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Member Since 03 Apr 2010
Offline Last Active Sep 16 2014 11:55 PM

#63441 Help Me Decide What To Do About A Cracked Kiln Lid

Posted by Isculpt on 28 July 2014 - 08:40 PM

When I purchased a large top-loading Olympic kiln last summer, it arrived with a crack in the lid where the handle's screw had been run in, apparently without pre-drilling.  The crack didn't go all the way through, and I was promised a new kiln lid if I would accept delivery of the kiln.  The lid has one of those hinges that goes all the way down the back of the kiln, which I am told is not easy to replace.  Before delivering the kiln, the merchant from whom I bought it repaired the crack with kiln mortar. It has been 8 months and the crack has not re-appeared.  I know the seller is hoping I'll forget about it, and truthfully, I'd like to.  I fear that things may go from (not-too) bad to worse if the lid is replaced.  Given that the crack hasn't reappeared, should I feel relatively confident that it won't?  Or am I being foolish not to replace it?


UPDATE:  I received a call from Bob Haugen, president of Olympic Kilns.  The delay of 8 months was not of his doing - or not doing, a fact I was well aware of.  He has promised to deliver and install the new kiln lid himself.  You can't ask for better than that. Thanks again to all of you who advised me to have it replaced.

#63373 What Are You Working On?

Posted by Isculpt on 27 July 2014 - 10:52 PM

Wow, Pres, those wedding jars are fabulous. I hope neither couple ever gets divorced because there's gonna be a nasty custody battle!  Seriously, a wedding gift that wonderful is well worth the wait, as I'm sure your friends would agree.


And thanks, Rebel, yeah it's really a teapot. The head and chest of the farthest girl lifts off so water can be poured in..  I love your your carved piece and the one with flames too. It made me want to create something with flames! When I was a wood carver, I made a wall piece with an angel hanging upside down over flames. The first time I took it to a show, a woman stood just outside my booth and yelled "blasphemy".  I pointed out that just above the flames was a spigot and holy font in case the flames got too high. She was not amused.

#63275 What Are You Working On?

Posted by Isculpt on 26 July 2014 - 01:07 AM

Oh, and back on point, I'm working on a teapot that sold 3 years ago at a teapot show.  A customer of the gallery that sold it requested I reproduce it, more or less. As I work on it, I wonder how the heck I made it the first time!  It was 3 years ago and I had just started in clay and I knew even less than I know now.  It's a pain in the a** and I'll be glad to finish it....if I ever do. 


Also, I'm working on a tile that keeps breaking...and it's not even dry yet. I've put it back together with paperclay twice.  It looks like this one is going to hold....I hope.  It's for a young  friend who is nearly finished with chemo for ovarian cancer.  It HAS to be ready and in one piece so that I can hand it to her when they remove the IV for the last time on the 5th of August!  IT SIMPLY HAS TO !!!! 



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#63274 What Are You Working On?

Posted by Isculpt on 26 July 2014 - 12:38 AM

Stellaria, I'm still so freaked out about the echidna with the four-headed um, boy parts, that I'll have to work my way up to the octopus and the sea pig.....


#63228 What Are You Working On?

Posted by Isculpt on 24 July 2014 - 10:10 PM

This has gotten way off point, but out of curiosity I just Googled 'echidna' and found a bizarre you tube video entitled True Facts About baby Echidnas" that starts "The echidna was created 54 seconds after God created marijuana..."


Oh my, the things I have learned reading the ceramic Arts Daily Forum!!!!

#62685 What Can I Make Besides Food-Holding Stuff?

Posted by Isculpt on 18 July 2014 - 02:50 AM

lidded boxes



simple animals & birds as decorative ornaments

jewelry pendants

business card holders, desk accessories

nonfunctional decorative teapots

small reliquaries to hold written prayers/thoughts

lamp bases

wall-hung decorative platters


Visit Pinterest for a zillion ideas.  I have created a board of functional and non-functional pieces that I've found online that appeal to me at http://www.pinterest...nal-decorative/.  There are many other boards on Pinterest with many other ideas. 



