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Mudslinger Ceramics

Member Since 16 Apr 2010
Offline Last Active Mar 31 2015 02:14 AM

#78071 21 Century Customer... Perpetual Replacement Of Pottery

Posted by Mudslinger Ceramics on 26 March 2015 - 07:13 PM

Mmmmmm...... with my production work I do replace either free or 50% or something I organise because I can make enough in volume over time to offset the loss but the gallery works are one-off pieces and they can sell that child to pay me if needs be.....!



#77921 I'll Never Be A Real Potter.

Posted by Mudslinger Ceramics on 23 March 2015 - 09:16 PM

Good post to read, congratulations flowerdry!


I too thought I couldn't be a 'real' potter unless I followed the 4 Heads of Ceramics lecturers in my studies in their male dominated, Bernard Leach, dust covered, rock crushing, gas, wood, bricks and mud hauling, Song dynasty emphasis on 'real' ceramics  (almost felt I should've glued on a beard too)  .....and in consquence I have several books on glaze chemistry, a small glaze lab, SO MANY half used bags and bottles of materials, years of nerve wracking frustration over glaze failures etc ........to finally have come to your conclusion a few years ago......  Duh!!   Have finally settled on a wide firing clear with a few mods for my production work and the beautiful colours, textures and surfaces of unglazed clay in my gallery work. 


Now, to be fair, I'm certainly NOT sorry to have had that grounding in ceramics from my years of study, my mad urge for experiementation in those early years was well satisfied!..... but I do wish the spectre of tough bloke-y, make from raw, gas/wood, guts and sweat C10-C13 Chinese ideal of 'real' ceramics will continue to fade as time goes on. Don't get me wrong, ash glazes can be beautiful but so too can polished porcelain or lush e/w glazes... there's enough room in ceramics for a lot of love.


Glad you worked things out flowerdry, you sound 'real' to me.



#77916 Any Experince Teaching Those With Special Needs ?

Posted by Mudslinger Ceramics on 23 March 2015 - 08:09 PM

Taught art at a Salvation Army centre for 6 years and to other community art projects for another 5 to special needs adult groups.....the best and the worst of people in one room at any one time!!....but overall it was a great time! I do love that work.


The 'trick' was to match the activity with the 'issue'....over 55s usually had problems with vision, hands and mobility so we decided on simple card making for family and friends, for unemployed people with $$$ issues we focussed on 'recycled' art making, for disability children we painted flowerpots and tiles, etc. The 'trick' also was to remember that I was not training them to be 'potters' in our limited time but to have an enjoyable clay experience that would bring a smile of delight.


With the actual pottery projects we made things easier for ourselves and the clients,as best we could, by choosing projects that didn't require a second firing if possible.........to prepare for making, load and unload a bisque fire, prepare to decorate and load and unload a glaze fire for 10-25 people is a lot of out-of-class-time technical work in one week.....so unless we got people who specifically wanted a cup, bowl, or plate to eat from then we made things that could be painted with acrylics and sealed with a waterproofing enamel spray.......easier for us....immediate gratification for the client!!  (Did use self hardening clay at times too)


Specifically for children, they mostly want to model things anyway so we concentrated on making characters for their favourite stories, garden creatures and plantings signs, plaques for bedroom doors, pencil pots.....   Painting with acrylics was already 'understood' by them in their school life so the 'dangers' of eating underglaze, and getting them to understand that, was avoided.......and they could take their treasures home with them straight away.


Whatever you decide to do remember to make it easier on yourself.....week in, week out of high needs clients can take it out of you no matter how great they are....and if you're taking on the whole camp......??? then you really need to make things easier. Good luck, is a great project!



#77331 What Do You Get Out Of This Forum Interaction?

Posted by Mudslinger Ceramics on 14 March 2015 - 06:35 AM

'Invite every potter you know to drop in and lurk......then hopefully one day they will start to post...' -Chris


'I feel that facebook groups are more about auto-promotion and I don't see what the point is. This forum is more reliable, people are not here to sell their products to the others, but to share their knowledge.  I respect and appreciate that kind of philosophy.' -Judith B.


My experience of joining.... and rationale for staying.... exactly!!


