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#111925 Silkscreen Test Plates

Posted by Pugaboo on Yesterday, 09:29 PM

I thought I would share my first silkscreen test plates with everyone. I think I've mentioned before that I've been working on teaching myself to silkscreen on pottery. They are not quite perfect but only need a few small tweaks to get them to the image I see in my head.

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#110976 Mixed My A First Batch Of Glaze

Posted by Pugaboo on 04 August 2016 - 08:37 PM

PeterH - it's probably IS easier but you used brackets ( ) and that makes my brain go EEK. Studying this stuff was 35 years ago for me! But here goes in my befuddled way towards understanding....

So basically I measure the weight of my measuring cup, bowl, beaker, whatever.
I will use cup in my figuring just for simplicity.

Write that down for example that it weighs 20grams or E=20

Then I fill the same cup with water and it gives me for example 100grams or W=100

Next I measure the same cup full of glaze this time, and it's glaze I KNOW is mixed properly and that I want to repeat, and it gives me for example 140grams or G=140

Now to use the nerve racking brackets....

Then I use the glaze number of 140 grams and subtract the empty cup of 20 grams getting me 120grams

I then take the water filled cup of 100 grams and subtract the empty cup of 20grams getting me 80grams

So I have the numbers 120 and 80
I divide these?
120/80 gives me 1.5

This makes my preferred specific gravity for this particular glaze 1.5?

T (Pugaboo) see brackets can be friendly too

#110880 Printing Decals?

Posted by Pugaboo on 02 August 2016 - 03:54 PM

Plumcreative, do they do a bisque firing? If so just make and glaze your piece as you normally would for cone 6 glaze firing AFTER the piece is completed with glaze firing add your decals and THEN put it back in with the next load of bisque. That's what I do if I don't have enough for a whole load of transfers. I bisque fire to 04 but if I have a whole load of transfers I fire to 05.


#110656 Mixed My A First Batch Of Glaze

Posted by Pugaboo on 27 July 2016 - 03:12 PM

Here is a picture! Not an A+ result but I'd say a solid B-. I got the scalloped rim a little thin as you can see OR the test kiln didn't stay hot enough at the end to let the glaze flow a bit more to fill in the scallops equally. I brushed this time, next I will dip a mug and hope for improved results. The glaze brushes on differently than the commercial stuff so will take some getting used to that and allowing for it as well. This white is actually whiter than the coyote white I have been using and I like that. This is a glossy white yet doesn't seem harsh either.

The next test for this glaze will be to put a small transfer on the test bowl and fire that. Some glazes play better with transfers than others. Will be exciting to see the results.


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#110551 Mixed My A First Batch Of Glaze

Posted by Pugaboo on 25 July 2016 - 09:05 PM

Thank you everyone, it's a BIG step for me. Just ask oldlady who has been trying to get me to do this for 2 years!

I'll let you know once I've put it on a test piece and fired it whether it's a no biggie or not!

I started with white since I had most of the ingredients already and I am almost out of the coyote white I have been using. It was basically a choice to either buy the missing Minspar or buy more of the commercial coyote white. If I got this right the next I will try is a clear since that is the other glaze I use a lot of.

Will glaze a bowl tomorrow and fire it my test kiln then we will see!


#110532 Mixed My A First Batch Of Glaze

Posted by Pugaboo on 25 July 2016 - 03:59 PM

I mixed my first batch of glaze from scratch today, with oldlady holding my hand over the phone. LOL
Using the speaker on my phone was great EXCEPT that I was wearing a mask.
Oldlady was very good at deciphering my muffled talking. 😀
I mixed up a 1000gram batch of Shiny White Old Lady < giggle> that's what I am calling it anyway. Oldlady was kind enough to share her glossy white glaze with me. Dhpotter and Min have also been generously helping with my glaze education. I've been learning by leaps and bounds with all of their help. The true test, of course, will be glazing a test bowl with the white and firing it.

I'm kind of nervous about that... Will I pass or will I fail?


#110420 Trouble With Red

Posted by Pugaboo on 21 July 2016 - 03:38 PM

I wanted to give an update on my glaze testing for those of you following this thread.

I sent off 2 cups to be tested made according to their instructions. It cost me with shipping both ways $66.
$18 testing fee for each cup =$36
And $30 shipping ($15 each way)
I could have saved the return shipping by not having them sent back but I want to keep them in the studio for my records.

I used a combination of Coyote Glazes in:
Buttercup Yellow, Orange, Red Orange and Desert Sage on one cup
And the same glazes with a layer of Amaco Zinc Free Clear over them on the other.

Since I was combining several glazes I wanted to test to make sure the glazes were food safe after firing. The clear I did out of curiosity to see if putting clear over another glaze changes anything. It did not, both tested exactly the same which I find interesting. Locally I have talked with other potters and been told that if you put a clear over a non food safe glaze it automatically makes it safe, in this instance both pieces tested the same the clear on top made no difference.

