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Member Since 08 Sep 2012
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 09:27 PM

Topics I've Started

Homemade Extruder

06 June 2014 - 10:06 PM

I've wanted to get an extruder for my classroom, for quite a while.  Unfortunately, I can never really fit it in the budget, especially as my district is really focusing on cutting back.  So even though, I may be able to put in the purchase order, and even have it approved, I really don't want to draw attention to myself, as a department that spends money on "Big" purchases.  

I have two hand extruders, but they work OK at best.  


A while back, Pres linked me to this video:




I think it's an absolute great idea, and am seriously considering building one.  The issue I will have, is mounting.  Obviously, I can't dig a hole in my classroom, to place a wooden post.  Wall mounting is essentially out of the question as I don't much wall space, and that I have, would not be preferable.  

I'm either thinking table mount, or to anchor a post in a bucket of concrete, then attach it to the post, like he did in the video.  If I go for the table mount option, what would be a good bracket set up?



Glaze Practice Tile(S)

06 June 2014 - 08:30 PM

Lately, I've been kicking around a new idea, for teaching the students, how to use glaze.  Since I started teaching, I have also done some quick demos, regarding underglaze and glaze techniques.  However, it seems to be too condensed for the students, and it's hard for them to take in a lot of it.  


So, instead of me showing them all the techniques, or requiring them to do all of them on projects, I thought of having each student make a slab, dividing it up into sections, and try a couple different techniques there.  One section could be undergalze with sgraffito, on with the use of wax or latex resist, sponging, layering, etc.  I do something similar, with my Painting class, when we practice with watercolor.

The slabs wouldn't have to be very big, maybe five by six or so.  


Has anyone tried something like this with students, or otherwise?



Odd Additions

01 June 2014 - 09:28 AM

Since joining these forums, a couple years back, I've learned quite a lot.  One of those things, is that ceramicists will try mixing about anything into their clay and/ or glazes.

Those, who saggar or pit fire, throw in weed killer and banana peels, those who Raku, reduce in a variety of materials or apply horse hair and those, who do Obvara, use a witch's brew that is somewhere between a really liquid bread dough recipe and a very thick beer recipe.


So what are some other "weird" additions, that people add to their clay body, glazes or at any other point in the process?


My high school Art teacher, says that, when he was in college, they would urinate on their pots.  I don't recall if he meant that they did it prior to firing, or after pulling them for a Raku type firing.  As I knew nothing of Ceramics at the time, I was just shocked that a person would urinate on a pot.  I guess I just chalked it up to "Man artists are weird...."

Firing A Small Figural Sculpture

19 April 2014 - 03:05 PM

I had the idea, for a while, to create a Raku fired, Deco-Inspired, figure sculpture. Initially I was inspired by the vertical winged figures, like those at The Hoover Dam. However, while sketching, I decided to make it a two-piece sculpture.

Anyway, the piece is drying now, and will soon be ready to fire. I'm a little concerned, with loading it into the kiln. If I lift it by the figure, I worry it could come off the base, or at least weaken it enough, that it will separate during the Raku process. If I load it by the base, I worry, I will crack the fragile corners of the base. So I made a larger slab, with holes on the end, that I can load both pieces on. I will bisque the slab, in advance, slide the sculpture onto it, and I can carefully lower that into the kiln, or thread a bit of small rope through the two holes on each side, and lower it that way.

Now, for the Raku portion, I also worry about how I can lift the pieces, out of the kiln. Once again, I worry that picking them up by the figure portion, may cause the bottom to come off. I also thought of using the same bisqued slab, with high temp wire threaded through the holes, and lift the slab, sculptures and all.

What does everyone think? The males figure is attached to the base, by the knee and foot on one side, and the foot on the other. The female is attached by a knee and foot on one side, the tip of the other foot, and a prop made to look like fabric, under her rear. The latter portion I added in last minute, because of concern she would fall back while drying, due to the pose. I did some extensive scoring and slipping, with even a little reinforcing, on all attachment points. I have quite a few hours into it, so I want to get it right.
I have never Raku fired a sculpture like this, so some input would be great. The majority of the sculpture is hollow, as it was coil-built. The walls are about 1/8th of an inch, and There are multiple air vents.

Thanks in advance

Note: Images of the piece can be found in my gallery.


I will try to attach them directly later.

Firing A "large" Slab

20 February 2014 - 06:38 PM

I recently had a student create a relatively large relief sculpture, as an independent project.  In the standard class, I also have the students make a relief sculpture, but the slabs are only 5.5"X8.5"X.5".  So I say "large" because in relation, the independent student's work is pretty big.  It's a circular format, with a diameter of 20"X.75-1".  When planning the project, he knew he wanted it to be big, so I just had him build it on a spare kiln shelf, to avoid potential breaks, while trying to move and load it. 

It's been drying for a couple weeks now, and has no spots, that feel cool.  So I'm not worried about residual moisture, but I've heard people suggest placing slabs on a layer of silica sand(?) or clay coils, to avoid stress during the firing.  The clay is low fire, so will this be necessary in either firing?


If it were my project, I'd just fire it, and deal with any issues that might arise, but as it's a student's project, and they put a lot of time into it, I don't want anything to happen to it.


Thanks for the help folks.