#76240 My Angelbun's Urn

Posted by Mudslinger Ceramics on 26 February 2015 - 07:32 PM

Timely post!! .....good suggestions.


My beautiful and very gentle spirited male fox terrier 'Ärgie left the world yesterday and I'm tearing up constantly. Have asked for his ashes to be returned to me for keeping until his daughter 'Nina' follows him in a few years time so have been thinking last night how to best make a 2 chambered vessel that will suit now and for later. Have never made for anything like this before and don't yet know how big it should be so am taking notes from the posts here.



#72314 Critique - Worst You've Heard

Posted by Mudslinger Ceramics on 23 December 2014 - 02:02 AM

Hi Paul


Am quite competitive but I didn't expect great marks, I liked my concept alot but I knew with such a diverse group in the class across so many disciplines that the assessments would be somewhat subjective, that bit was ok. We did have a 1 hour discussion session with the lecturer near the beginning while we outlined and explained our projects. She did say she didn't 'get' ceramics so I expected she wouldn't love my plate but I did think we were on the same page about the whole concept. So the comment in the review about the plate not suiting the Asian market was so left field!


What shocked the class was that the sustainable design taught by some genuinely remarkable designers and acedemics for 3 years did not match the concept of 'design' expected at assessment.  Had 'Etsy' design (for want of a better word) been what was wanted from us then we would have obviously approached the final projects quite differently.


Love study wont put me off, just a bit wary



#71325 Re-Firing Commercial Porcelain

Posted by Mudslinger Ceramics on 06 December 2014 - 05:17 AM

Hello Dave


Welcome to the forums. 


I have fired decals onto commercial pottery and most results were good but you do need to know if the piece is earthenware, stoneware/porcelain or bonechina as the glaze chemistry for these categories of pottery are different and may change the colour of the design on the plate or the decal as the glaze softens and starts to activate again. All metal accents on a piece will permanently tarnish or burn out completely because the layer of metal is so thin, ditto with lustre colours and  porcelain painting because these colour films are also very thin.....


....having said all that, decals are great fun and will fire onto most china most of the time with very little trouble because the firing temperature of the decal is much lower than the glazes on the piece.


I am Australian so I think metric.... my firing schedule is...60C/hr to 150C to thoroughly dry the decal, 120C/hr to 570C hold 10mins, 120C/hr to 810C hold 10mins, off.


Would also suggest doing a test piece first.  Good luck and show us the results.



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#69449 Lowfire Glaze Depression.

Posted by Mudslinger Ceramics on 06 November 2014 - 07:31 PM

Look at British potter Kate Malone's early work.....all about striking form, all about unashamed colour, all about multiple glaze layering of commercial glazes...many a straight clear e/w commercial modified by herself with colour and/or texture ingredients in the one glaze bucket .................her Masters degree was spent on a massive commercial glaze testing regime....and there is nothing ''meh'' about it and what lowfire can do




 OR...if it has to be the high fire look, do the real deal...bisque at home and share a high fire gas or wood kiln with others


Take time to show us your experiments!


#68750 How Quickly Do You Get Rid Of Failures?

Posted by Mudslinger Ceramics on 27 October 2014 - 05:53 PM

The really horrible ones get binned quickly but the others hang around a while until I finally am willing to get rid of them, or decide on a refire or post-fire treatment......


Had a big clean out of a storage shed recently and found pieces from the last 12 years of my pottery making.....had smiles and cringes as I looked over my making history......many at bisque stage where I wasn't sure how to finish them, some glazed at Cone 10 reduction in soft muted colours- which in my current C6 electric phase almost don't look like my work anymore......and a whole bunch of newbie rejects I couldn't part with at the time....have binned some but letting the others sit around the studio for a while as they have sparked my renewed curiosity in their form or glaze. 

(also shocked and delighted I found 300g cobalt oxide! that I paid an arm and leg for and 'lost' during a house move)


With some work I photograph it to remember form or glaze before smashing incase I later regret not keeping it for some reason.


ayjay...you're on the right track, have a look at FB page  'Art Abandonment'   there is a US and a UK chapter of this group.....if I can erase my name off the bottom of my so-so pots I think I'll start one of these in Australia



#68399 Well Said

Posted by Mudslinger Ceramics on 22 October 2014 - 06:46 PM

Come back to this thread and am quite surprised by the level of cynicism to the quote.  


