Jump to content


Member Since 06 Apr 2010
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 04:24 PM

#101679 Couple Of Ash Questions

Posted by JBaymore on 08 February 2016 - 09:06 PM

Simply put, the "real" nuka typically only goes on my 'higher end' pieces.  $400 (+ up) Chawan and the like.  The glaze is labor intensive to make (two different ash sources... one washed), and the currently imported nuka-bai (rice husk ash) is a bit expensive.  To produce it in the volume that I'd need for all or the work that I use "nuka" glaze on......... too much work and would impact price points. 


Example.... If I am making stuff like say more "production oriented" dinner plates....... fake nuka is just fine 99% of the time. 


And by the term "fake", really it just means that it is not made in the "traditional way".  Chemically... it is very close to the same (but not exact... since ash glazes are SO complex).  Particle distribution in the batch slurry is the place that the real nuka and the fake nuka part company...... and that DOES have an impact on the way the glaze melts........ and hence some of the "look". 


Molecular formulas AND raw materials sourcing need to be looked at in "glaze chemistry".  Both have potential impacts. 





#101631 What Glaze Would Give The Effect And Is It Food Safe

Posted by JBaymore on 08 February 2016 - 08:43 AM



Hi and welcome to the forums.


Hard to tell exactly from the picture there, but I think that you are looking at unglazed clay surfaces.  Very common in Japanese work.Looks like a very dark clay body and a lighter slip over that in the one area. 


The slip looks like it is done in a common Japanese approach where it is put on thicker, then fired, then partially ground off after firing. (a time consuming and dangerously dusty process.)


As to the "food safe" question....... you are opening a "can-o-worms" discussion there.  Go to the main forum page and search the term "food safe".  You'll find lots of discussion.  The Japanese have no problems with using this type of ware for food.  For your own work... you'll have to decide AFTER doing a lot of research into the question.  No easy answer there.





#101559 What To Do With All My Early Pieces?

Posted by JBaymore on 06 February 2016 - 02:25 PM

Self editing is a very critical component in learning the art.  Self editing before the clay has been fired... and also after it has been fired. 


Considered and productive self editing... in which you articulate to yourself WHY you are about to reclaim this piece or hit that piece with a hammer.





#101452 Harry Davis,potter,engineer

Posted by JBaymore on 05 February 2016 - 12:16 PM


John, is that because you'd have instructions for building your own studio/ studio equipment on said island?





Yes...... even if you have few tools.


And add to that shipwreck list...... "Pioneer Pottery" by Michael Cardew (Not the similar titled "Pioneer Potter"), and the "Potters Dictionary of Materials and Techniques", Hammar and Hammar.


And great follow up scenario you described there.  SO true! ;)





#101241 What Happened To The Guy Who Wanted................

Posted by JBaymore on 02 February 2016 - 01:40 PM

Speaking here as John Baymore... private party... not as formal CAD Moderator........


This issue is why I think forums of all sorts should require REAL NAMES as user names.  No "hiding".






 Anonymity seems to give some people a license to be rude.  That's one of the reasons I use my real name.  If I'd be ashamed for someone to know I said it, I won't say it

#101064 Getting Started As A Potter

Posted by JBaymore on 31 January 2016 - 01:51 PM

First of all, welcome to the forums.


There are TON of existing threads in the various forum sections that relate to the "life of the potter" and what it takes to make it all work.  So you can find a LOT of reading here to help you get a feel for the whole idea.


The route of an apprenticeship will train you to be a studio potter, and a bit also to be a small business-person.  The training will focus on clay processes more heavily than what you would get in the typical under-grad college program.  Some of the business related skills will be transferable to other professions.  As will the serious work ethic you will develop (or fail).  It will give you no particularly useful "paper" credentials should you later decide to not be a professional in the ceramics field.  Depending on WHO you apprentice with, it will establish some "connections" within the ceramics field relating to their connections.


A college degree in ceramics will give you skills as a studio potter (but likely differently focused than the apprenticeship route), a decent general education, some light business skills education, and a formally recognized degree. Should you decide later that you do not want to continue in studio ceramics as a profession, the "piece of paper" is often still useful for other employment (a huge number of people work in professions different that that in which they got their degree).  That degree could also open up the path a graduate degree in another field (even non art related). Depending on where you go to school, it will establish some "connections" within the ceramics field relating to the faculty's and the schools connections.


As to getting the apprenticeship question....... VERY hard to generalize.  The more experience / skills you have... the more opportunities open up to you.  So each step in your life is advancing you in some direction.  An apprenticeship at the most desirable situation possible with Famous Potter?  Likely that is a highly competitive position... and people will be applying with lots of existing credentials and even college degrees.  Apprenticeship with a small local firm..... far more likely.


