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JLowes

Member Since 01 Jun 2010
Offline Last Active Dec 15 2014 08:31 PM
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Posts I've Made

In Topic: Why Porcelain?

15 December 2014 - 08:31 PM

I take a Summer course in alternative firing and really like Coleman Porcelain for work that will be soda fired.  You do have to cover it up as I find it grays out and looks dull without something on it.  There is a local group studio near Atlanta that fires Coleman Porcelain to Cone 6, electric and gas.  I never used the Coleman Porcelain for that cone, but I didn't hear any complaints when I asked about it at Cone 6.  I preferred Standard 365 for Cone 6, so that was my go to.

 

I do insist on porcelain with grolleg rather than the US domestic porcelain. I feel that it has a translucent, luminous, quality that domestic porcelain lacks, even at Cone 6. I have recently purchased a couple of bags of porcelain that has a New Zealand clay in it that is supposed to yield translucency at Cone 5/6, but I have not made anything with it to fire yet.  It came clear across the US from Washington State to Georgia, so it may not be a regular in my studio, although USPS fixed rate packaging kept the cost down (although the clay and boxes had been through a lot it appeared.

 

I did steer clear of porcelain for quite a time before I tried it, hearing and thinking it was difficult.  Once I tried it, I did not find it so, but by then I had increased my throwing skills.

 

John


In Topic: What Are Your Favorite Animals?

12 December 2014 - 01:45 PM

Alligators, bears, cats, dogs, elephants, ferrets, giraffes, hippopotamuses, iguanas, jaguars (cat not car; okay love the car too), kangaroos, lions, monkeys, newts (the amphibian, not the former Speaker of the House), opossums, pigs, quolls (love the spots), racoons, silverback (gorilla), tree frogs, vultures, walruses,   yaks, zebras.  A to Z (except X, what the heck animal starts with an X?)) I love them.  I started making animals with the image to the left, my avatar, my Yellow Labrador Retriever Lucy, and have branched out over time.  Most are raku fired and tend toward the whimsical rather than literal. They represent about 75% or more of what I sell.  A good number of these are represented in images in my Community gallery:

 

http://community.cer...er/2045-jlowes/

 

John


In Topic: Making Small Handles

08 December 2014 - 02:57 PM

I'm with Babs, roll an appropriate size coil with a taper.  Cut to length, flatten it a little, add some texture, and attach. 

 

 

John


In Topic: Reconstitute?

08 December 2014 - 02:34 PM

I was researching the brand to suggest contacting the manufacturer to see if some of these older products that may have contained lead prior to the industry shift away from that material.  The one place I found a reference indicated it has morphed into Mayco.  Who knows if that is true and if they could tell you if there are any "bad" materials in the underglazes. 

 

I also found that Pumpkin Yellow #123 is very popular for sale on EBay.  It appears that the Ebay store "ceramic-treasures" has corraled the last five bottles of the stuff and will let them go for $1.00 each :-)  They also market bisque from molds.  Maybe they can help you.

 

If you want to give the dried up underglazes a go, I have found that adding water to dried up material, letting it sit a day or two so it gets well saturated and then shaking the heck out of it has worked for me.  Sometimes you have to pour it out and mash it around to get stubborn dried bits incorprated.  I was gifted several bottles of dried underglazes and glazes that an arts center was going to throw out in the trash and all came back to usable.  If they get too wet, leave to top off and they will thicken up.  If you let them get thicker, there are techniques that use a higher viscosity to print with, or silk screen with.

 

If you decide you don't want to take a chance on unknown, you could fire them in a bisque bowl and dispose of the inert solid.

 

Next year I am going to have the opportunity to clean up as I move from my present home to my home on the lake to retire.  I have a whole basement to spread out into.  Maybe I will be able to find some of my hidden treasures again.

 

John


In Topic: How Do You Develop You Own Aesthetic?

03 December 2014 - 04:06 PM

Frequently other people notice your aesthetic before you do.  My potter friends say they can pick my pots out of a grouping with ease.  We all have techniques we like, or have mastered, and how we process even a new idea will have tell tales from your skills that translate as your aesthetic to others.  I also like to try on forms that I may see in a pottery magazine, or at a display, to see how it may work for me.  I have found that I like making animal figures and curvy, spirallly designs, with lots of surface texture, or worn looking surfaces. These traits show up when I try out the observed forms.  So my aesthetic has emerged from my ability to make a form, and from application of my favorite design characteristics.  I would love to reach deep and find some ground-breaking aesthetic, but that seems pretty unlikely.  I am happy with that, so don't wait to see my name in the trades for the next great thing in ceramic arts.

 

As Chris said, if you are new keep expanding.  For the first seven years I wanted to try everything pottery related I could get my hands on.  I have settled in with a combination of wheel, hand-build and extruder produced forms. Half of my sales are figurative raku fired pieces, and the other half generally are explorative pieces that may, or may not be functional, but I make for the challenge or design concept.  I started with wheel throwing, then added hand-building as altering the round came into play, then did hand-building as a main method with wheel thrown additions, then I got an extruder and have adapted my main body of work to extruded forms.  Along the way I have electric fired, gas fired, raku fired, soda fired, wood fired, and hope to pit fire and barrel fire before long.

 

Around 3-4 years in I started selling work at the arts center annual sale and the quarterly shows they put on, then at year 5,  I started selling at art events around the Atlanta GA area.  Now I show about six times a year at various art events.  This year is my 10th year from first touching clay.  Like Mea, I have used my construction management job to build my equipment inventory and  to build skills and test the sales waters.  Next year I retire from construction and will amp up the pottery biz to see if it can do more than be self supporting. I sure hope the aesthetics will support the endeavor.

 

John