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Chris Throws Pots

Member Since 27 Jun 2012
Offline Last Active Sep 03 2015 10:47 AM

Topics I've Started

Screenprinting My Own Decals - Thoughts & Advice Please

15 October 2014 - 07:57 AM

Hi All,


For the last few months I've been experimenting with decals. With my HP laser printer I've been printing my own iron-rich decals and getting results I'm really happy with (picture below). The process is pretty straightforward, and so long as the ^6 glaze I'm putting decals on top of doesn't change with the additional firing, the results are predictable and aesthetically where I want them to be.


But I'm working in only one color. As mentioned in other decal-focused posts, a ceramic printer that can print full color decals costs a few grand. And while there are commercial services available for printing decals, I'm more of a DIY kind of guy.


So I'd like to start screenprinting my own decals using gold overglaze, cobalt, etc, and I'm curious if anyone can help shed some light on this process. I have a background in screenprinting, so I'm very comfortable withe the physical steps of the process. What I'm wondering about are the following:


- The decal paper needs to be submerged in water to get the backing paper to release. Is there a substance I should mix in with my overglaze/cobalt oxide wash to make it so the image wont wash off the paper?


- Should I be spraying a fixer over the images instead of/in addition to mixing a fixing agent into my "ink"?


- Should the decals be applied face-down? The iron decals can be applied right-side-up, but I have a suspicion that printing things backward and applying the paper with the "ink" in direct contact with the ware will be more effective.


- Any ratios, recipes, tricks or tips will be appreciated.





Attached File  VAUGHN_DECAL_MUGS.JPG   309.45KB   3 downloads

Raku Burner Question

23 April 2014 - 07:24 PM

Hi All,

I'm in the process of doing some upgrades to the studio's Raku kiln and equipment. The burner head (a Ward MR100) was all rusted out so I ordered a replacement, but I have a question about sealant used on the threaded connection.

When I removed the old burner head from the valve section of the rig, I noticed some sort of sealant had been used where the male and female sides meet. It had deteriorated over years of use, but it was obvious something had been applied. What is this stuff? Is it necessary if the connection is tight? If necessary, how is is best applied? Once it's on there, is it permanent?



How Bring My Reclaim Back To Life

11 December 2013 - 02:08 PM

Hi All,


The studio where I work collects everyone's throwing slop in large garbage barrels to reclaim into clay for youth programming and drop-ins. The clay is feeling like it's met its limit in terms of reclaim cycles and the kids are finding the clay impossible to work with. The clay is very fibrous, tears easily and lacks elasticity. 


I'm thinking about adding dry ball clay and vinegar to the mother barrels to bring the dead clay back to life. Will this work? Is it worth my time? How much of each to add? Should I add something different? 


I'm fearful that mixing in ball clay will throw the chemical composition way off and will leave us with clay that doesn't fit our glazes. The current reclaim is a mix of four ^6 Laguna bodies (90, 66, 55 and 16) and lots of the cyclically recyled clay.


Any help will be greatly appreciated.




27 November 2013 - 04:31 PM

*To the Admin: This topic could probably also be posted in the In The Studio or Potter's Council section of the forum, but due to my use of Instagram for business I've started it here. If it should live somewhere else, please move it.


Hi All,


Who's using Instagram as part of their clay life? For me, it's been a really helpful, monetarily beneficial, and FUN tool. It's helped me connect with fellow artists and customers, and it's played a large role in building my brand. I've had a great experience with the tool, and I figured I'd share. For those using the forum who don't have Instagram on their radar, it is now.


In short, Instagram is a photo sharing application that allows user to upload, edit and share photos with the Instagram community at large, or (by using the private profile option) specific users who have been granted permission. The application also allows users to "filter" photos to make them look like they've been Photoshopped. Users can include a caption when they upload a photo, as well as hashtagged terms (ie #pottery #ceramics #puppies #tacotuesday) to make photos easy to locate using the application's search feature. Users "Follow" other users to subscribe to their photos; the homescreen is populated by the most recent uploads from all the users one follows. Users can "Like" and/or leave comments on photos. The application is available for iOS and Android and is primarily used on smartphones and tablets; recently a view-only version became available for folks using a traditional notebook/desktop browser. 


Mixed in with all the users posting pictures of their kittens, babies, hipster parties, adventures with bacon, etc is a large community of ceramic artists sharing pictures of their daily process and their pots. I open Instagram on my phone and scroll through my homescreen feed a few times a day, and I'll be greeted by pictures uploaded from folks like Adam Field, Michael Kline, Alex Matisse, Birdie Boone, Brett Kern, Justin Rothshank... The pictures are visually fun to look at, and give a look into the life of the artist and process behind the work.


For me, Instagram has been a versatile tool, and a source of both give and take. I get inspired by posts made by others, and others (hopefully) get inspired by posts I make. Through comments left on photos, I have gotten a lot of quick troubleshooting support and have provided a lot of this as well. I have found potters who's work I've begun collecting, and I have received a good bit of business from customers who find me via Instagram then connect to my website. It's also a great tool for promoting an event or an Etsy sale code. 


If you're not on Instagram, give it a try. Whether for business, pleasure or both, a lot of us are already posting daily, sharing images of our studios, processes, firings, pots and lives. If you decide to take the plunge, here's my shortlist of 20 clay-related must-follow accounts to get you started:







@chris_throws_pots (shamelessly, me)