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#100568 Anyone Else Doing Silkscreening On Clay?

Posted by Pugaboo on 24 January 2016 - 06:26 PM

I am In the testing stages of creating and using silkscreened imagery on my pottery. I am coming to the point I find myself using the same type images again and again and hand painting them repeatedly isn't a very cost effective use of time. So now that I know the type designs I like to use more than once I have decided to try using silkscreening to make the process more efficient. Never done it before, am learning as I go. The image in the plate here is my Black Luv Pugs design made from one of my own Pug paintings.

I have made a couple of screens and used them to create a few sample pieces.

I am currently using Underglazes that I have prepped for screening. To prep them I let them dry out until they are the consistency of that school paste we used in grade school. I used a white slip for painting in the back ground on one plate and a white underglaze on another so I can compare them. I have not yet tried slips through the screens. I am wondering if there is something I should be aware of using slips as the background instead of Underglazes? The same question for using slips through the screens.

I already figured out I need to make a separate screen for parts of the design. On the test plate shown here I made a screen with the hearts and the paws on the same screen, you can see where I got a bit of black into some of the red hearts. I hope I am right in thinking that if I remake the design as 2 screens paws on one and hearts on another it will fix this problem.

I did make the pugs as a separate screen, but messed up and put the image reversed when I exposed the screen so had to use the wrong side of the screen to get the pugs oriented correctly. It works but will need to figure out how I did that wrong so I don't repeat the mistake again.

The paws and hearts as well as the pugs are on ezscreens and have no frame. I can conform the screen to the shape of the plate with these but they are limited in size. I have a large design (16x20 or so) I want to put on a screen with a frame but haven't attempted this yet.

I am hoping someone else here might be able to give some input to help a beginning silkscreener avoid some pitfalls?


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#100545 Stop Me Before I Ruin It Please

Posted by Pugaboo on 24 January 2016 - 01:38 PM

I use Underglazes for painting on pots extensively. My experience is this...

A darker color like dark blue or black under a white or pale yellow will sometimes reappear after firing, and usually after it is glaze fired. It depends on how many layers of the lighter color you have over the dark.

The touchiest Amaco LUG colors by far are Dark Blue and Black. You need to use a Zince free clear and not heavily applied either as this can make the blues and blacks run. I think the black turning blue under a regular clear with zinc in it is because the black has Cobalt in it, just a guess but that's what I am leaning towards. Before I figured this out I ended up with some crying Pugs and nobody wants sad pugs.

If you use a bunch of heavily applied layers you will occasionally find after glazing that parts of these colors come away from the pot. This only happened when I first starting using the Underglazes and had not yet figured out how to do washy layers.

When using Underglazes you can blend the color right on the pot if you need to. What I mean is put a dark blue at the bottom of a pot and white at the top. You want a nice blended color from white to dark blue. So paint the bottom 1/2 dark blue and the top 1/2 white, let it dry now get a sponge wet it and buff the middle area together, you can achieve a really nice blended light to dark.

Underglazes don't run and won't bleed all over the place, they should stay where you put them.

Don't place underglaze pieces touching each other in the kiln, or at least not the dark blues or blacks or light against dark. I stacked some ornaments and the black lines from one put a halo of black on the ornament it was stacked on top of.

I hope this helps,

#99933 Creating Product Lines / Over Time

Posted by Pugaboo on 16 January 2016 - 11:22 PM

I only started in pottery 3 years ago, is that all its been? Wow seems like I've always done it. Oh well anyhow even though I am currently doing pottery I have been working and making enough to support myself as an artist for over 2 decades. I see you are in Georgia, there are a lot of potters in the southeast, that's where I am as well by the way. People know pottery in the south.

I would suggest doing a few local one day craft fairs, the input you get from just watching people handle your work is invaluable. I have many issues for not currently doing national shows, which I have done by the way over the years with other art forms. I've done festivals from Key West to Niagrara Falls, New York City (yes I drove into the city and set up a booth in Central Park), Chicago, Detroit and all the places in between. For awhile traveled so much I once woke up in my own bed in the middle of the night and couldn't remember where I was or which direction the bathroom door was. Not fun but made a lot money.

Change in life means I can no longer travel like that. So tested my stuff at some local one day craft shows, thought I was doing badly then realized a show with maybe 1 or 2000 people isn't going to pay me what I used to get at say Ann Arbor. Locally I know I can get $500-1000 at pretty much any local one day fair with good weather. Peanuts I know but I am talking SMALL shows in small towns just around where I live. I have to admit though I like showing up on a Saturday setting up, selling, then going home to my own bed. Craft Fairs are also a good place to sell those items not moving online.

Online is HARD. It takes planning and patience. I have 5 domains feeding 2 websites, an eBay seller account, Amazon Seller account in the process of opening, and 2 etsy shops, one is Pug stuff anything and everything Pugs from paintings to pottery to greeting cards if you are looking for something starring a Pug that's where you need to go. Seriously go buy something! The other one is just my pottery and nothing else it's a Pug Free Zone. I just restarted my etsy presence this past year after having to take time off for a couple years due to... well life... I guess.

