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Member Since 28 Jun 2010
Online Last Active Today, 07:22 PM

#88433 Quality Of Work Sold?

Posted by bciskepottery on Yesterday, 09:38 PM

Just a couple random thoughts . . . a few years back I was looking through the pottery at a Sugar Loaf event (juried entries/high cost booth fees). Was surprised at how many pieces had bits of kiln wash stuck to the pot feet. Talk about detracting from the wares. Just no excuse for that lack of workmanship.

Sometimes, I think we potters are even more critical of flaws than the general buying public. Mostly, that is a good thing. I've tossed many pots my wife thought were okay to sell. I keep reminding her, it is my name on the bottom, not yours. I am not comfortable selling crazed wares, especially if it is intended for food use.

This summer, while visiting New Mexico, stopped by the Taos Pottery to find something to take home with me. After much looking, I found a teapot that begged to be taken home. The potter had several available and it was a tough choice. While wrapping up the teapot, the potter working the gallery asked why I had picked that particular teapot. I told her it had a glaze flaw that made it unique. A potter's teapot.

And a quote from Picasso -- Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist. At times I think we have too many potters working that backwards; they want to break the rules before the learn them.

#88426 Looking For Honey Colored Slipware Galze Cone 6

Posted by bciskepottery on Yesterday, 08:48 PM


thank you, for this glaze I add 3% red iron oxide and 0.5% manganese dioxide with some red clay body and it gives a lovely deep honey colour. Give it a try on a small batch and see what you think, happy experimenting :-)




So, is that for 100 grams, 1000 grams, 4000 grams or 8000 grams of red clay body?  Experiment, indeed. 

#88385 Large Flat Pieces Cracking During Glaze Firing

Posted by bciskepottery on Yesterday, 10:19 AM

I would likely go with adhering post firing; that way, if one layer does crack, you can choose to either use it or discard it.  And, until you get the cracking figured out, I'd play it safe . . . especially since the layers are all flat.  Stacking in the glaze firing will add  weight and bulk to the items and that can affect cooling. 

#88379 Large Flat Pieces Cracking During Glaze Firing

Posted by bciskepottery on Yesterday, 09:39 AM

It is not the kiln. These are stress fractures -- could be the result of uneven heating/cooling or the forms getting snagged on an uneven kiln shelf surface during expansion/contraction during firing. They can also result from construction of the ware.

Getting them up off the kiln shelf -- using sand, grog, cookies, coils, slats, etc. -- is a good step. That will give the form a floating surface for the expansion/contraction that occurs during firing and more even cooling. Should this happen again, notice if the cracks are starting from the edge closest to the elements or to the center of the shelf. When you have a firing issue like cracks, take a second and photograph the shelf before unloading so you can figure out what happened. How densely is the kiln loaded? Are the shelves close to each other or do you have some spacing for air circulation -- the shelf above will also heat the items below. And, are there rough spots on your kiln shelves where a flat item could get snagged as it expands/contracts during firing?

And, as Benzine suggested, work on reducing/smoothening sharp notches . . . a place where most cracks start because folks tend to overlap their cuts and the deep part of the notch is not a strong. A good method is to use a needle tool or nail to make a hold at the point where the cuts join, then use your fettling knife or x-acto knife to cut to the hole. The round of the hole will make that a stronger notch.

#88161 Qotw: Would You Fire Your (Smaller) Work In A Trash Bin Kiln?

Posted by bciskepottery on 02 July 2015 - 12:06 PM

Link to photos of kiln building:


Link to his website:


#87963 Changes In Glaze And Clay Over The Last 30 Years

Posted by bciskepottery on 29 June 2015 - 05:15 AM

Here are links to technical info from two sites, Baltimore Clayworks and Highwater Clays, that discuss some of the recent changes . . . Other sites may have similar info.





#87949 Recipes From Britt's Mid Range Glazes In .xml Format.

Posted by bciskepottery on 28 June 2015 - 08:36 PM

Sounds like a terrific summer job opportunity for a neighborhood junior or senior high school student. "Look, Mom. He's paying me to work on the computer!"

