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Member Since 08 Sep 2012
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#93793 Mayco Cone 5-6 Glazes Unreliable

Posted by Benzine on 05 October 2015 - 10:26 PM

I've never used Mayco glazes.

I have had some less than stellar results with commercial glazes, but those are few and far between.

The makers do a whole lot of testing to ensure a good, consistent product. By doing so, they keep customers happy and stay in business.
Because of this, I would probably trust a commercial glaze more than one I made. I simply don't have the time and resources to test and retest it as much as they do.

Also, any of the aforementioned less than stellar results, were probably due to an error of my own. They just didn't fit into my standard firing schedule along with my usual suspects.

So I can't say I would chalk it up to an inferior product. It could be that the glaze didn't work well on your clay body, or that your firing schedule caused issues. A lot of factors to take into consideration, and testing that can be done.

#93660 Qotw: Do You Have A Plan B?

Posted by Benzine on 03 October 2015 - 09:01 AM

So Mark, when Sebastian was singing "Under the Sea" in The Little Mermaid, you just nodded in agreement the entire time?...

#92577 Qotw: Are "kiln Gods" Superstition?

Posted by Benzine on 14 September 2015 - 08:41 PM

Meesage received John. The next time I fired, I will ignore my kiln controller (targeting computer) and fire with my feelings!

#92569 Qotw: Are "kiln Gods" Superstition?

Posted by Benzine on 14 September 2015 - 06:21 PM

I think it's a fun tradition, but I don't put much stock in it beyond that.

It makes for a good story, tomtell the students, and having them make a kiln god, gives them more of a connection to the process. They are doing something that potters have been doing for centuries.

But when it comes down to it, the only force that has any impact on my firings, is the idiot hitting the switches.

#92566 Low Fire Or Mid Fire For Elementary School?

Posted by Benzine on 14 September 2015 - 05:53 PM

Absolutely low fire. I teach high school and still use low fire. Firing takes less time, and I can even mix loads of glaze and bisque, if necessary.

Also, many, if not all of the Elementary teachers I know, have the students paint the projects once bisqued. So you might as well go with low fire, since it's not functional anyway.

#92504 Show Us Your Teapots

Posted by Benzine on 13 September 2015 - 08:23 AM

High Bridge, Careful what you say, your government might be listening! Talk like that may make you seem unpatriotic... Hehehe

I don't regularly do teapots. I made a coiple, when I started teaching, just for the practice. And I've helped students make a coiple since.

I did one last Winter, as part of a child's set for my daughter's Christmas present.


#91738 Can I Tumblestack Underglaze Greenware For The Bisque Fire?

Posted by Benzine on 31 August 2015 - 06:49 AM

Yep, as Guinea said, fuming would be the biggest issue. I'll have students, use underglaze on the bottoms of wares, since I generally don't let them use glaze. We get a bit of color transfer. It usually only shows up, on the bare portions of the ware, that will eventually be glazed, or just on the kiln shelves.

#91614 Cheers To Art Teachers!

Posted by Benzine on 28 August 2015 - 02:50 PM

Not cynical at all Pres. Pretty spot on, in my opinion.

Our Govenor, seems to loves the private sector. He closed down multiple State facilities, like mental health, and juvenile detention centers.
Then, when the two parties, couldn't agree on the Educational budget, for the year, they agreed on the lower percentage allowable growth, but then include one time extra funds. ...Theeeeen, the Govenor came in and vetoed the extra funds, citing he didn't want to allow lawmakers to depend on that, wanting them instead to figure out a budget. Of course, he's trying to blame the lawmakers for failing to fully compromise, while schools are still out the money. My district lost a couple hundred thousand. Larger districts, it was about a million.

I have been fortunate so far. My District and Administrators support me, and allow me to buy the necessary materials. The Visual Arts, and Fine Arts in general are supported here. I would say teachers overall are happy with the district.

This is in contrast to some states, like Wisonsin, who lost a lot of teachers, due to the current administration, or Kansas, who lost a lot of funding, for the same reasons.

And not to pick on the South, but one of my coworkers in the district, taught Art in Georgia. Not only were the kids "rough" (he had Kindergarteners swearing at him), but he was one time forced to paint with clay, he had dug up himself. His funding was so little, that's what he had to stoop too.

#90935 Problems With Glaze

Posted by Benzine on 16 August 2015 - 02:58 PM

You mean after firing it, in the kiln?

Is it popping off, on its own, or kind of flaking off?

There are a couple reasons glazes can do this. One, is there was something on the ware, before you glazed it ( dust, oils from fingers/ hands, etc) and the glaze doesn't adhere to the clay body. It looks like it does, but because of the dirt or what have you, the glaze doesn't seep into the clay body.

The other reason is a glaze fit issue. If the clay body and glaze don't expand/ contract at the same rate, you have problems. If the glaze shrinks more than the clay, you get crazing, which is tiny cracks in the glaze, or daunting, which can cause the ware to crack. If the clay body shrinks more than the glaze, the glaze essentially bunches up upon itself, and then pops off. The latter may be what happened with your work.

What cone is your clay body, and what cone is your glaze(s)?

#90755 Mistake In Firing

Posted by Benzine on 12 August 2015 - 09:07 PM

You can absolutely refire.  


The only big firing issue, with the glaze firing, is over firing, where the wares start to melt.  Under firing, is almost never an issue, because you can refire.

In fact, you can also take wares that were fired fully, touch up glaze that didn't turn out, and refire those.


The only thing you lost was the cost of the firing, and a bit of time.  But better than a load of work!

#90702 Bisque Blowouts

Posted by Benzine on 12 August 2015 - 08:08 AM

I've never heard of an "Energy regulator" on a kiln.  I'm guessing that's just the dials, that control the elements?  Some of the dials are numbered, some just have a low, medium and high.


Also, with step one, and two, most people leave the kiln lid cracked, or even completely open, through this.  It allows the moisture to escape better.  Leaving the bung out will do this to some extent.  It just depends on how damp the load is overall.  


I hope this helps.

#90551 Bisque Blowouts

Posted by Benzine on 09 August 2015 - 08:32 PM

Chris, that sounds a lot like the Scientific Method, and there's no place for that kind of thing here...

#90507 Bisque Blowouts

Posted by Benzine on 09 August 2015 - 10:19 AM

Candling would probably solve the problem. Crack the kiln lid and set the bottom element to low overnight. If it is. Digital controller, there are candling programs.

In my classroom, with the iffy nature of student work, my bisque program takes 12-15 hours. Even then, there can still be issues.

#90422 Raku Results Home Made Kiln

Posted by Benzine on 07 August 2015 - 09:04 PM

Very nice results.


Careful with Raku, it's addicting...

#90195 Could Use Some Throwing Help

Posted by Benzine on 03 August 2015 - 10:25 PM

Those cross sections look good.  Keep at it!