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Member Since 28 Jan 2013
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 01:12 PM

#117484 Am I Screwed?

Posted by Stephen on 29 November 2016 - 11:55 AM

Hey guys, all is well. Glaze stayed put with no runs, fired deep red as expected without any glaze flaws developing. I'm a happy potter as I've got three back to back Xmas shows starting Saturday and could ill afford to lose a load.


The cones by the way fired deadon 6 with the 7 slightly bent so the 47 minute hold at cone 5 registered a tad over a full cone of heat work. That surprises me as I expected to see the 7 at least half bent if not all the way which would have left me wondering if it approached 8. 


When I compare this firing to a cone 5 with 20 minute hold and controlled ramp cool down I can see no real difference. So the extra 20 minutes does not really seem to hurt or benifit with this particular glaze and the entire load was firebrick red. I guess I stayed in the parameters and all and all a pretty sturdy glaze.


Thanks for all the input and encouragement everyone, really appreciated and you all made me relax a bit about it and just wait and see b4 getting too bummed.  

#116485 Centering Kiln On Stand

Posted by Stephen on 16 November 2016 - 02:01 PM

Yeah I know :rolleyes: , to my credit though I did tell myself I was being silly and it was fine, just needed you guys to agree with me :-)


Mark  I couldn't agree more. On the 1027 we bought over the summer I popped for the rolling stand and that one is really cool, it has huge iron bars that go all the way out and then bent up to essentially wrap the kiln in it. Makes it rool great but also really provides righteous looking support. After using that one this little stand looks way to small and flimsy to do the job.


Thanks everyone!

#115076 Chawan, Yonomi, Tea Bowl, Tea Cup, Mug.......

Posted by Stephen on 25 October 2016 - 12:40 PM

when the mind makes the switch. As cliche as it is, I know a bowl when I see one.


Yeah ditto on just roll with the parameters whatever they are. That's the way the real world is too. There's always something about why your making a pot that is going to establish some parameters and if you ever do this professionally you will always have either self-imposed or requested boundaries. 

#114434 New-To-Me Refurbished Kiln Overfires. Where To Go From Here?

Posted by Stephen on 08 October 2016 - 12:02 PM

When we need a turn around for a show we occasionally run loosely packed bisque and glaze loads (prob half full or even less sometimes) in both a 7 and 9 cf kiln and have not noticed any problems or cone differences.

#114388 Wedging Clay

Posted by Stephen on 06 October 2016 - 06:54 PM

ditto on the slam, my partner/mentor gives me a side look every time I take a sliced chunk and slam it on the studio floor a few times b4 forming clay balls. We never discussed it and I think she just accepts it as a weird ritual. She wedges :-)

#114312 Wedging Clay

Posted by Stephen on 04 October 2016 - 11:41 PM

To begin with, just use the clay out of the bag. When you develop scrap that you will want to re-use then you MUST wedge it to get the air out.

What I've been doing for production for a few years now and not having any issues. We have a de-airing pug mill though so just use the reclaim out of the sleeve as well. I do lightly wedge and cone up and down several times. But like Bob said just go with what's right for you, once you figure THAT out.


Where I have a good routine your's might be different based on all kinds of things including the clay body and the environment everything is used and stored in.


It is confusing and can be maddening when you are starting out. Change something and often your routine will have to be adjusted.


That's why old potters live in the same house for 50 years using the same wheel, kiln, clay and green glaze they started with in 1976 and go into a tizzy when the owner of their supply house dies of old age, retires or worse yet turns it over to their kids who have been waiting in the wings wanting to change everything for years.


Just remember when it comes to pottery, change is bad! 

#113796 Multiple Clay Explosions In Bisque

Posted by Stephen on 26 September 2016 - 09:21 AM

wow, only had one piece explode in the 7 years I have been doing pottery. My sister in-law had carved a head once that exploded because she didn't hollow it out but that's it and we (two) of us are production so a lot of pottery. We use porcelain and let everything sit for a few days getting bone dry and bisque, no candling but I am on an electronic.