#62312 Image Envy ...

Posted by Isculpt on 12 July 2014 - 09:44 PM

Chris, you perfectly expressed the "artist's angst" that is the downside of today's easy access to the work of so many others. 


As I wrote the word "angst", I wondered if that was too melodramatic a word for the way most of us feel when we look at the work of talented other folks.  So I looked up the precise definition and found:  "Angst is a transcendent emotion in that it combines the unbearable anguish of life with the hopes of overcoming this seemingly impossible situation". 


Yup, that about covers it!

#61487 Real Time Preheating Question

Posted by Isculpt on 28 June 2014 - 08:36 PM

Oldlady, as you can see, neither of the dark washes was obscured by the acrylics, although the Mayco wash is definitely more assertive than the copper carbonate.  Copper carbonate used this way is a little unpredictable, but I have added more cc to the water and gotten a darker effect, although not as dark as the Mayco "Stoneware Wash".  On the other hand, the Mayco "Stoneware Wash" may give a lighter effect if greatly diluted.  Time for more experiments!


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#61263 How To Strengthen Delicate Ceramic Parts After Firing

Posted by Isculpt on 22 June 2014 - 12:47 AM

Thank you all for a mind boggling array of ideas.  As for you, Babs, I can assure you that I do indeed have lots of problems.....and some of them are even ceramics related! ;) 



#61142 How Do You Run Clay Through Your Slab Roller?

Posted by Isculpt on 18 June 2014 - 11:31 PM

Wow, that's a wide range of ideas for ways to handle this challenge.  I'm gonna try several to find the one that easiest/best for me.  I don't quite understand the diagonal cut that Mark mentions, but I'd like to.....


In answer to Mark's question about why I'm cutting the block into thin slabs, I had a problem last year (and posted about it here) wherein my 30" wide roller table (two cabinets joined together, 72" long overall) began to wriggle apart just enough that the canvas was getting sucked down into the crack between them when I tried to roll canvas and clay through the roller.  I took it all apart and reassembled the two cabinets with much stronger joins between them.


Since then I've had no trouble with the tables being pushed apart from the pressure of the slab roller, but I'm afraid that if I send too big a chunk of clay though, it might force the cabinet bases apart again. In the image attached, I'm showing the 25-lb block of clay that i get from Highwater Clay.  Surely no one is suggesting that I try to force that big modacker through those rollers?  How thick a slab should I feel comfortable forcing through my slab roller?


Attached is an image of the cabinets as a slabroller table...And yes, I've been told that no serious clay studio uses expensive cherry cabinets for storage, but I was building my studio just as the housing bubble burst 3 years ago. That bust cost me my construction job, but it gave me a studio full of functional and beautiful solid cherry cabinets ... for cheap!!  BTW, that's Mr. Evans and Mrs. Jones bookending the slabroller.....



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#60089 White Spots On Bisque-Fired Brown Clay

Posted by Isculpt on 05 June 2014 - 08:54 PM

Thanks, Roberta, for the compliment.  My mentor taught me that there is no such thing as a ruined sculpture and I have taken that as a challenge, devising lots of ways to fix my mistakes! 


Tenyoh, the reason that the woman holding the bird has such a matte finish is that I used a wet sea sponge and when the piece was leather hard, dabbed her face, neck and hands so that it had a velvet-like "nap" to the surface.  I've only used that technique once, but I really liked the effect.  It's nearly impossible to do on a small, detailed sculpture, though. That piece wasn't large (maybe 12"), but it didn't have lots of nooks and crannies to try to get the sponge into.  Using watery washes works best on a piece that hasn't been fired to vitrification. 


I have hard water, but I have a salt-based water-softener unit, which may have something to do with the white spots.  It seems somewhat logical that applying water softened with salt could cause a similar effect to "scumming".  I wonder ......