If you make all one of a kind things plan to spend a day each week just photographing, measuring, weighing and describing each piece. Don't scrimp on these, online people will only know what you show, get sloppy and leave stuff out and people won't pull any punches about letting you and everyone else know it. I started doing the variations in etsy so I could with one listing get 4 different colored items but all with the same Pug image on it and it cut way down on my time photographing stuff.

Think of it this way, 5 photos per listing x 200 listings that's 1000 photos just to get your shop up to speed, now add in variations like 4 different colors if you list each color separately multiply that 1000 photos times 4 so you are now at 4000. So variations within listings and solid design lines that you can recreate very closely time and time again will make things easier. I only have 4 solid design lines at the moment in my regular pottery, but do test out other schemes regularly to see what sticks. I am currently offering around 12 standard Pug images I'll put on just about anything I make.

So let's say I am listing spoon rests, 12 different Pugs x 5 different camera angles x 4 color choices x 2 different spoon rest sizes.... It makes my head ache just thinking about it. But I do it and have the stock to support it because trust me the one color you are out of is ALWAYS the one they will order. I do more in private custom requests online than I do in regular sales and whether you want to get into that is up to you. I can put anybody's pet on any of my pieces so I happily take custom requests. I have a permanent light box and digital camera set up and as I make new items not within my regular lines I put it on the shelves in that room. Those shells fill up quickly and if the stuff is sitting in a shelf unphotograhed it's not out there selling! Oh and don't even get me started on inventory control.

Now you have everything photographed, guess what now it's time to figure out shipping. Weigh each piece make note of it and hopefully you are making them exact enough that the weight doesn't vary from identical piece to identical piece. Write the weight down, now pack it up securely and safely in a box. What size boxes will you need on hand all the time to meet demand? I Know my common sizes and have a shipping area set up permanently in my garage next to the shelves full of completed stock. Once you have packaged up each of the different types of items weigh the boxes and write down what each weighs. Now don't forget how you packaged these samples up since if you used 1 sheet of paper and popcorn for the test but use 3 sheets of paper and popcorn when you actually ship, your weights are going to be really different. You can lose money on shipping if you don't know what you are doing. Nothing worse than thinking yay I have a sale, oh bleep it's going to Alaska and I got the weights wrong for the etsy shipping calculator so it's only charging them for 2 pounds stead of 3. I learned that lesson a few decades backwhen shipping out 24x30 framed pieces from my website. You get a sale where you actually lose money after its all done because the shipping was double your expectations and you don't forget it.

So now you are set for online sales but want a few shops and galleries to carry your work as well. Don't forget to keep your prices the same from festival to online to shops since people shop in all those ways these days and you don't want there to be large variations between venues. You have your work in gallery A which takes 40% commission and won't do wholesale and then you have shop B which only wants 20% so you need to have your prices based on the 40% locale not the 20%. You are happy you've done your math and everything is golden...

Wait a moment gallery A is selling but slow to pay you... Hmm didn't think you'd have to go running after your own money did you? Your contract says they are to pay you by the 10th of each month, you do have a contract right? You call the manager is busy would you mind calling back, you stop by even though it's an hour drive one way for you, They say the accountant that writes the checks is on vacation. You sell really well here so you don't want to just yank everything out but how long and how much trust can you afford? You do get paid eventually but find out this is probably going to happen frequently at this gallery. How many vacations can one guy take anyway? You have to decide how much you are willing to put up with. I have a rule no shops or galleries more than an hour away it's too hard to keep an eye on things. Oh and don't forget to allow for gas and mileage on your vehicle when pricing your stuff.

You say no consignment for me wholesale only! Okayyyyy you get a request for a wholesale order.... They want to see alllll the different dog breeds you have to put on stuff and all those dogs on all the different forms possible before they can make a decision. You panic for a moment then think PHOTOSHOP! And make up a quickee 3 day catalog showing all those things. You then get asked for it to be printed, sigh okay. Now grab a few samples for touchy-feely, the printed catalog and make your appointment to get your wholesale order! It'll all be worth it right? They love EVERYTHING but decide on just a few items to test and by the way will let you know by email what they want to order, can they order online please? So now printed catalog becomes digital catalog and you think not worth it butttt oooooo the money of a good solid wholesale account is inticing.

You get everything done and sit back waiting for the order. A week passes, a month, you drop them a nice email or phone call reminding them of the start of the season approaching and that you will need time to hand make each item. They say oh yeah we forgot we shall do it right away. 2 weeks before the season starts you get the order, it's a NICE order but they want it by opening because back at your meeting you said it would be no problem to get it to them by that date. The fact that you said that 2 months ago and have been waiting to find out what precisely they want has nothing to do with it. But smarty pants you have racks of "blanks" done up awaiting glaze and images because you sell online and have planned ahead for those custom orders you get. Whew!

