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Member Since 03 Apr 2010
Offline Last Active Today, 08:55 AM

Topics I've Started

Real Time Preheating Question

24 June 2014 - 09:04 PM

I have a one-year-old electronic Olympic kiln.  I use the preset programs, always going with a slow bisque combined with a long preheat period -- usually 12-18 hours preheating at 200.  Tonight I need to rush this load a little, but I don't think it's ready for 200 degrees!  I'd like to dry the work a little faster than it can dry by just sitting in my studio (withits humidity of 85%).  It seems that PRE pre-heating the work at maybe 125 for 12 hours before I use the actual preheat program, which is 200 degrees, would be safer than jumping the temperature on the sculptures straightaway to 200. 


Is my logic, um, logical? And if it is, can anyone tell me how to do this?  I can't find anything in the instruction manual that tells me how to set the temperature to 125 degrees for a period of time.



How To Strengthen Delicate Ceramic Parts After Firing

19 June 2014 - 10:14 PM

I've just broken the hands on a small sculpture and made and fired another pair of hands.  The problem is that a 3/4" long hand with slightly spread fingers is bound to be very fragile.  Can anyone recommend a penetrating glue or other substance that I can apply to these little hands to make them stronger?  They're made from Raku clay that fires from 06 to cone 6.  If I fire them to the higher end of the temperature range, will there be enough of an improvement in the strength to justify running the kiln for a pair of tiny hands? I can see that a pot fired to a higher temp would be stronger, I just don't know if it would matter with a hand that has fingers no thicker than 1/16-1/8"!



How Do You Run Clay Through Your Slab Roller?

17 June 2014 - 10:28 PM

I build my sculptures from slabs and I love my Bailey slab roller.  I'm having a problem getting a large slab without a seam running lengthwise down the middle, and I'm wondering how others do it. I cut a 25 lb block of clay into 1.5" slabs, and then lay out 4 of them in a square and roll them through the Bailey (twice) to get the final 3/8" slabs.  I try to push them together before they go through the slab roller the first time, but I still end up with a weak join running lengthwise down the middle.  I've tried using a mallet to pound the 4 pieces together, but it doesn't seem to make a difference.  I guess if I turned the slab 90 degrees before I ran it through the second time, it would help to smush that seam together, but how do you lift the slab off the canvas and turn it after its first run-through without it tearing apart down that seam??  And for that matter, if you're not supposed to handle the slab without the support of the canvas, how in the world do people turn it 90 degrees before the second pass?



What Do You Do To Make The Customer's Buying Experience Fun/rewarding?

16 May 2014 - 01:45 AM

In Mea's post, "Why is Our Work Better than Imported Work", she wrote "handmakers can surpass mass-producers in the following areas: quality and buying experience. People buy my somewhat pricey pottery because it is better in terms of functionality and attractiveness. And I make sure the experience of working with me is fun and rewarding."


What I'd love to hear is how Mea and others make the experience of buying from them 'fun and rewarding'.  Marketing is something many of us have only vague ideas about.  At its most basic, marketing is selling, and we could all use help with that.  I've read lots of posts about providing nice packaging and using varying heights and spacing to display work at a craft fair.  But I'd like to hear some creative ideas and techniques for making the buying experience meaningful, or fun and rewarding, for the customer.



Suggestion For Porcelain Clay That Is Good For Sculpture Work?

05 May 2014 - 11:40 PM

I have only worked with earthenwares, stonewares and raku clay.  But I'd like to make something that fires smooth and creamy for a change. Would that be a porcelain clay?  If so, can anyone suggest a porcelain clay (cone6) that handles somewhat like any of the above?  I have the impression that porcelain is muuuuch more difficult, but I'm hoping that I'm wrong about that. Is porcelain a completely different animal or does it handle pretty much like other clays?