Jump to content


Member Since 28 Jun 2010
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 09:28 PM

#78332 Authenticity, My Own Personal Struggle With What It Means

Posted by bciskepottery on Yesterday, 07:51 PM

"Copy" probably isn't as easy in ceramics, but in fine arts, people copy to learn. I actually didn't know this till later, felt guilty for doing it. Really try to brush stroke for brushstroke copy. It is a method of learning.same way one learns fine penmanship,etc.


My Chinese brush teacher learned from her masters by copying their work . . . day in, day out.  She studied bamboo with one master, choi with another, etc.  And, everyday they gave her copies of their paintings and told her to copy them, then copy them again . . . until they were satisfied she had command of the brush stroke, the loading of colors, etc.  That is how she teaches.  Copying the masters is also done in pottery.  You can't break the rules unless you know what the rules are. 

#78329 Justifying Class Costs (Warning Long)

Posted by bciskepottery on Yesterday, 07:12 PM

I would suspect this is less about the costs of firing the kilns, etc. than it is about the non-profit looking to use the space for activities that could generate more income.  Key indicator is the high turnover of administrators in the past three years -- usually a sign of financial problems.  Your classes are small and pottery studios tend to take up more dedicated space than other activities.  While you may be covering the cost of the class, I doubt the class is covering the center's costs of sponsoring the class, e.g., providing space.  So, all the questions about kilns firing costs, AC costs, etc. are red herrings.  If the Administrator is looking to add/increase classes that generate more money for the center, they will start by cutting those which have a higher overhead cost.  And, for many non-profits, it has become more about metrics -- how many people received services, etc.  Given a choice between a yoga/jazzercise/step aerobics/etc. class with 25 paying students and a pottery class with 4 students, guess which one the Administrator will try to do -- because the non-pottery will show more people receiving services/benefits for the donor's dollars. 


I don't mean for this to be harsh, but unless the non-profit has donors with deep pockets, underwriting a pottery program is going to take more of the center's money/resources than many other activities.  And, from what you described, I think the questions are more a symptom of the financial standing of the center, not your program. 

#78182 Application Of Underglaze To Greenware And Bisque

Posted by bciskepottery on 29 March 2015 - 05:56 PM

Everything else being equal, Yes. 


I generally apply underglaze on greenware and bisque so I have the opportunity to do any touch ups before the glaze firing. 

#78169 Basic Beginner Advice

Posted by bciskepottery on 29 March 2015 - 01:31 PM

Thank you all so much! I'll start by looking for a good book :)


One I've found helpful and bought early on  . . . http://www.amazon.co...g/dp/1438001991


There are others. 

#78161 Basic Beginner Advice

Posted by bciskepottery on 29 March 2015 - 10:28 AM

Different clay bodies mature or become vitrified (water-tight) at different temperatures.  So, if you plan to fire your work to Cone 6 (around 2232 degrees F) and you want it to be used functionally, then you would want a clay body that matures at that temperature.  A clay that matures at a higher temperature will seep water if only fired to Cone 6.  Conversely, firing a low fire clay body, like earthenware or low fire clays, could result in the clay melting or bloating at Cone 6 because the temperature was too high. 


Clays also vary . . . some are smooth, others are coarse.  Which works best for you is a personal decision.  If you are just looking for a block of clay to practice building skills, try either a low-fire earthenware (red or white) or a mid-range stoneware.  Make a cup, recycle the clay to make another, etc. 


Check the yellow pages for clay supplies, clay distributors . . . they exist in Alabama (Alligator Clays, for one).  Some suppliers offer firing services, or they may be able to link you with a pottery guild or group that does or has members who take in work for firing.  Once you get firing lined up, you'll be able to choose a clay body for work and glazes for decorating, etc.  In the mean time, you will have worked on and improved your hand-building skills.  Expect failure . . . I hand-build most of my work and work failing is part of the learning process. 