I had the pieces tests for Cadmium. The regulations state anything under .5mg/l is acceptable. Mine came back testing at Less Than <0.01mg/l. So they are testing way below the required limits. If was a relief to see that as you all know from my previous posts I was really stressing over this. For record keeping I put cones 5, 6 and 7 on each shelf in the kiln when I fired the test cups. I marked the cones and in my log book where the cups were positioned in the kiln. I have placed the used cones and official lab report inside the test cups as well as writing in sharpie on the outside the date and test results on each cup. I hope I never need them but it's nice to know I had them tested.

Things I would do differently next time;
I would send 6 cups with different glazes and skip the clear over the top test since that question has been answered my satisfaction. 6 cups is the most I can fit in the size flat rate priority mail box I used and would cut down on the shipping costs per cup.
Even though all of my glazes state they are lead free I would probably go ahead and test for Cadmium and Lead just so I have it on file.

Things I am planning to change OR have already changed due to discovering Encapsulated Cadmium:
All of my drinking vessels, pitchers, most bowls, and large serving bowls will have either a white or a food safe Temmoku interior. That doesn't mean I won't have color on my pieces, I am just redesigning as much as I can to keep the feel of the piece but removing these glazes from food contact areas where I can. This can be difficult at times since I use a lot of Underglazes in my design work. The way some manufacturers seem to go out of their way to make it difficult to find out what they have in their stuff has me researching and downloading MSDS sheets whenever I can find them. I have already starting mixing and using my own colored slips for background colors rather than using commercial Underglazes. I have ordered additional glaze mixing materials and plan to start making and testing my own glazes. As I get these to the point I can get satisfactory results I will send them off to be tested, I can't even begin to say how much peace of mind doing so has given me.

I hope this helps answer some of the questions some of you might have in this subject. Getting your own stuff tested is the only way to know for sure.


#110037 Starting Up Electric Kiln Help!

Posted by Pugaboo on 12 July 2016 - 03:56 PM

Also make sure when you have the new larger breaker installed that the correct gauge of wire has also been used. Over time the wire heats up, cools down, heats up, etc and can cause the wire to fail and cause a fire INSIDE the wall of your house. Make sure the correct gauge is used for the size of breaker as well as for the length of run to the kiln and the kiln itself. The kiln will tell you in the manual what size breaker and wire to use for so many feet it's away from the breaker box. I had my electrician run the kiln wires on the outside of the wall inside a metal conduit from the breaker to a manual shut off then on to the kiln. Doing this lets me monitor the amount of heat building up in the conduit and will hopefully give me a heads up if I am developing a problem. I like the manual cut off so I KNOW the kiln is OFF when I need it to be.

Getting a new breaker, conduit, proper gauge wire, manual shut off, and correct plug cost me between $300 on my small kiln and $400 on the larger kiln due to heavier load materials needed. These were installed separately 2 years apart would have been cheaper to get both done at the same time. TOTALLY worth the piece of mind to know I am at least starting off in the best spot I can.

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#109763 Qotw: What Form Do You Use To Experiment On A New Aesthetic?

Posted by Pugaboo on 06 July 2016 - 10:10 AM

I use a multi step approach.

I start with small items like pendants or ornaments and then move up to small dipping size bowls, then a small plate then I'll do a mug of a box depending on the final form I intend to use the technique on.

I hate wasting stuff so that's why I start with pendants or ornaments since those can be sold even if they are one offs. The dipping bowls allow me to see if it works on a concave form. The plate lets me know it works on a larger format. The mug I adjust it to be 3 dimensional with handles. The box I adjust for lid openings and handles as well as 3 dimensional.

I almost always have a handful of ornament or pendant tests in every kiln load. Right now I am still experimenting with silkscreening on pottery. I hope to have a more complicated perfected sample utilizing 6 different screens to make a completed design before too long. I have found that silkscreening my logo on the bottom works great and allows me to add it at any time up to glaze firing without having to add an additional firing for a transfer. That's a huge time and energy saver for me. Testing and tweaking is a valuable thing the logo only came about because I wanted to see how much detail I could get from my silkscreen and then wanted to see if I could screen all the way up to the glaze step.


#109683 Ceramic Pendant Necklace

Posted by Pugaboo on 01 July 2016 - 08:02 PM

You can also poke a hole in it and use a jump ring and bail, it's what I do. Have some of the glue on bails but have never tried them.


#109671 Ceramics Basics - Help!

Posted by Pugaboo on 01 July 2016 - 03:37 PM

A baby potter. Oh boy! Lol sorry we have all been where you are and it gets less confusing as you learn the language and tools involved. I would suggest the library books as well, it will fill in your vocabulary and also help you direct your creative journey by figuring out what type stuff intrigues you.

More direct... If you don't have the manual for your kiln and controller go to the maufacturers website and download them. Read them, Google the words you don't know then read them again. You will be amazed at how fast you pick up the lingo. Depending on your controller it might have preprogrammed settings to help get you started. What type kiln and controller do you have?

