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Member Since 15 Feb 2013
Online Last Active Today, 10:07 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Underglazes Thinning On Their Own?

02 February 2016 - 01:10 PM

I have some arrive extremely watery. Most thicken over time, most likely due to evaporation even in the containers.
I have some that darken and smell, white especially will do this and yes it burns out and turns bright white in the kiln. Have read you can add a drop or two of bleach to fix the issue but I don't since the smell of beach bothers me more.


In Topic: Olympic Medallion Artist Series 2827He

01 February 2016 - 09:48 AM

I have an Olympic, the art center here has 2 Olympics and I know several local potters that also have them.
I have this one: http://www.greatkiln...es/f1823he.html

I fire to cone 6, the kiln I have will go to cone 10 but I don't fire that high. I have had no issues with this kiln, in fact I love it and for me it's a good size. I started out 3 years ago and it let me make and fires smaller loads so I could learn faster without the long waits to fill a larger one. Doing this also allowed me to correct mistakes I was making with less loss a large load might of done. I was also limited by my breaker box so be sure yours can handle whatever size you get.

This kiln still works for me because I have learned to tumble stack bisque loads and I can get an amazing amount of bisque in it. Last load was 10 dinner plates, 12 salad plates, 8 cereal bowls, 12 16 ounce mugs, 2 12 ounce mugs, 24 small spoonrests, 12 large spoonrests, 3 bisque molds for 16 oz glassware, 1 12 oz mug bisque mold, and a set of floral push plate molds for nesting dishes, several dozen beads and some other random stuff. I use only 1 shelf plus the bottom for bisque loads.

Also since I do a lot of custom orders having a slightly smaller kiln means I can create and fire those orders quicker as well. I have looked into getting another kiln simply so I could bisque fire one and while its cooling down (it takes about 24 hours to cool down) I could run the 2nd kiln with a glaze or transfer load. I would get the same kiln I have if I did it for that reason.

I have also looked in to getting a test kiln that would run off a regular outlet so I could fire individual pieces, but other than looking through to see what my options would be I haven't pursued this further.

I have fired over 100 times in this kiln and it is still within its beginning temperature and time parameters. I have treated this kiln kindly and use the vent, kiln wash, cookies, stilts and bisque catch bowls when testing new glazes. I got the stackable version so when it's time to replace anything I can hopefully do so myself.

Good luck on choosing the kiln that works for you. I would start with your breaker box and let that help you decide on the size you need. Once you have that select whether a stackable or solid jacket would be better, if it's going in a basement or carried over any distance to set it up a stackable is easier to move. Decide if you are going to fire to cone 10 or not as that will limit you. Also decide on the shape you want, do you make tall sculptures or huge wide platters they have tall and wide kilns available. I would also definitely get the upgraded controller, I wouldn't own a kiln without one.

I hope this helps and doesn't make it even more confusing.


In Topic: Anyone Else Doing Silkscreening On Clay?

26 January 2016 - 05:18 PM

Drmyrtle - great minds think alike! I was actually thinking of trying a black outline on the hearts. I did 3 test plates today and on one of them I painted real quick black lines around the hearts, not going for exactness more of a spontaneous line.

Sallyd - I read on their sight where they will make custom screens, but I am a bit of a control freak (surprise surprise right?) so am determined to teach myself. I hope you can find an outlet for the ezscreens in the UK, they make a really good gateway into this process.

Technique Update:
Today I did a test where I cut the circle for the plate and then while this disk was still flat screen printed all the designs on it and..... Drumroll...... IT WORKED! No distortion to the Pugs whatsoever. This is what I will do from now on for plates, I will have to test for bowls. I have to make a bisque mold for a bowl first.

All the current round of tests are drying, I will post pictures when they come out of the bisque firing, even if they turn out awful, since sometimes things can be learned more from disasters than successes. Fighting the urge to speed up the drying but I know Little Loafers will smack me if I try it so now is the time for PATIENCE.