My 2 cents though is If you have not had this problem I wouldn't start fussing with your routine that has stood the test of time, that will drive you crazy and seems like it would be unlikely to be the problem if your stuff is bone dry when you put it in. If you change something external and it makes what's really happening not occur then you are going to doom yourself to some odd routine. There was a poster on here I recall that solved a similar problem by some month long completely unnecessary drying routine and she is now convinced that pottery is THAT fussy. It is fussy but not fussy. I vote for the new sitter being screwed up. Can you take it back? 

#113757 Do You Like....?

Posted by Stephen on 25 September 2016 - 09:43 AM

I am noticing more and more that the loose and fun stuff tends to sell the fastest but without the tight matching stuff sales would really suffer. I work on doing a mix and like both. But I don't have that many forms and do a lot of mugs and tumblers and those are easy to do this way. One of the reasons I love making and selling pottery is that pottery lovers are all drawn to different types of pottery and that makes it so much fun and interesting.


I do keep everything very functional but like LeeU I am trying to leave some handmade look and feel to my work. I don't always do the last rib work to smooth the surface and remove every non functional blemish. I also often leave the trim lines for some surface character under the glaze. I also have found myself less and less throwing to gauge or using profile tools and that makes them a little less structured and more fun. 


I also am really working on establishing a good medium weight. I don't like heavy pottery and I don't like super light (feels machined to me and I think others). My mentor told me when I started throwing that what I was going for was my initial thought when I picked up a pottery piece being no surprise and 'just what I expected'. After a few seconds the brain adjusts and a heavy mug doesn't feel that heavy and a light mug feels heavier BUT when you first pick it up that initial reaction is the sweet spot. Off topic but weight was mentioned by a few :-) 


Anyway make for yourself to your own tastes and there will be plenty of pottery lovers who agree and to the ones that don't, 'hey, they are not your audience' and some other potter will please them. BUT if I didn't like making mugs I still would or I would starve.

#113536 The Only Absolutely True Rule For Potters. Pay Attention To This

Posted by Stephen on 21 September 2016 - 03:12 PM

Whenever I use a tool it is just for that moment only and then when I am done with it I know for a fact I will never ever need that tool again so I just toss it indiscriminately wherever I happen to be standing and move on to something else important, like looking for the last tool I thought I would never ever need again. 

#113446 Equipment/tool Shaming/bullying

Posted by Stephen on 19 September 2016 - 11:21 PM

Well actually I was not referring to anyone putting down others equipment due to age or quality. I changed that first sentence to be a little more clear what i was talking about, sorry I've been in the studio all day and just came up for air. I actually think the opposite is true as we potters are a cheap bunch and brag about saving a buck or getting 50 years out of a kiln :)


I was referring to tools that people use to cut corners such a centering and opening tools and trimming tools like griffin grips. To be clear what I see is usually deadpan comments inferring potters should learn how to do it the 'right' way. Like flowerdry pointed out, some comments may just be teasing. But teasing will still make someone feel bad, especially if they already feel a little less because they need a certain tool.


In retrospect 'bullying' I guess is a little harsh (I can't edit my topic title) but shaming isn't and I was just hoping to get folks to consider that people use these automation tools for various reasons and no one likes to feel their work is somehow less because they either choose to or have to use a specific tool to help them get the job done.

#113389 Equipment/tool Shaming/bullying

Posted by Stephen on 19 September 2016 - 10:17 AM

I would like to address something that is troubling to me. I see threads on this and other forums where potters put down other potters (pros and hobbyist) for using automation type tools.


I really think perfectly nice people are not thinking this through (mean people you can't reason with so this thread will mean nothing to them).  If you find yourself doing this I really think you should ask yourself why you are doing it? Is it to make yourself feel superior or are you purposely trying to make others feel bad about their choices? Do you realize that many chose centering and opening tools because their age and/or health dictate it to be able to continue to enjoy their craft. Splash pans, bats and trimming aids are all choices folks make for many reasons the least of which may be the skill needed to not use them. 


Hamada used coil throwing for even cups, I wonder if he was ridiculed as not knowing how to center and pull. 


