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Member Since 13 Feb 2013
Offline Last Active Aug 29 2015 11:21 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Painting Underglazes On Bisque With Brushes

10 August 2015 - 07:11 AM

If you're firing to mid-range stoneware and have a nice, stable white glaze that dries to a durable surface (we use Coyote White), do some tests applying underglaze on top of the glaze...faux majolica! Usually works best using the underglaze as a thinner wash, think watercolor style. If it is applied too thick, it will not fully incorporate into the glaze and gloss up during the firing. Thickish applications will remain on top of the glaze and be dry/dull.

In Topic: Group Studio: How To Figure Out Cost Sharing

22 May 2015 - 08:46 AM

If you are doing all of the loading, remember to pay yourself for labor!


It's great that you're making the resource available, but a fair price for providing a firing service should be at least double what it actually costs you. Even at that price, it will still be a bargain for participants.


I rent part of my personal studio space to other potters. Renters are responsible for the cost of all of their own expendable materials and have assigned storage spaces for their work, tools, and materials. I have two firing fee structures, one if the renter does all of his/her own loading/unloading and another if I load their work. When I load, I base the cost on the height of the shelf required to accommodate their work and/or the percentage of the kiln space used, rather than weight or actual square inches. Ultimately, it is my judgment call. I strive to be fair and usually err on the side of charging on the low end of my estimate. I haven't had any complaints.


Finally, if renters  want to use my glazes, they pay a fee per 25 lb bag of clay opened. This grew out of the system we use in the teaching studio where we buy the clay and sell it to the students with an up-charge that covers the cost of the studio glazes and underglazes.

In Topic: Reccomendations For Sc White Stoneware/porcelain

06 May 2015 - 10:42 AM

We have been using 240 and 112 in the teaching studio with commercial glazes (purchased powdered) in 5 gallon pails for about 5 years, firing in a vented electric kiln to cone 5 tip touching. This cone suits the glazes we use, many of which will begin to overfire at cone 6. We have not tried the 630 clay body.


At cone 5, none of the Standard white bodies (aside from 630 which I have not tried) are truly mature. If the glaze is not tightly sealed, the clay body can absorb enough water to ruin your grandmother's antique dining table. We have run into a couple of glazes recommended at cone 5 which did not prevent seepage. I struggle with even using the clay in the studio, but our adult students love the feel and the fired results, so we march on. (Until very recently, Standard was our only easily available clay so we had little choice. Now, all the test tiles are made!) At cone 6, you will likely find more reliable results, but beware uneven kiln temperatures. I have also tried all of the white Standard bodies which include cone 6 ranging up to cone 10, none of which were remotely satisfactory at cone 5-6. A Standard tech once told me that my personal standard for clay body maturity seemed to run around 4% absorption or less, but the industry standard for stoneware begins at a higher absorption rate.


The 240 is less forgiving re: warping and cracking, especially if it's too thick, if there is large variation in wall thickness within the pot, or if it has not been well compressed, but you have the experience to deal with that. Surprisingly, children's work is LESS likely to have problems than adult's work, probably because they're working smaller and getting more one-on-one tutelage plus the benefit of the instructor determining how their work dries, etc. The 240 provides an excellent background for commercial underglazes. As an aside, the speckles in the 112 do show through many commercial underglazes. Also, the two bodies are similar in shrinkage/absorption and recent experimental agateware shows promising results, but the jury is still out!


Re: using the same glazes on the 240 and the 112, all of our glazes will work on both although some are more aesthetically pleasing on one body. Consistently, glazes are MORE prone to running on the 240, especially in layering glazes or thicker applications. I have found this to be the case on all mid-range white clay bodies. Going back to the clay body maturity issue, the glazes that allowed water seepage on the 240 did not have any problems on the 112. Anticipating the question...yes, glazes, especially transparent ones, are more likely to craze on the 240.


Finally, recycling 240 and 112 scrap together results in a lovely light tan body with speckles that is great to use. Glazes results are very similar to those on 112.

In Topic: Finding Your Own Style...easy To Say

28 February 2015 - 12:56 PM

What is your desired goal? Do you want a cohesive body of work so you can begin doing retail shows, or consigning to shops, or seeking wholesale orders?


If having a cohesive body of work that speaks to your aesthetics and defines you as an identifiable artist is not a necessary goal at this point in your ceramic career, then exploration is vital in finding that voice (even though exploration continues to vital forever).


There are lots of great suggestions above. Here's another thing you might try: when you see a pot that really speaks to you, make a copy of it. Frequently, in that making process, you will discover the essential parts of the pot that sing for you, and you will have to explore how those features were achieved. Then you can take what you have learned from that exploration and apply the principles to your own work, whether they be about proportion, decoration, color, finishing, edges, attachments, alterations, assemblages, etc. Eventually, the collection of knowledge from all sources will help inform your own voice.


That leaves only one problem...what to do with copies? Give them away or keep them for yourself or consign them to the shard pile. Just don't present them as your original ideas.

In Topic: Scaling Up Glazing Buckets

28 February 2015 - 12:22 PM


  Thanks for the suggestions.  I did look around first.  One thought I had was the large buckets that hold feed/salt for cattle, but they are too thin and brittle.  I looked into the blue barrels, but they run about $20 each on craigslist and I am not convinced they will be very sturdy with a cut rim (that is not rolled over).  Plus, it can be difficult to get a really clean cut and this would make a plywood top not fit as well (and they are not flat on the bottom/top which makes stirring more difficult).  I even looked into various metal barrel options with no clear solution.  In the grand scheme of things, $20 for something I can trust was not a bad option, considering one will be holding about $150 in glaze.

  The chlorine buckets are an interesting lead.  I will look into this in case I decide to eppand the Glaze palate into other large-quantity glazes.




Be careful using chlorine buckets! I almost gassed myself once when taking the lid off of a newly emptied one. Not pleasant. I don't know if chlorine has any potential to affect glaze...


Another alternative for larger containers is rectangular plastic bins with lids (like Rubbermaid). You might try filling one with a like quantity of water to see how it performs before going whole hog with them for glaze.