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Member Since 08 Sep 2012
Online Last Active Today, 02:36 PM

#110069 Qotw: What Other Things Beside Clay Have You Mastered?

Posted by Benzine on 13 July 2016 - 09:07 AM


#110021 Decorating Fine Relief

Posted by Benzine on 12 July 2016 - 10:11 AM

I agree with Roberta.  A stain is probably your best bet at  highlighting the detail(s) of the impression, without the worry of them being covered.


So get some oxides or Mason stains, mix with water, and a  bit of frit, and brush on/ sponge the excess off post-bisque.


You could also use glaze or underglaze to do the same basic thing.  But to keep the details, I'd recommend applying any of them, after the bisque firing.  Otherwise, you could lose the crisp, detailed edges when sponging off the excess colorant.

#108584 Cleaning Kiln Wash Off Kiln Shelves

Posted by Benzine on 12 June 2016 - 09:25 AM

The only times I've had kiln wash crack, is when I apply it too thick. Imwould say, I apply mine a bit thinner than half and half consistency.
I do three coats, and the first coat looks like I've barely put anything on at all. And that's why I used to have cracking issues, because I thought each coat needed to be thicker to protect the shelf.

#108514 Qotw: What Would Be The Title Of A Clay Book Of Yours?

Posted by Benzine on 09 June 2016 - 09:16 PM

"How to Get Clay off the Ceiling and Spot Likely 'Paraphernalia': A Guide to Teaching Ceramics"


"Well, That was Stupid: My Journey with Ceramics"

#107951 Building A Work Table

Posted by Benzine on 01 June 2016 - 08:10 PM

Plywood would be fine.  Many here will advise against canvas, as it can create quite a bit of dust.  I'm on the fence with canvas myself.  The main reason artists use canvas, is because it's a lightweight material, that can be put over nearly any surface, and the clay won't stick (As much).  It also does a good job of helping to dry the clay.


Plaster under the canvas is another common choice.


Personally, I'm thinking of looking into cement board.  Sturdy surface that I can put over my wood workbench, porous to absorb water, and doesn't hold in dust like canvas can.

#107126 Firing A Bowl Upside Down?

Posted by Benzine on 18 May 2016 - 08:34 AM

Why glaze the bottom?  I know many potters, will glaze inside the footring, while leaving the ring itself bare or maybe underglazed.  That's the route I usually go.

#107014 Underglaze Stuck To Shelves

Posted by Benzine on 16 May 2016 - 08:12 PM

I've had some Amaco black and blue stick a bit at 04.  They always leave a ring of color behind, but if I fire to underglazed pieces touching, they can stick a bit.  Never had anything stick to the shelf, that I recall though.

#106515 Stoneware Hanging Planters

Posted by Benzine on 08 May 2016 - 09:37 AM

Survived the firing(s).  They warped during the bisque, possibly due to the fact I had to fire them on end, possibly due to the clay memory.  It honestly doesn't bother me.


Here is a link to the gallery, with update pictures:  http://community.cer...-planter-boxes/



-Slab built with a low fire white clay, press texture from antique wooden wallpaper roller and bisqued to Cone 04

-Jewel Brown glaze brushed on top and bottom trim, feet, and in recessed texture.  Federal Blue glaze brushed over top of the textured areas

-Tarnished Brass glaze on the interior and bottom.

-Glaze fired to Cone 05.

-Filled with potting soil.

-Planted with Petunias, Dahlia Hybrids and Begonias 

-Watered and heated to Cone 050...

#106077 Stoneware Hanging Planters

Posted by Benzine on 01 May 2016 - 06:47 PM

Not selling these oldlady. They are a Mother's Day gift for my Wife... At least they will be if they turn out..

Here is a pic: http://community.cer...es-in-the-kiln/

I'll try and post an embedded photo later.

Note: I originally intended to fire the boxes horizontally, but despite measuring and remeasuring, they are an inch or so too big. I must have some of that clay that expands as it dries.... *cough*

#105775 Interior Supports?

Posted by Benzine on 27 April 2016 - 08:50 AM

oldlady is spot on.  The cardboard will burn out, with no issues, but the clay could crack, when drying.


Usually, when I use supports, or have students do so, we remove them once the clay has set a bit.  Also, I always go a bit looser, when wrapping or draping the clay, to prevent the shrinking so much, that I can't remove the support(s).


I have used a cardboard grid support inside a thinner slab base for a sculpture.  The figure, that made up the majority of the sculpture, put a lot of weight over the middle, so I knew it would need support.  The cardboard didn't cause any cracks, when the piece dried.  It must have compressed enough, that it wasn't an issue.  But the clay I used didn't shrink a whole lot either.

#105365 Attempt At The Vintage Look

Posted by Benzine on 18 April 2016 - 08:43 AM

It looks like the style you are going for, just a newer version of it.


Like if something was made in that time period, then sealed away and never used.


I like the design overall.

#105362 Cracks In Bowl Base

Posted by Benzine on 18 April 2016 - 08:34 AM

The times, that I have had wares develop cracks like that, were towards the end of throwing.  Fairly certain it was caused by me over-working/ stressing the clay, which created weak spots.


Biglou's explanations are just as likely.  Quick/ uneven drying will cause stress cracks, as will lack of compression.  Though, when I don't compress, I usually get the typical "S-crack".  The good news is, at least the cracks formed while drying, instead of showing up after firing.  

#105348 Cleaning Up Batts After Firing Disaster

Posted by Benzine on 17 April 2016 - 09:08 PM


someone should attach this to the question about using the wrong temp clay and glaze and point out that THIS COULD BE YOUR KILN!

This seems to be more an instance of setting the wrong temperature, not using the wrong clay and/or glazes. A mistake as easy as pressing slow glaze instead of slow bisque on a computerized controller and not reviewing the program before hitting start (or vice versa). Not that that has happened to any of us.



I obsessively check my classroom kiln, to make sure the correct Cone/ program is set.  I've had the same program entered, since I started several years ago.  Yet, I still check to make sure the program is correct.  I don't think there is a single other person in the school, or district that would know how to change the settings.  Regardless, I look, like those settings could have been magically changed.

#105221 New Mug, But Will Need A Silicone Ring! What Do You Think?

Posted by Benzine on 14 April 2016 - 08:33 AM

Short answer, not of interest. Easier ways to keep your mug contents hot than going hi-tech.



Indeed.  My wife uses the simple method of, using a well insulated mug/ reheating with the microwave.

#105038 Would Low Firing Give Me Much Better Colors?

Posted by Benzine on 10 April 2016 - 08:09 PM

I can't comment as to the "why", because I am not a glaze wizard.


I do believe bright colors are easier to achieve with low fire.  I have heard others comment, that Amaco underglazes do well at cone 5-6.  What brand are you using?


I regards to glazes, I have quite a few bright glaze colors in my classroom.  Those are very popular with the average student.


If you aren't making wares that are meant to be functional, low fire might be the way to go.  It saves on time and extends element life.