#87541 Pug Mills :)

Posted by bciskepottery on 20 June 2015 - 06:33 PM

Probably a couple ways to look at this for your situation.

If you are only thinking of only recovering clay, then you would need to recover an equivalent of about 174 boxes (50 lbs each) to hit break even. That is assuming you buy at a bulk rate of about 30 cents per pound for mid-range stoneware. To recoup $2,615, you'd need to recover about 8,700 lbs of clay. In that sense, clay is cheap and that is a lot of reclaim. Add to that your cost of labor for time spent reclaiming.

For your work (high volume production), where it might become more interesting is the potential of using the pug as an extruder -- notice the special deal for the tile extruder die. If you can reclaim and pug to a form that does not require re-rolling on the slab roller, you are saving labor and possibly increasing productivity. Not sure how many $$$ of product you aim to get from a box of clay; but look at the 174 boxes of reclaim clay not as clay, but as items made. Let's say your goal is $500 of gross sales from a box of clay; recovering 174 boxes equates to about $87,000 in sales -- sales you are missing now because it is potential scrap being tossed. Against the sale potential, the investment looks rather affordable -- especially if your are doing production volumes. In that sense, the addition of a pug to not only recover clay but also produce product can make this more interesting to your operations. And, if you make lots of flatware, you could have custom dies made to suit your product line, thereby growing productivity.

Disclaimer -- I was really bad in economics. So, I apologize for any faults in logic.

#87526 Insuring Equipment?

Posted by bciskepottery on 20 June 2015 - 03:18 PM

First, check with your homeowners insurance company to see what your coverage encompasses.  However, and there is always the however, if your kiln, wheel, equipment, inventory is for your business, your homeowners insurance may not cover it.  I have a separate business owners policy that covers my pottery studio equipment and materials and inventory (as well as coverage for fairs, events).  Same company as my homeowners.  $325 year.  Covers replacement of studio equipment and inventory (less deductible).  Insurance policy is deductible as a business expense. 

#87344 Writing With Mayco's Designer Liner Over Glaze?

Posted by bciskepottery on 17 June 2015 - 09:42 PM


Probably all you'll want to know . . .

#87190 Question: Mixing Porcelain And Stoneware For Slip Casting

Posted by bciskepottery on 15 June 2015 - 11:29 AM

Cassius has a tendency to bloat when fired over cone 5. Outgassing can also be hard on the elements.

A friend slaked Cassius down to a slip and applied it on stoneware and fired it to Cone 10 (natural gas/reduction) with no issues. Going with a dark clay as a slip is a good alternative; plus you get more choices on colorful line glazes on a white interior than with black clay.

#87056 Engaging Children - Special Pricing

Posted by bciskepottery on 13 June 2015 - 05:55 AM

Here is an update from Carter . . . the photos of kids with their mugs are priceless.


#86951 Qotw: How Important Is Membership To Ceramic Associations To You?

Posted by bciskepottery on 11 June 2015 - 02:32 PM

One reason I sell online is that I sell specialized ceramic. I am a vegan and I want to fuel that market with my ware. It is a growing market and I really love being able to give vegans something that they can enjoy and share with friends.

I'd look for events that cater to vegans and vegan lifestyles. In the spring, I do a number of garden and flower shows because I make ikebana and other vases. Those events have the audience I am trying to reach (and, most times, I will be the only potter there selling wares . . . can't ask for a better set up.)

#86950 Qotw: How Important Is Membership To Ceramic Associations To You?

Posted by bciskepottery on 11 June 2015 - 02:27 PM

Do we have a section here in the forum or CAD where we can find up coming shows?

Various magazines, such as Ceramics Monthly, Pottery Making Illustrated, Clay Times, Studio Potter, all have listings of upcoming shows that a person can apply to. You can also try the on-line services mentioned above. Some are also listed in the events forum on this site.

Hard part is differentiating between juried shows/competitions for exhibition of an item vs. juried fairs for selling.

#86913 Tools And Studio Design

Posted by bciskepottery on 10 June 2015 - 06:09 PM

Attached File  bucket.png   221.55KB   0 downloads

I use one of these in a 5 gallon bucket. Available at Home Depot, Lowes, Sears, etc.