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Lowfire Glaze Depression.

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I am seriously ready to cry.

 

I worked in ^6 and ^10 when in college. Now that I'm a dirt-poor, $50,000 school loan debted graduate, I work in lowfire. The cost is the hugest factor.

 

I have been browsing the galleries and seeing all of these luscious tenmokus, shinos, soda firings, reduction glazes, and delicate blending of pure pyrotechnical magic...and lowfire looks so... meh. At least, mine does.

 

I have been using a lot of commercial glazes that emulate higher temperature glazes, but it's like saccharine versus sugar. And most of the other glazes look like really ugly fingernail polish. I don't want to make ware that looks like a Tijuana hooker at Mardi Gras! :'(

 

Does ANYONE have experiences with lowfire glazes that actually look appealing to the eye and not like cheap Walmart crap? If so...could you please help? I'm dying here!

 

-Sad rodent

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My class is low fire, so my work is too.

 

Layering is your friend.  I just discovered an awesome combination, by playing around with a couple.  I'll post some pictures, when I have a moment.

 

You could also think about building a Raku kiln.  Mine was cheap and easy to make, and you get some nice effects.  You can also just use some of your low fire glazes, as the reduction makes them do awesome things.

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Hi,

 

Lowfiring is not that much cheaper. I did the math some years ago. The kiln firing was about 2/3 $ more (going from cone 03 to cone 6), the elements would need to be changed every couple of years. Everything else was about the same. I actually found out that the most expensive part of my work is the time I spend brushing the glazes, which I still do. All of this can be factored into the pricing... a business savy friend can help you build a model that fits your vision and the market you want to reach.

 

 

I agree with Benzine, layering can be a good friend... Texture is another...

 

Spectrum, Mayco, Amaco, Laguna, and Duncan all have a stoneware immitation line of glazes... if you want more control or a different look try mixing your own. Also, comercial glazes can quickly eat whatever you are saving on the electricity bill.

 

There's a potters called Trevor Youngberg that achieved something similar to stoneware glazes by layering and slow firing... In the June 2002 issue Ceramic Monthly printed his recipes. Claytimes also published an article which has the firing schedule.

 

 

On the other hand there's no reason why earthenware should look like something else... There are quite a few lowfire potter and artists doing very interesting work.

 

 

Have you seen Steven Colby's low fire work? There's a video on youtube of Colby and Michael Kline where he explains how he layers the glazes. It's amazing...

 

 

I saw the pic of the mug you posted on the other thread and is a really handsome gal... nothing trashy about her. :)

 

 

Maybe all you need is a little soul searching... ask yourself: what do I want my work to say?

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I second Benzine of course - layering is a great way to make low fire glazes look better. Much of testing though! What about texture? Coloured clay? Raku or, if possible, pit-, barrel- or smoke firing? Neriage? Marbling? I can think of a lot to make earthenware shine... Pottes Council bookstore is a great source. Don't give up!! ;)

 

Evelyne

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There are a couple of ways you can go here.

1.embrace the low fire, grasshopper. Stop trying to make it look like high fire.

2.Do Majolica, which uses a white matt glaze with colourants painted over.

3. Use coloured slips on leatherhard clay, then a clear glaze over top.

4.What I do- I have my friend Steve who has a gas kiln in his 3 car garage. I fire stoneware with him. The flaw is that I have to bring my work over. I just drive my ware boards with pots on them in the back of my car. Kind of hairy, but who wants to pack and unpack pots.

5.Fly up here and I'll give you a hug.

TJR.

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Look at British potter Kate Malone's early work.....all about striking form, all about unashamed colour, all about multiple glaze layering of commercial glazes...many a straight clear e/w commercial modified by herself with colour and/or texture ingredients in the one glaze bucket .................her Masters degree was spent on a massive commercial glaze testing regime....and there is nothing ''meh'' about it and what lowfire can do

 

https://www.google.com.au/search?q=kate+malone+ceramics&rlz=1C1CHMD_enAU558AU558&espv=2&biw=1357&bih=658&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=hRBcVOyjLcns8AXyuoIQ&ved=0CBwQsAQ&dpr=0.9

 

 OR...if it has to be the high fire look, do the real deal...bisque at home and share a high fire gas or wood kiln with others

 

Take time to show us your experiments!

