 3 pounds, except for a 14 lb one). The other stuff is the following: albany, barnard, borax, red iron, copper carbonate, feldspar custer, bone ash, rutile frit grade, nickel carbonate, magnese carbonate, cobalt carbonate -all 500 gr. to a lb. - plus a lb. of dark blue (unidentified) and 5 kg of zinc oxide. Is there anything there I should be overly concerned about? What good use can I make of all that zinc oxide?
I am going to buy clay soon. Any suggestions? I am thinking of a medium tan speckled stoneware for throwing. Would a light color be best to experiment with?

#6 TJR

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 08:40 AM

Dani;

You don't say where you are located. If you are in Canada M340 from Plainsman is a popular mid-fire white clay. A lot of schools use it. It does not fire up to Cone10, though. It is designed for cone 4-6.

TJR.



#7 PeterH

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 10:30 AM

Basic evening-class stuff, but a test tile with a stripe of each on N glazes one way,

overlain with a stripe of all the colours at right angles shows you the effects of all

N glazes under/over all the others. I wouldn't try with N=40 though!

...  a blank line in one direction [so an Nx(N-1) grid] shows single and double 

coverage of each glaze as well.

 

http://ceramicartsda...alette-part-ii/



#8 Dani

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 11:36 AM

TJR - I live west of Ottawa and go to Capital Pottery Supplies downtown. They have a wide range of clays, from Tucker's, I think. And firing up to Cone 4-6 is as high as I want to go.
PeterH - your idea of overlapping glazes on a large test tile, I like. I will do individual test tiles with texture at the same time on "standing" tiles to see how the glazes run.
Just so everyone understands where I am coming from. I am a retired art teacher who took a year of Ceramics Tech at college, 25 years ago. This allowed me to teach a high school course on clay for a few years but we used only earthenware. This is a hobby for me but i would love to produce decent pieces. I am fond of working on the wheel and sculpting.
I appreciate everyone's advice.

#9 oldlady

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 06:20 PM

great news!  the blue stuff could be a blue mason stain, they come in so many colors.  i was given about 5 blue stains and find they are very nice.  the albany slip clay is no longer available (unless something has changed) and if you have very much, it could be valuable to some people.  maybe you.  zinc is used in lots of glaze recipes.  i have been trying to find one i like without zinc because it turns green underglaze to gray.  if you have a pound of cobalt carb, congratulations!  it will last a long time and is very expensive to buy.

 

you might ask for the msrp data from your supplier.  even if they did not provide the original stuff, the info they have is of value to you.

 

sounds like you have a great start. :)


"putting you down does not raise me up."

#10 Dani

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Posted 06 September 2014 - 01:05 PM

How do I mix small quantities of glaze? Everywhere I look the speak of 5 gallon buckets! To test the dozen glazes I have, I would like to make small batches of about 250 ml each. What ratio of water to dry glaze do I use?

#11 neilestrick

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Posted 06 September 2014 - 01:36 PM

How do I mix small quantities of glaze? Everywhere I look the speak of 5 gallon buckets! To test the dozen glazes I have, I would like to make small batches of about 250 ml each. What ratio of water to dry glaze do I use?

 

For testing glaze I usually do 200 gram (dry weight) batches. Simply add enough water that it's the right consistency to dip a tile. The amount of water needed will vary from glaze to glaze. Use a stick/hand/immersion blender to mix it.


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#12 Diesel Clay

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Posted 06 September 2014 - 03:13 PM

Solo cups hold about 100g quite nicely. I have a small test sieve that I use the heck out of. It holds about 1 cup of slaked glaze, and I can rest it on the top of, or just inside the red cup. A cheap stiff bristled brush from the hardware store pushes the glaze through the sieve.

Edited by Diesel Clay, 06 September 2014 - 03:16 PM.

Www.dieselclay.weebly.com

#13 ayjay

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Posted 06 September 2014 - 04:18 PM

How do I mix small quantities of glaze? Everywhere I look the speak of 5 gallon buckets! To test the dozen glazes I have, I would like to make small batches of about 250 ml each. What ratio of water to dry glaze do I use?

 

I often mix small quantities when testing new glazes, usually 100 grams dry weight, to this I will add 90 grams of water, I can't remember that amount ever being too much, sometimes I've used up to 150 grams of water, it depends on the ingredients, but it's easier to add more than to take it out.







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