Everyday in the 'Studio' and 'Technical' threads there are potters experiencing 'hundreds of hours of failures and experimentation' who don't give up 'after days, weeks and months of frustration and the moments of pure joy' that final success brings, we help them, cheer them on and celebrate them.... otherwise why would we persist in further developments and problem solving


'Business' thread is full of congratulatory posts when a potter takes a chance at selling their hard won and beloved works.....often after long considerations of 'am I good enough?', 'will people like them enough to buy?' and 'is my display good?'.....if there were no heart and a bit of 'soul' in them, and us as their fellow potters, we wouldn't care


...and if there was no buying of the pots we are so passionate about making then what's the point of being in this business (or hobby)....there are MUCH easier ways of making money


I don't understand the cynicism when just reading through almost any thread on this Forum supports the sentiments expressed in the quote.



Phil, you dropped a bomb, but what's your rationale? 


Chris, your commitment to excellence completely flies in the face of 'cute' .........and experience teaches there's certainly nothing 'quaint' about a week long anagama firing.....


My experience echos GEP in that a bit of the handmade story does make a difference to the buyer.....if not directly with a product sale at the time then with a statement like 'Oh, wow, I didn't realise what it takes to make one of these'..........which is so much a part of the handmade vs store bought conversation


Agree, I wouldn't advertise or display such a sign in my workplaces.....it's inappropriate in a 'business' context, but looking at potters websites, profiles, gallery photos and Forum posts the sentiments expressed certainly seem to be the foundational rationale of why we commit to something as complex as pottery making.



#67868 Well Said

Posted by Mudslinger Ceramics on 15 October 2014 - 09:04 PM

A good part of the 'why is handmade better' question asked so often in our profession......



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#67534 What Do You Do To Energise Yourself In The Studio?

Posted by Mudslinger Ceramics on 09 October 2014 - 08:31 PM

A strong coffee and dance music....LOUD....can't throw then at all, but gees the clean up sure gets done at the end of the day!



#66534 Dry Glaze

Posted by Mudslinger Ceramics on 23 September 2014 - 08:19 PM


Thank you for the link. Beautiful work. I wonder how she creates the coral reef texture.





Hi Evelyne


Yes her work is genuinely beautiful and very, very 'touchable'.....the indentations for her original work were done by throwing a cylinder, pushing out the 'belly' of the pot from the inside while standing up to reach one hand into the pot for structural support (some of the pots are quite large!)

....then slowly revolving the wheel by hand while using a finger to push hundreds of dents outwards from the inside the pot starting at the bottom and working her way up the pot walls, the current work I have not seen made but looks pinched from the outside with fingers while supporting the wall structure inside with the other hand


We all tried to emulate her work while at university but it is patient work and much harder to do than it looks!!



#65972 Have You Ever Done A Crazy Experiment Just To See What Happens?

Posted by Mudslinger Ceramics on 10 September 2014 - 08:23 PM

Oh YES!!!....drove my instructors, kiln technicians and fellow students mad at college firing all sorts of things in the kilns to 'see what happens'.......


......steel at 1280C liquifies and burns through the kiln shelves destroying everything in its path


......hay/papers/woods/leaves/seaweeds etc smoke out the kiln sheds and encourage the college neighbours to phone the fire brigade


......tin/chrome formulas made whole kiln loads turn out puce-y red affecting everyone elses work as well....not popular


......the leftover slops glaze that ran and glued everyone's work to the kiln shelf


......the crackle glaze applied over a glassy parian clay body that ripped all the work apart in cooling


....etc, etc, etc.....I spent my whole undergrad experimenting rather than producing a coherent body of work, I wanted to know what 'everything' did knowing I would not have such a fully resourced ceramics studio and college library again when I graduated so wanted to learn as much as possible,..... still experiment but far more carefully now!



#65579 Is Is Possible To Calcine Your Own Kaolin?

Posted by Mudslinger Ceramics on 03 September 2014 - 09:36 PM

Here I am eating my biscuit sorry, cookie, should that be bakie, and wondring why one would want calcined kaolin?


........because it makes an excellent facial cleansing mask!!