Irene

Evelyne Schoenmann likes this

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The other big point is:  Every successful artist has allowed their limitations to show them a path forward.

Here you have been given the best advice:  Look to others in same category, experiment, research.

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Hum..........

 

Are you really "saving" any money if you continue to "experiment" and spend labor hours and materials and energy costs trying to get saleable work out of the low fire range that you do NOT know....... as opposded to working with skills that you (say you) "own"?

 

Sometimes we try to save a nickel in order to not make a Dollar.

 

As enbaro mentioned above.... low fire does not save all that much money in eneergy costs.  Some of the materials used (like frits and commercial glazes) are MORE expensive than high fire stuff.

 

If you HAVE to use low fire...... you've gotten good advice above.  Also...... spraying glazes and stains and overglazes and lusters and such is an interesting approach.  BUT.... you'll spend money on equipment, safety issues, and overspray.

 

best,

 

..........................john

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The cost of firing hotter in terms of electricity is not that great. Maybe a couple of dollars per firing. The biggest factor is the life of your elements. You'll get anywhere from 2 to 5 times as many firings out of your elements at low fire than you will at cone 6. But a set of elements is only $200-$300 dollars depending on the size of your kiln, and as a hobbyist you'll probably only need to replace them every few years. If you break it down to the cost per pot, it's next to nothing. Is your happiness worth $100 a year?

 

That said, you can do some awesome things with low fire glazes, especially if you like color, that you can't do at hotter temps. So embrace it and do a lot of testing.

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I was thinking it should be possible to do cone 04 soda with the addition of other fluxes to the bomb, shouldn't it? I've seen mentions, but does anyone else have a line on a good resource? Could be really nice with the use of terra sig.

 

Low fire salt does not produce the glazed surface that it does at higher temperatures. It can give some great colors, though, similar to pit firing. Lots of reds and yellow and oranges. I used to do pit firings with wood shavings soaked in salt water (then dried), and got some fabulous results. 

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Some of the materials used (like frits and commercial glazes) are MORE expensive than high fire stuff.

Oh, gosh... I've done a little work with low-fire terracotta, and I really liked the look of Edouard Bastarache's cone 04 "sorel blue". Then I noted that the glaze is 78% frit. At $2.50 a pound, plus 4% cobalt carb, that would make it by far the most expensive glaze in my inventory.

 

(Since I don't buy commercial glazes... there's some nice stuff there, but I like experimenting with my own.)

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Some of the materials used (like frits and commercial glazes) are MORE expensive than high fire stuff.

Oh, gosh... I've done a little work with low-fire terracotta, and I really liked the look of Edouard Bastarache's cone 04 "sorel blue". Then I noted that the glaze is 78% frit. At $2.50 a pound, plus 4% cobalt carb, that would make it by far the most expensive glaze in my inventory.

 

(Since I don't buy commercial glazes... there's some nice stuff there, but I like experimenting with my own.)

 

 

That's about $57 for a 5 gallon bucket, expensive for mixing your own, but cheap compared to commercial glazes. Have you tried less cobalt? 4% is a lot! I've got one glaze that got up to about $75 a bucket when Tin Oxide shot up in price.