Me I just think its awful and hate to see it. I'm a pretty confident guy and really don't give a crap what others think about how I chose to pursue my passion and I will happily and boldly tell someone to their face or in a thread the same BUT I was the one of the bigger guys in school that beat the crap out of bully's when I saw it happen (yeah that makes me feel good about my younger self as a kid) but I think it is shameful when I read it because so many people on this planet are not strong enough or confident enough and when they get put down it really hurts them. Often it hurts them a lot. 


OK off my soap box but this board is a professional board read by many thousands of artist and I hope maybe a few may rethink it before they throw that jab at a fellow human being just trying to enjoy something that is so much fun and will fight the urge to take the shine off their day just to feel smug or worse just to be mean.

#112856 Outdoor Electric Kiln

Posted by Stephen on 10 September 2016 - 02:05 PM

why does it have to be so small? It just doesn't sound right to me, looking forward to hearing the kiln gods advice but a kiln tops 2000 degrees and the inside of that 4' box would be blazing hot. Why not just build a small covered are for it but leave it open and toss a tarp over when not in use or make the whole thing larger. That way you can store glazes and other firing equip in the 'kiln' shed and not have such a project to get ready for firing.

#112779 Adding A 2Nd Medium To Booth

Posted by Stephen on 08 September 2016 - 09:42 AM

All of you who have posted have been doing this long enough and with a level of success I certainly am paying attention to your warnings. Pottery is still the bulk of my work and leaving out the wood pieces should not be a huge issue for larger juried events and it sounds like I should not even run this booth at a large juried events and when I do add wood at some shows I will work hard to keep the booth very focused on kitchen/dining/serving so all the pieces will compliment each other. As pug pointed out, many potters use some of the wood I will be adding but they buy the pieces from pottery supply houses.


A lot of the small shows I do claim to be juried but I rather doubt they are really much more than filtered. They struggle to get the booths full and frustratingly take some of the weekend knitters to fill in but the organizers are always easy to work with and are trying to put on the best event possible. Most do keep out the buy/sell and deliver a modest crowd. I really think at these smaller shows that are now my bread and butter (literally) this combined booth will work well and punch up my numbers as it will be more inclusive. This crowd wanders through the booths and of course includes lots of folks that like and buy pottery BUT the majority poke through for a few minutes and move on. I don't think they are buying pottery from someone else but rather they are not into pottery enough to pop $20 for a mug. The wood pieces I am adding for this type of show will give this non pottery crowd some beautiful options and if I pull it off right not run off my pottery customers since everything is still on point for kitchen/dining/serving.


I know that several of you do a slate of shows that cash flow thousands of dollars a day but I am not doing anything like that, not even remotely close. Better product, better shows and more time will even out my revenue as I hopefully both discover and get accepted to some of these venues, but right now, today, I have to throw everything I have at getting these week in and week out shows providing a meager living. 


I might also add that a lot of these small shows seldom seem to have many potters and I am pretty sure everyone not selling food is ringing up sales in the hundreds each day, not thousands. 


I very much appreciate the input and although I am going to continue with my plan, I am going to modify it to not add anything to the pottery booth that strays from the kitchen/dining/serving theme AND organize my booth to leave out the pure wood additions for the shows that it needs to be pottery only.


I'll keep you guys up to date on my progress and report my findings/

#112763 Adding A 2Nd Medium To Booth

Posted by Stephen on 07 September 2016 - 08:42 PM

Thanks pug!


Yeah it is a hill to climb but making a living in this business is a hill to climb. At the end of the day I think what I make matters and I just need to present my wares to the audience I can get in front of and hope for the best. Ya know in the thousands of years that pottery has had its place nothing has really changed. I put my best foot forward and it works or it doesn't. 

#112325 Pottery Clasifieds

Posted by Stephen on 31 August 2016 - 01:39 PM

Like a lot of potters I have several pieces of equipment from projects I didn't do gathering dust. A bluebird mixer used 3-4 times for a colored clay project that never got legs, axner power arm and plate jiggers used once etc etc.


I am going to post on CL and I know about potters web, does anyone have suggestions for other options? Not willing to dump at whatever price so eBay seems like the wrong approach.