In Topic: Heating Source In Pottery Workshop Besides Kiln

25 January 2016 - 06:16 PM

I have a propane wall heater, a blue flame heater I think it's called. I rarely use it since I hate to use up the propane which also runs our fireplace which is our only form of emergency heat if the power goes out. I have found wearing boots keeps me pretty warm since they insulate my feet from the concrete and tile floor. Sweatpants and thermal shirts go along way too.

Oh and I have hot water in the bathroom so can run my frigid fingers under the flow when they get too cold.

In Topic: Anyone Else Doing Silkscreening On Clay?

25 January 2016 - 06:08 PM

I've been doing my own laser transfers for awhile now. The reason yours didn't work could be several different things.
1) Your toner: look up the MSDS sheet online for your printer and toner. It will tell you if it has any iron in it. It might be stated as Iron, Iron Oxide, or Ferrous you want as high a percentage as possible. Something around 40-50% starts working. I use HP printers which during my research into it seems to have some of the higher iron levels in their toners.
2) You bought the wrong paper. I get mine at decalpaper.com, you want Laser transfer paper not inkjet and the clear is what I use.
3) You fired them at the wrong temperature either too hot or too cold depending on the issue you encountered. I fire mine at 04 slow bisque to 05 fast glaze depending on whether I have a whole load or just a piece or 2.
Maybe this will help you give it another shot?

For silkscreening look up ezscreens, that is what I am currently using because I too am clueless as to how to do it. These screens are really amazingly easy to use. I do have a background in photography and darkroom work so this might give me a bit of a leg up with exposure times, test strips, etc. I have set up a mini darkroom in my studio bathroom using some old photo equipment I had on hand, the set up stays up so its easy for me to test another image (which I have been doing a lot) without a lot of set up. The company that makes the ezscreens says it can be done using sunlight which means no equipment at all BUT you have to have direct sunlight and where I am that has been in short supply lately hence my digging out old photo lights and stands.

I bought the liquid emulsion, a screen and a squeegee to make an official stretched silkscreen but haven't done it yet as it looks way more complicated than the ezscreens. I will figure it out eventually as I want to make a 20x24 screen for a large design I have drawn up and the ezscreens I have now only go to 11x17.

The hardest thing in all honesty has been figuring out the printing medium. I've read about adding stuff to Underglazes to thicken them but didn't want to add any new substances to my Underglazes as am afraid it could affect their compatibly with my glazes, and the safety issue of "you've changed the chemical formula of something is it now still food safe". You can also add something called acrylic screen printing emulsion to your Underglazes or slip and it supposedly burns out in the kiln. Haven't tried this yet.

I decided to just try drying out the underglaze to a thicker consistency. Then it decided to rain for 2 weeks straight, had a heck of a time getting it to dry out enough. Ended up having to get a heat gun, figured I could use it for glazing and such as well so was worth the investment. I poured the underglaze out onto a sheet of glass and went at it with the heat gun. Took a bit of time but got it to thicken. Now I am tweaking the thickness I have found too thick and it won't go through the screen at all, kind of too thick and it goes through but when you pull up the screen you also pull up some of the underglaze, too thin and it bleeds all over the place. Feel like a screen printing Goldilocks LOL

Today I just figured out that for some reason the silkscreened design on a white slip background firmed up faster and more consistently than the one I did on a white underglaze background. This one looked dry (dull in appearance) but when I laid the screen on it smudged some of the design. This plate was done first so should have been drier than the white slips ones. Will have to experiment some more and see if it's a fluke or something to keep in mind.

In all honesty it's been a lot of trial and error, more errors than I care to admit! Which is why I finally asked for some pointers here on the forum. Once I get a handle on the underglazes then it will be time to start experimenting with using slips instead. Have never mixed a glaze or a slip. For my current white slip I just used my clay body dried out, with some white mason stain added then reconstituted, not even sure if this will work! Will hopefully be finally firing some of these tests next week. Want an option to Underglazes since they can expensive when you dry them out to thicken them, plus add in doing all the backgrounds and you start sucking up pints. I am hoping I can switch over to using some slips instead to save some money.

Will try and keep you all posted on how things go!