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Member Since 08 Apr 2010
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 09:40 PM

#113813 Multiple Clay Explosions In Bisque

Posted by GEP on 26 September 2016 - 12:29 PM

Small kilns like that can heat up really fast! Yes you are ramping up too fast.

I started out with a small kiln with manual switches, low, medium, and high. For bisque firings, I would fire on low for 3 hours, followed by medium for 3 hours, then high.

#113806 New Business Promotion

Posted by GEP on 26 September 2016 - 11:13 AM

I don't do online selling either, just once in a while, so I can't offer any personal experience.

However, I've been subscribing to this newsletter called "What's in Store" from MailChimp this year, which I highly recommend to anyone who is starting an online store. Basicially, MailChimp asked one of their employees, who had zero experience building/managing an online store, to launch MailChimp's store and write about the experience. There's a lot of honest and useful advice provided. I've been meaning to post this on the forum for a while, and this thread seems like the perfect opportunity.


There are over 20 newsletters by now, but they are very short and easy to digest. I would scroll down and start at the beginning.

(One tidbit for those who don't feel like reading everything: lifestyle photos outsell product-only photos.)

#113466 Causes For Cracks

Posted by GEP on 20 September 2016 - 10:17 AM

Before trimming, take a needle tool and measure the thickness of your bowl before trimming it. Measure it right in the center of the bottom, and in the area where you plan to establish a foot ring. Just knowing this in advance gives you a much better chance of getting even thickness when trimming. Don't worry, the act of trimming will seal up the needle holes. I have been throwing for 20+ years, and am now a full time professional, and I still do this when trimming large bowls.

#113282 Mason Stains - Greys?

Posted by GEP on 16 September 2016 - 10:10 AM

For me, 6600 tends towards green when used in tiny amounts. I don't get a brown at all. This is in a glaze that is opacified with Talc and Neph Sy, and maybe the calcium in the Wollastonite.

When used with Titanium it's even more green and towards olive green. When used with Tin it makes a very neutral gray, maybe a tiny hint of blue, and once in a while a tiny hint of pink (Chrome and Tin sometimes makes pink.)

#113278 Mason Stains - Greys?

Posted by GEP on 16 September 2016 - 09:50 AM

Are you starting with a base glaze that is already white? What makes the glaze white? That element might be affecting the stains result.

If your result it too dark, try using less. My gray glaze uses a teeny amount, 0.7% stain.

#113199 I Made An App For Managing Glazes That Some Of You Might Be Interested In.

Posted by GEP on 15 September 2016 - 08:49 AM

Darn, but I understand. Still it looks like you've done a great job. I really like the idea that it will calculate the largest batch you can make when you are low on one ingredient. And that it will calculate the cost of a bucket. Good stuff!

#112936 Adding A 2Nd Medium To Booth

Posted by GEP on 12 September 2016 - 12:09 PM

Stephen, my issue with AFI has nothing to do with personalities there. I joined that site when it was very young, hopeful about its good intentions. However, I quickly learned that the site had a major flaw, which many smart artists figured out too. It is crazy and dumb to talk about shows online where it can be read by anyone. It hurts you either way. If you complain about a show, you can be retaliated against. If you praise a show, that show will be flooded by new applications. I had both things happen to me at the same time. I wrote a mostly praising comment about a show, but criticized one person on the staff. The following year I was waitlisted then stuck in a bad spot. Coincidence? Meanwhile, others were also praising the show (it does have a great buying crowd) and now this show (which is local for me) has gained a national level reputation and very difficult to get in. KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT ONLINE is my current motto. The last time I visited AFI (admittedly it's been a while) all of the talk was about shows I had never heard of, by artists who are newcomers. Plus people trying to sell off their show gear. Not much high-level advice to be found there.

The best way to learn about shows is to make friends with other artists that you meet at shows. We talk about shows a lot, but we do it in person and privately.

#112783 Qotw: What Form Do You Most Enjoy Creating, Whether Thrown Or Handbuilt, And...