Cone 6 is 2232-2269, approximately, this is where the heat work comes in to play. If you fire your kiln to 2232, which is a cone 6 (for me anyway, again it varies a few degrees depending on the kiln load and ramp rate) and your controller registers the top temp as 2232 BUT when you open the kiln the Orton Cone 6 you have on your kiln shelf isn't bent all the way it means you didn't get enough HEATWORK to reach cone 6. Or if you open it and the cone is a little collapsed blob you have gotten too much HEATWORK. Does that kind of explain it a bit?

Cones are made to react to the heat work inside the kiln and will begin to melt causing them to bend if you reach the correct temperature in a certain amount of time (this involves the ramp rate during the final firing segment which is so many degrees over so many minutes). Look up Orton Cones and read up on how they work and that will tell you a lot. It's not as scary as it seems a lot of potters use their digital controller to control the firing schedule and use the cones to verify that the work was actually fired to the correct temperature. I usually only put 1 Orton cone on the center shelf of my kiln for each firing UNLESS I am trying to test something then I will put 3 cones in each shelf in the kiln: a cone 5, 6 and 7. This will tell me that on THIS shelf the temperature and heat work reached a particular temperature by how much the cones have bent. You use a 5 to tell you tell you if it's getting close but not quite to the temperature you want, cone 6 is the cone you are looking to bend perfectly and the cone 7 will tell you if it got too hot and over fired.

Welcome and you have just begun a most exciting journey!

#109585 Qotw: Are We Potters Crazy?

Posted by Pugaboo on 28 June 2016 - 09:38 PM

Silly question to ask a potter: "why make your own when you can easily buy it?"
They so don't get the point.

Yes potters are crazy but it's the best kind of crazy. Pug people are crazy too. Add pug and pottery craziness together and I guess I'm doubly crazy and I wouldn't had it any other way.


#109584 Online Marketplaces Vs Your Own Website

Posted by Pugaboo on 28 June 2016 - 09:29 PM

If you have your own domain you can also use the ETSY MINI shop code and have it embedded on one of your website pages or blog that shows thumbnails of your etsy shop items and when someone clicks on an image they go straight to your etsy shop where they can buy it. I have both of my etsy shops this way on my own domain site. This way you put YOUR domain on all your advertising, have your brand information out there and then also get a nice compact easy to set up shopping page. The inventory is whatever you have on etsy and it automatically updates it as you update your etsy shop.


#109308 Qotw: Would You Laugh At Me If I Told You That I Am Using A Gg?

Posted by Pugaboo on 24 June 2016 - 08:46 AM

Hmmmm.... I don't have a GG maybe I should get one I'm feeling left out! lol Think I am developing GG envy.

One of the things I do use is an extruder and sometimes get looks from other potters when I say I use one. I make boxes and other hollow forms A LOT. I can roll out, cut and assemble a boxes 6 side but if I can pull 4 of those walls in the extruder and just add the other 2. Imagine the amount of time savings in that! I have also begun making my own extruder plates to get the shapes and sizes of pulls I want. I use it to pull mug blanks, boxes of varying sizes and shapes, handles, feet, footrings, coils, etc. I am getting ready to make a plate for a cracker tray that I am also hoping can be used as the basis for a soap dish. Still testing that out. An extruder doesn't make a completed product for you it simply speeds up the process to make the products you do. IMO

I have a wheel but have discovered with my spinal issues I can't do production on it only have fun for very short periods of time. It's one of the reasons I use the extruder as much as I do since some of the same forms can be made on each. I have a slab roller and it's probably the most important piece of equipment in my studio. But them all the potters around here either have one or have access to use one so nobody blinks an eye at that.


#108817 How Do You Price Your Work?

Posted by Pugaboo on 15 June 2016 - 09:00 PM

I agree, what the market will bear. But even that is hard because I have an online market that bears one price and a local that might bear another. Since people shop ALL ways now, festivals, shops, galleries, and online I have spent some time this year attempting to find the sweet spot for all of them that will keep the prices as consistent as possible between all the various venues and still enough that I make a profit. That's been quite the challenge since the percentages taken vary from 0% to 40% depending on the venue. I am also looking into getting more into wholesale prices this next year so have to start figuring that in as well at 50% of the retail price.

I haven't being selling pots long enough to have it figured out so have been using my past art sales as a base starting point and tweaking from there. Just when I think I got it figured another type of venue pops up and I have to re- evaluate my pricing structure. That doesn't mean I dramatically change any of my prices since that isn't good either. It just means that at my quarterly review I will look over all my records and try and figure out what needs tweaking. If I find I am too far off part way through a year I will change the product enough to be able to do so without it seeming shocking. Example is last year and this early spring I offered necklaces at a local shop with beaded chains during my review realized the time to do the beading was most of the cost and I was losing. So starting this summer I am offering just the pendants for the same price as last year and they can add their own chain. It's a test to see if that will work or not.