#59868 White Spots On Bisque-Fired Brown Clay

Posted by Isculpt on 03 June 2014 - 03:42 AM

Beautiful, creative sculpture!  I've had the same problem on red earthenware pieces that I didn't intend to glaze, but was then forced to color with underglaze to hide the white spots.  One option, if you don't want to fire it again, is to touch up that area with watered-down acrylic craft paints.  It's a slow process and difficult to match the color of the fired clay, which is why watering down the paint is a necessity.  On occasion, I have had to color the entire piece with watery acrylics that still let much of the clay color show through, in order to get a consistent color. (See image of woman holding bird)  Another option, shown on the "Brazilian" bust, is to use a watered down ivory colored acrylic paint to dry brush the piece, hiding the over-bisqued areas and adding texture and depth while leaving the natural clay color exposed.  (On both of these pieces a second firing was done at 06 after I added a copper carbonate wash to create the black shaded areas.  That firing was done before I added the acrylic washes.)


I haven't tried firing the pieces to cone 5, but I'd be surprised if that resolved the issue.  I think High Bridge is right; the area is over bisqued, and it's not likely to revert to a uniform color.  But please let us know the outcome if you do fire it to cone 5.



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#59534 Firing Clay Experiments Going Wrong, Please Help

Posted by Isculpt on 30 May 2014 - 02:47 AM

Chad and Benzine, thanks for the compliments.  I have to say that I haven't had great success with pit firing or trash can firing since those early attempts.  Chad's website is full of helpful information offered in an entertaining way.  Chad's site lists a number of potential colorants, with the usual suspects like banana peels. I always hear that banana peels are good for color in a pit fire but I can't help wondering how a person stockpiles enough banana peels to make a difference!  As for the other colorants -- Well, Chad, I'm just not sure I'm ready to start stockpiling road kill!!  :wacko:

Jayne :P

#59359 Firing Clay Experiments Going Wrong, Please Help

Posted by Isculpt on 27 May 2014 - 10:08 PM

Benzine, I bow to your knowledge about clays.  I am a rank beginner with a grain of knowledge and a lot of good intentions!  But when I first started working with clay 4 or 5 years ago, I used white earthenware.  Sometimes I used smooth earthenware, sometimes I used earthenware with just a little bit of grog.  Not knowing that I couldn't or shouldn't, I pit fired these ladies without a kiln, and they survived.  Was the success of that firing sheer beginner's luck?  I don't use that clay anymore, but you've made me curious! 


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#59134 Firing Clay Experiments Going Wrong, Please Help

Posted by Isculpt on 24 May 2014 - 01:34 AM

It's all well and good to tell someone that they can buy a used kiln for $400, but if they have no means to wire it, or if they can't put their hands on $400, other solutions can be found.


If you will Google "Youtube Pit firing" you will find dozens of videos showing the many ways that other people make pottery without a kiln.  You can certainly make pottery without a kiln, but you will need to use a strong clay, with grit.  Raku clay is designed to withstand thermal shock, so it's a good choice.  It is certainly more difficult than firing in a kiln, and the losses are much greater due to cracking in the fire, but it can be done and has been done for millennia.


My husband's tribe uses no kilns, but they do warm their pots in an electric stove, a modern version of setting the pots around the fire, then moving them closer and closer until they are warm enough to be placed into the ashes and embers of that first fire. Using the electric stove, they slowly raise the temperature from the stove's lowest setting, keeping the temperature below 200 for the first few hours.  But then over a matter of 4 or 5 hours the temperature is slowly raised to get to the maximum heat setting, usually 500 degrees.  Then the pots are loaded in a towel-lined basket or even a cooking sheet and quickly moved to the ember and ash-filled remains of a fire that was built when the pots went into the oven, and that has since burned down.  That fire was built from brush topped with roughly 2" diameter branches or split dried wood.   Whatever bits of wood are left in the fire "pit" are pushed to the sides, the pots are laid into the ashes and then split dried hardwood or branches are laid over the pots.  The wood quickly catches fire from the embers and ashes, which raises the temperature of the pots further, and tree bark is immediately laid over the pots to cause reduction.  This is only one method; many other variations are available on Youtube.  But as mentioned before, these pit-fired pots are fragile and meant to be decorative items only; they will not hold water. 



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