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Member Since 20 Feb 2012
Offline Last Active Jun 12 2013 08:56 AM

Topics I've Started

The lid is now closed

20 May 2013 - 12:15 PM

Dear All,

I have just closed the lid of my kiln to start glaze firing a batch of red ware I have been working on for about 2 months (i.e., on and off). I have glazed it with the Arbuckle Majolica Glaze and commercial colors.

As I closed the lid, I thought to myself, what have I just invested of myself in this load?? Please know this is the first time I have done this glaze technique independently.

1. Reworked some hardened majolica clay to get it ready for throwing.
2. Made the vessels on and off for the last few months (i.e., paying really close attention to drying times for optimum trimming, crack prevention etc.).
3. Purchased and sieved a large batch of glaze.
4. Purchased the commercial colors.
5. Dipped the work to prevent drips and waited overnight for the glaze to dry before painting.
6. Wiped off the bottoms etc., etc., etc.

Every single step takes time and knowledge of how to proceed.

I cannot even begin to calculate the number of hours my body and mind have put into this project. To learn a new technique takes time.

I remember learning to pit fire. This too, took time and great energy to get everything together to attempt this firing safely.

So what am I rambling about???

Maybe it is a delayed post to really say, pottery does take time and it is WORK. While my kiln lid is closed and I could have done everything correct today over the past few months, ultimately the load will be what it is. It is clay. All I can do is wait.

I don't mean to sound whiny but when I closed the lid it just made me think how much time this took to put together...the steps, the learning, the anticipation, the planning etc.

Ironically, despite all the planning, the one area that surprised me was during my process, I never gave much thought to decoration. THIS is what majolica is all about. All I could think about was vivid color. Thus, over the weekend, I struggled to decorate when it should have been a main focus of my planning. Unlike cone 6 where you never know what will happen with the glaze, majolica, I think if done right should be fairly exact.

Anyway, I am rambling.

Have you ever gone through a type of consideration of your effort or investment (in all senses of the word) in learning a new technique??


It works

18 May 2013 - 04:17 PM

Dear All,

I just wanted to let the group know that I just went out to my studio to glaze a large batch of pots using my Arbuckle glaze. Not sure what happened but am guessing that I put in too much water in during the initial mixing as it was pretty runny. It would not adhere without being transparent on the pot even with a 5 second dunk.

At the point of me using this glaze, it has sat for about two month and has been sieved twice. It was mixed well today before I started to consider alternative ways to thicken the mixture.

To make a long story short, the addition of just a small amount of epson salts mixed with some glaze (in the same way you would thicken a soup) worked beautifully. I added it bit-by-bit and voila, it passed the glove or finger nail test.

While there are still some drips on my pieces from my dunking technique, I know I can work with them.

I learned this technique on THIS forum. Thank you to who ever posted this information. I think someone once mentioned using molasses but am not sure how this would work.

No need to respond. I just wanted to let the group know that valuable information is transmitted on this forum that I DEFINITELY USE.


Turning off the vent fan?

05 May 2013 - 12:00 AM

Dear All,

I have a load of low fire bisque in my kiln right now. In the past, I have been taught that as soon as the firing is done (i.e., reached temperature) you should turn off the fan as it saves the fan belt. In reading on the Internet, it was suggested you leave it on through the entire firing and cooling process. There was also some brief discussion about if you leave the fan on, you can reduce your cooling time by 2 hours??

My question to you is when do you turn your fan off?? Do you worry about taxing or over working your vent?? Mine, by the way, is a two year old Orton.


Where do you sign you name?

12 April 2013 - 05:37 PM

Dear All,

Until recently I have been using the end of a pencil (the eraser tip) to put a round circle on my pots. That is my mark. Simple and no-one really knows who made it.

Now I want to branch out and either start to sign my pieces or get a chop.

I have made chops but find them finicky to get them just right and to show my initials.

I have one I got while in China but it can be cumbersome and does not always fit on the ring of the foot.

I have seen people smear some slip and write their names through the bottom of the pots base.

I have read that the finishing of the pot (including the signature) should add and not take away from the aesthetic.

How do you sign you work?? Do you date it?? Do you use initials or a design??

I am thinking about branching out and getting a real chop made that is sturdy and done with some sort of metal to really impress the clay??

How do you let people know who made the pot or is it really of any great importance in the end??

I remember when I asked a well known potter why he didn't sign my pot that I purchased from him and he said "look, my hands are all over this pot--that is my signature." It made sense to me and I walked away.

How important is your signature to you as an artist?


Can I put a few strokes of stoneware slip on terra cotta?

06 April 2013 - 04:46 PM

Dear All,

I am pretty sure I know the answer to this question but want to check. Can I put a few brush strokes of stone ware slip on say a terra cotta bowl that I will glaze with a low fire clear honey glaze.

My knowledge says, only put the same type of slip on the same kind of body. In otherwords, only put terra cotta slip on a terra cotta body.

But the experimenter in me wants to try.

Given that my clay is red and I was sort of hoping to use a white slip, do I need to invest in some white terra cotta or can I try some stone ware slip that I already have mixed up.

Know that it will be nothing more than a few stokes of white slip but I do not want my kiln ware blowing up during the firing. Could this happen or will it simply not adhere to leather dry clay??

Is this feasible or should I simply put this idea aside until I get the real McCoy (i.e., white terra cotta) to make my own slip?

Thank you in advance,