You'll likely get lots of advice here.  Good luck with the decisions.





#100562 What Is The Difference Between Silica 200 And Silica 325 Mesh?

Posted by JBaymore on 24 January 2016 - 05:47 PM

Mesh size is basically particle size.  325 m is finer sized particles than 200 m. 


While if a reaction is allowed to go to completion in ceramic chemistry, and the glaze does what glass artists call "fine out" (all possible reactions go to completion)....... the particle size of flint would make no difference.  However, the WAY a glaze melts can affect how it looks sometimes.


As a general rule smaller particles of glaze materials start to become involved in the melt earlier than other larger particles (even of the same materials) given the same heatwork.  So technically 325 mesh flint will started to become involved with the surrounding chemistry (particles of fluxes, etc.) earlier than a glaze made with 200 m flint.


So the two side by side glazes... one with 200 and one with 325, for a given firing profile MIGHT looks a slight bit different.  But it likely will be subtle.  Generally speaking the faster the firing up rate profile the more likely you will see differences.


There could be other reasons to use a mixture of particle meshes in specialized cases.  The property in this case is called "packing".  It has to do with how the various materials "fit" together as the wet glaze layer sets up on the work.  It can affect how "tough" the dry (not fired) glaze layer is, and also the way that the melt starts to happen due to the intimacy of contact between particles (and lack of air spaces in the grains).  This stuff is usually the province of industry; most studio potters don't address this issue.


As a "standard", 325 mesh is used in glazes and slips, and 200 mesh is used in clay bodies.


Hope that helps.





#100509 Mishima: Incised Through Wax Resist Or Scraped?

Posted by JBaymore on 24 January 2016 - 08:49 AM

Original technique ..... incise the leatherhard clay.  Fill in the whole general area with clay slip (not underglaze).  Let stiffen.  CUT off (not "scrape) the surface slip leaving the colored clay inlaid in the carving.


I say CUT because the real success of this technique lies in not blurring the inlay.  Scraping (dull tools) blurs it.  Use a very sharp tool to "scrape" the surface. 





#100480 Mason Inclusion/encapsulated Stains Containing Cadmium For A Glaze

Posted by JBaymore on 23 January 2016 - 09:10 PM



According to William Carty (Alfred glaze guru) the encapsulated cadmium stains like the Cerdec one have the cadmium well "tied up".  So that will allow the production of some bright red based colors at just about all firing ranges and atmospheres.  And without significant release.  I am not sure what he thinks the risk to the POTTER is in handling the dry material though.  He did not comment on that.  Just fired product.


The stains are relatively new.  So not much time to do employee occupational health studies on it.  Ask for an MSDS.


Here is an issue to consider. 


The US laws (FDA and State of California) are very specific about the presence of cadmium in ceramic wares.  They do not take into account HOW the cadmium is in the glazes, under-glazes, enamels, slips, and so on.  Just that it is there.   If you are making wares for sale with cadmium compounds in the production, the laws apply.  Which means to be legal, you have to follow the standards.  To follow the standards you HAVE to know the release numbers, and you have to do formal lab testing to know that.  And you need to keep records.


Anything that is used for food or reasonably CAN be used for food is covered.  Otherwise... you need a fired on specific statement..... or a hole in the bottom that prevents it holding any liquid-y stuff.


You are correct that you are seeing bright reds and the like all the time lately... and I am guessing that about 95% of the studio artist people using them are NOT following the laws.  Some because they do not have a clue about the laws, some because they do not know cadmium compounds are in the things they are using, some because they think because it is in an under-glaze or slip it is not regulated, and some because they know and simply don't care.  Some say "governmental over-reach".  Some poo-poo the toxic question altogether.


So if you do it, to be fully legal.... you have to understand the laws and comply.


Will you get "caught" if you don't?   Who knows.  Likely small risk.  But............... (Some day I'll talk about the lead glaze studio potter witch-hunt the FDA went on here in NH about 20 yeas ago.) 


Informed consent. ;)





#100468 How Do You Keep Production Work Interesting

Posted by JBaymore on 23 January 2016 - 06:20 PM

I've been thinking about the core question that forms the title of this thread: "How Do You Keep Production Work Interesting?"


And came to the conclusion that it is a simple answer really.  Produce what interests you.


Flip and simplistic... but I think there is an important "truth" hiding in there.


If you have to MAKE production work interesting....... you are likely trying to shove a square peg in a round hole.





#100403 Cooking Pizza In A Pottery Kiln, Toxicity ?