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Thanks for all your input, guys. :)

The trouble is that I would have to completely revamp my studio to make the switch. I have 350lbs of newly bought earthenware and about (I'm guessing!) 600lbs of recycle earthenware. Just the thought of tossing away almost half a ton of clay kind of makes me want to vomit. :'( Secondly, I have to stock up on aaaaaall the raw ingredients of my homemade ^6 glazes, and that is going to cost a bloody fortune. Third, this is my only source of income (besides my drawings/paintings), and I am one POOOOOR RODENT.I never pay my bills on time and have a weekly grocery budget of around $30, and $20 of it goes to my bunnies and cat. Soooo...the idea of having to fork out $300 every two years to replace my elements kind of also makes me want to vomit. :D SO MUCH BARF INVOLVED

 

I have been doing some soul searching and talking to a very nice lady on here about things. I am going to try a new approach and get back into sculpting animals. I'm working on what will be a talavera rabbit in terracotta, but with my own twist. Talavera animals tend to be simple forms, due to their main selling point being the patterns, but I want to utilize black slip and/or naked micaceous redart with the bright colors. I want to show off more detail in the animal's form and use the talavera as more of an accent.

 

I HATE MAIJOLICA SO MUCH I WANT TO KILL IT

 

So, I will use my badass white slip and my equally truimphant underglazes for my patterning. Pics will come! I will also post pics of my spottery stuff with the layering you suggested! I know which glazes look nice together, sooo... just commercial stuff, but ah well.

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I was thinking it should be possible to do cone 04 soda with the addition of other fluxes to the bomb, shouldn't it? I've seen mentions, but does anyone else have a line on a good resource? Could be really nice with the use of terra sig.

 

Low fire salt does not produce the glazed surface that it does at higher temperatures. It can give some great colors, though, similar to pit firing. Lots of reds and yellow and oranges. I used to do pit firings with wood shavings soaked in salt water (then dried), and got some fabulous results. 

 

 

Oooo, that's an interesting process.  I wonder what would happen, if you used said "Salt-infused" wood shavings, for reduction in Raku?

 

 

 

Some of the materials used (like frits and commercial glazes) are MORE expensive than high fire stuff.

Oh, gosh... I've done a little work with low-fire terracotta, and I really liked the look of Edouard Bastarache's cone 04 "sorel blue". Then I noted that the glaze is 78% frit. At $2.50 a pound, plus 4% cobalt carb, that would make it by far the most expensive glaze in my inventory.

 

(Since I don't buy commercial glazes... there's some nice stuff there, but I like experimenting with my own.)

 

 

That's about $57 for a 5 gallon bucket, expensive for mixing your own, but cheap compared to commercial glazes. Have you tried less cobalt? 4% is a lot! I've got one glaze that got up to about $75 a bucket when Tin Oxide shot up in price.

 

 

Being as I have some commercial glazes/ underglazes, that are around twenty dollars a pint, I'm inclined to agree.

 

And GuineaPotter, if you haven't tried something like this video below, give it a shot, especially as you seem at home drawing.  I've been working it into my repertoire, since the video was featured on this site a year ago:

 

http://ceramicartsdaily.org/pottery-making-techniques/ceramic-decorating-techniques/how-to-use-slip-inlay-with-wax-to-create-thin-lined-decoration-on-pottery/

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I worked a long time in eathenware and have developed many different kinds of glazes for low temp. I got a couple of pots with matt glazes into a NCECA show. There are an abundant surfaces to use in that range and I think they are as beautiful as any. It sounds like your a painter as well so if you like to decorate with a brush there are a lot of options open to you, underglaze & slips, majolica, terra sigillata to name a few. It sounds as if you don't want to invest much in glaze materials but I could send out some of my glaze recipes.

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I did a type of majolica which is applied to wet or leather hard clay. Typically I would brush it on my pots an hour after they were thrown. Sometimes using a slip trailer to apply the glazes and finger paint with it. I could never bring myself to do those overglaze colors on top of that dry white surface.

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Benzine I just checked the pics, they are really interesting. I tend to layer opaque glazes on red clay... What kind of logic for layering are you using?

 

 

Logic?.....

 

Seriously though, some of it is from experience, with similar glazes.  I've found that glazes that mimic a surface texture, tend to lead to interesting results, when layered.

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