Check out the library for a basic pottery making book that describes clay bodies, etc.  The more you know about the materials you use (strengths and limits), the better you will be able to make things.  The ceramic arts daily section has a selection of freebies and videos that might be helpful. 

#78156 Basic Beginner Advice

Posted by bciskepottery on 29 March 2015 - 09:26 AM

Knowing where you plan to fire your pottery would be helpful . . . and what firing options are available at that place, e.g., low fire  (generally Cones 06 to 04), medium fire (Cone 6), or high fire (Cone 10).  Firing will tell you what type of clay is appropriate.  Also, what are you looking to make? 


Some recreation centers offer parent/child pottery classes.  Might be worth checking out. 

#77745 Slip On Bone Dry Greenware & Slip On Bisquware

Posted by bciskepottery on 20 March 2015 - 07:14 PM

Attached File  bringleslip.pdf   47.03KB   17 downloads

I've used slips attributed to Cynthia Bringle on both leatherhard and bisque wares; for bisque, thin the slip before applying so it dries better. The base recipe is the same . . . but different folks have different combinations of oxides for colors. I use the NC State recipes. My favorites are the white and golden.

#77616 What Do You Get Out Of This Forum Interaction?

Posted by bciskepottery on 18 March 2015 - 08:27 PM

i will never write a book, i have nobody to leave my studio and equipment, i will not have made an impression on the clay world when i am gone.  maybe something i have said will matter to someone here.  those little "likes" are nice to see.


I still recall our first meeting at the Bluemont Fair . . . that meeting and others after it are among the reasons I've kept at this and, I hope, making better pots. 

#77283 Rims On Slump Or Hump Molds

Posted by bciskepottery on 13 March 2015 - 09:35 AM

For slab work, I use Bill Vangilder's edge tool to make round edges. I usually edge when the wares are medium leatherhard.


#76785 Shortage Because Of The Weather Up North

Posted by bciskepottery on 04 March 2015 - 07:16 PM

This sounds like a wonderful opportunity for an industrious person with a truck and time on his/her hands . . . selling boxes of porcelain, stoneware, and e-ware at your neighborhood corner: Need a fix? I've got just what you're lookin' for.

#76622 Decorating Slip

Posted by bciskepottery on 02 March 2015 - 07:45 PM

Adding oxides or stains to dry clay body and adding water makes a good slip. I also sieve my slips to make sure the oxides/stains are thoroughly mixed. For stains, I usually use a ratio of 10% stain to powdered clay body. For oxides, it will depend on the oxide -- especially the cobalts which are very strong and you only need a small amount.

You'll find a lot of good information at Vince Pitelka's website: http://iweb.tntech.e...ndouts-info.htm

#76527 Please Help, I Don't Know Whats Best To Buy!

Posted by bciskepottery on 01 March 2015 - 06:36 PM

Before buying from a third party, check with the kiln manufacturer or distributor to see if the kiln will work with non-EFCO controllers.

From their website, it looks like either the regulator or controller are your options. The controller would allow you to program a temperature climb of 100 degrees per hour; the regulator would not unless you also had a thermocouple that read the temperature. Controlling the rate of temperature increase makes more sense than controlling the cooling period.

#76520 Please Help, I Don't Know Whats Best To Buy!

Posted by bciskepottery on 01 March 2015 - 04:33 PM

Are you sure you need a nine hour controlled cool? Is that specific to the recipe for faience you are using? Out of curiosity, I checked to see if others had info on cooling and found no references to firing cycles. But I did find a couple links you might find interesting:



#76336 Brent Wheel Chirpping

Posted by bciskepottery on 27 February 2015 - 04:12 PM

Also FIRST!!!!!


OMG!  I've got a posting to moderate . . .  woot, woot.  Congrats on being first!

#76334 Rehydrating Old Glazes

Posted by bciskepottery on 27 February 2015 - 03:56 PM

Think about letting the glazes dry out completely, then crumble (wearing an appropriately rated mask to protect yourself), then add water.  The smaller and dryer the pieces, the easier they will rehydrate.  Finally, sieve before using.