Posted by JBaymore on 22 January 2016 - 09:12 AM

In regards to toxicity I can't help but see articles about London breaching annual pollution limits in a week or by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish and think even with some dubious practices you are very unlikely to poison yourself anywhere near the daily intake you get already.


We poison ourselves from the ground up.


What's a few toxic metals between friends, who knows, maybe once the antibiotics stop working toxic metals will be ingested for killing bacteria.


Those who care...... maybe look up the toxicological use of the terms "Total Body Burden" and "Synergy" and "Chronic".


It is not that the occasional slice of pizza cooked in the kiln is going to suddenly kill you.  Or make you obviously "sick" at the time.  That is absurd (unless you use spoiled food ingredients  ;) .) 


It is that the practice reflects a poor approach in general to health and safety concerns and that it opens up another totally unnecessary route of entry to tiny micro-doses of occupational toxins to the body. When sharing this with "the community" without acknowledging that fact, it passes on a casual attitude about the reality of any concerns for appropriate health and safety in the studio practices.


It is not about 'sealing ourselves in giant baggies" and avoiding the world.  It is about making informed decisions about which risks we think are reasonable ones to take.  It we are not informed about those possible risks... then we are not making informed decisions.  We are just making decisions.  The CAD forums (and others), and the classroom, and when people visit your studio are all "educational moments".  Pointing out that there are potential risks is simply being a 'good citizen' within the community.


If you KNOW that such practices are potentially hazardous (in the LONG term....not acute), and want to still do that.... fine.  Informed consent.  But a lot of folks would not even think that there might be any risk ... unless they get told about it in some way.


We will all get out of here dead.  How long it is before that happens and how we make the grand exit might be somewhat in our control.  Some might not care.....some might.   





#100139 Qotw: Can You Work Undisturbed In Your Studio?

Posted by JBaymore on 19 January 2016 - 09:51 AM

I'm fortunate in having a large dedicated studio space at my home.  No apprentices anymore ...so the only person that gets in my  way is me.





#100064 Business Advice Aka How Not To Eat Cat Food For Dinner

Posted by JBaymore on 18 January 2016 - 12:52 PM

There are two general categories of ways to make a business in XXXXXXXXXX work (insert whatever art medium you like there for the X-s):


1.)  Make what the market wants and sell it.


2.)  Make what you want to make and find the market for it to sell it to.



#1 above is the more standard business model "tried and true" approach.  If you've done your homework well on establishing that there is a demand, it can work very well (if you have basic business skills).  It is customer focused.  Of the two approaches I mention above... it is the easier to get to work well.  Find a demand, and then fill it.  In some ways.... simple.


#2 above is not typically how more non-art mainstream businesses get started.  (i.e.- I'm not suddenly going to go make widgets for a non-existent car and then try to find a market for them.)  It is a very "niche" driven approach.  It is artist focused.  And it requires serious understanding that there IS a market available, and understanding the size of that market, before you can go that route. 


In both cases, you then have to have the where-with-all to get your product in front of that market.  You have to "market position" the product correctly within that market.  Both require having identified that market well, and an understanding of that market.  Both require basic business skills (i.e. - understanding how to analyze the success of the business, marketing, sales, and so on).  Both require drive and commitment (Entrepreneurs work hard!)  Both require appropriate capitalization to tend to assure the business's survival beyond the first couple of years.


Some people try to "blend" both aspects.  Tony Clennel's "Some and Some"  (some for the easier market and some for the artist's soul).






EDIT:  DirtRoads... I wrote the above while you were writing.  Good stuff. 

#100009 Business Advice Aka How Not To Eat Cat Food For Dinner

Posted by JBaymore on 17 January 2016 - 08:21 PM

Mike has just given a GREAT posting above elaborating on one way to approach making it work in this ceramics field... and is it SPOT ON and detailed.  Nice job there, Mike.  It should be one part of a "required reading" list for people thinking about doing this crazy profession full time.


I think a very important line there in this specific person's case is where you said, "Given your stage in life you may not have 10 years to take the trial and error path. It takes a long time, and its expensive."


Another important one is, " Now, I can't emphasize this enough, this works because you're making pots for the market and not to gratify your own desires as an artist."





#99927 Creating Product Lines / Over Time

Posted by JBaymore on 16 January 2016 - 09:33 PM

I think the hardest thing to think about is John's question. Why will my pots sell over potter XYZ's. I really don't know the answer to those questions at this time.


The act of actually thinking about that causes you to take a long hard critical look at what you make.  And no... it is NOT easy.  When you get done.... you'll have the start of a "marketing plan" also.


Don't go to a "paralysis by analysis" level... but don't go in with unrealistic expectations either.