Posted by GEP on 08 September 2016 - 11:00 AM

Anything with a lid. Jars, canisters, casseroles. I like the idea of creating a protected space inside, like putting a roof on a house.

#112724 Adding A 2Nd Medium To Booth

Posted by GEP on 07 September 2016 - 10:26 AM

Just my opinion, I wouldn't try to put two mediums in one booth. There just isn't enough room. It will be confusing to the customers, and it sends a bad message. You will impress a lot more people with a "there's only one thing I love to do" message than a "I like to dabble in different things" message.

The only way I can see it working is if the two bodies of work belong to two different people, i.e. the pottery is hers and the woodworking is yours. The display needs to present that very clearly. Pottery By Her and Woodworking By Him. Married couples are the only duos who can get away with sharing a booth with two bodies of work. When anybody else does it, it says "I can't afford my own booth." When married couples do it, it says "we like to spend time together."

#112712 Help Writing Magazine Article

Posted by GEP on 07 September 2016 - 09:23 AM

I agree with nerd, the best person to write about it is you, and you should get credit for it too.

I would be glad to read your finished article before you submit it, just to let you know how it reads from the perspective of a ceramics person. There are probably others here who will do the same for you.

#112386 Qotw: What Single Caveat Was Passed To You Or Would You Pass On To A Newbie?

Posted by GEP on 01 September 2016 - 11:31 AM

When I first started taking pottery classes, the teachers in that studio preached "don't get emotionally attached to your pots." They were trying to convey the amount of failure that students should expect. I never bought into this. When I became a teacher, I met students who had been taught the same thing, and I said "No, you should care. It should hurt when something fails. It doesn't kill you. It makes you learn and it makes you better. It makes the successes even more meaningful."

#111757 Element Fail / Question About Shutoff Temp

Posted by GEP on 21 August 2016 - 11:40 AM

I think one of my top zone elements just failed. My elements were approaching their life span, and there was one spot on my second-to-top element that looked more worn than everything else.


This morning I found my kiln was still firing after 12 hours, when it usually takes 9. The top zone was way behind, and the ramp was climbing at roughly 30°/hour. Normal program is 120°/hour for the final segment.


I looked at a cone chart, and the closest the data I could find for my situation was:


cone 5 at 27°/hour is 2118

cone 5 at 108°/hour is 2167


This is pretty close to the ramp I was getting vs the one I'm used to. The difference between then is 49°.


My final temp was supposed to be 2180°. So I subtracted 50 and shut the kiln off at 2130°.



Does anyone have any sense that I did the right thing? If not, it's ok, I'll find out tomorrow morning when I open the kiln. If the top shelf or two is underfired, while the rest of it is ok, I'll consider that a victory.

#111665 Can I Get Away Without A Test Kiln?

Posted by GEP on 19 August 2016 - 11:35 AM


 If you want to sell them even faster, attach a little bird on the rim... 

Haha, so true!



Uh, but please everyone, don't fall into the "Put a Bird on It" meme from Portlandia. Just do a google search for "put a bird on it portlandia" and prepare to cringe (while laughing).


I put birds on some of my pots, but I am careful not to be twee about it. 

#111523 Qotw: Are You Showing Us The Best Piece You Made When Starting With Pottery?

Posted by GEP on 17 August 2016 - 09:06 AM

First pot I ever threw, in a community center class in 1994. Now it lives in my studio holding the stretch loops I use when packing/shipping.

Attached File  image.jpeg   101.28KB   5 downloads

Edit to add one more photo. Although I think my first attempt at throwing is not too shabby, my first attempt at trimming is really embarassing. And yes the pot was accidentally busted at one point, and lovingly glued back together.

Attached File  image.jpeg   104.88KB   4 downloads

#111282 Supplies To Buy When Buying A First Wheel?

Posted by GEP on 12 August 2016 - 01:49 PM

Lots of needle tool users here. What do people use that thing for? All I ever did with it was add blood to my pots. Not to hijack as it is useful for Nerd to know as well, just curious what good is that darn needle finger poking tool.

For measuring the thickness of the pot's floor. And for leveling off a rim.