If you are thinking eazy-Peazy I can do all that with one hand tied behind my back while juggling running chainsaws, then I welcome you to the world of the professional potter. We might lean a bit to the crazy side for doing what we do but it's the good kind of crazy and I personally can't imagine doing anything else.

PS. There are a lot more successful potters here than I and I think each and everyone has done it in their own unique way so just forget everything I said here and do it however it works for you.

#99357 Drawings On Plates-Underglaze On Glaze Fired To Cone 10

Posted by Pugaboo on 12 January 2016 - 10:09 AM


We're just teasing! I too would come work for you if I were closer, heck I'd come spend the summer if I could and work for free for just the knowledge I would gain. Hey you should run summer camps ad get all your workers to PAY you!


#99176 Need Handle Help

Posted by Pugaboo on 10 January 2016 - 09:51 AM

I use a Scott creek wall mounted extruder and a handle die for mine. I also use Little Loafers clay which can be touchy about cracking.

To help with the bubbles don't put pieces of clay in the extruder. What I mean is look at how big around your extruder opening is and cut a pug of clay to about this size then roll or tap it into the right shape that will slide into the extruder opening. Cut off the excess clay once you have fully loaded your extruder, don't piece your clay in as that creates bubbles and blank spaces.

Once you have extruded your handle lay the extrusion out on a table. Use a sponge to smooth out any obvious bulges or rough spots created from handling it. Then use a soft rubber rib to compress the surface. Now cut your extrusion to length and shape to the approximate shape you need for your mugs. Mine is a question mark kind of shape. Once shaped I lay on its side so when I am done with a bunch it looks like a line of question marks. Allow to firm up a bit, how long this takes depends on your humidity, etc etc etc. once it's firm enough to not flop around position against your mug cut the top and bottom angles, score both the mug and the handle, slip and attach. When you attach handle everything gently but firmly and position your hand inside the mug when you press to attach to the mug so you don't warp the mug.

I do an additional step some people don't do but then I do a lot of hand painting and clear glazing so am paranoid about failures after all that work. I also add a tiny coil of clay around the attachments. Clean everything up and wrap the mug in plastic overnight, or for a few hours at least with the mug sitting upside down. This lets gravity help keep your handle in the correct shape. Doing this also helps you see whether your handle sticks up above the rim, which for me is a no no as it make putting it upside to store or dry after using it impossible. The next day remove plastic and place on a wire shelf rim side down and leave it to dry. I also wrap my handles in plastic while drying the bodies since they dry faster and don't want to risk cracks.

My biggest issue with mugs is rushing and trying to add the handles too soon when the pieces have not firmed up enough. I am a very bad girl by doing this and the kiln sternly lets me know by causing the pieces to warp during the glaze firing, not even the bisque it waits until the glaze firing to give me sad funky shaped mug openings. So I have changed my working method and pull all my mug bodies and handles one day set in my damp boxes and assemble them another day. I am getting ready to make an even bigger damp box to store mug bodies so I can keep even more of them on hand ready to assemble. With a damp box I can store mug pieces for weeks while I assemble and paint without having to rush to get them made so I can decorate them. This falls under the "Terry Proofing" rule.

It sounds like you are trying really hard and I hope this helps you step back and take a look at how you can adjust your working method to correct the issues you are having. Good luck and it will come with practice and tweaks to your process.


#98712 Gravity Feed Slip Trailer

Posted by Pugaboo on 03 January 2016 - 05:24 PM

Look up Airpen I have one and use it with underglazes it relieves the cramping in my hand from squeezing a bottle to slip trail.


#98390 Goals For 2016

Posted by Pugaboo on 30 December 2015 - 09:35 PM

Goals for 2016, hmmm:
1) beef up my online presence so I can sell even more in 2016
2) learn how to vlog and do it on a regular basis
3) learn to silk screen
4) experiment and perfect my "Pompeii" pottery vision
5) sell more pottery
6) spend more time focusing on myself and my own needs
7) learn to accept the fact that I'm not able to do it all and that admitting that does not make me a failure

And last yet no where near least....
My greatest wish for 2016 is that everyone here has a wonderful, glorious, productive year following their own creative path.


#98339 Labeling Glaze Containers Large And Small

Posted by Pugaboo on 30 December 2015 - 09:21 AM

For a cheap easy "lamination" print or write out what you need on plain paper cut it out the use clear packing tape over the front to cover the paper and leave a bit of overhang to stick it to the bucket. The tape is easy to remove and it will protect the words.

I also use the clear projector sheets to store my vocabulary images of transfers and such. They would work as well and you could store the recipe and even copies of the invoices for the materials used, etc.

I've actually been trying to spend some time each week reorganizing my studio and labeling bins and bottles has been a major part of the process. It's amazing how many shelves you need just to keep things on hand and easily accessible.


#98337 Forms, Molds, Etc

Posted by Pugaboo on 30 December 2015 - 09:12 AM

Isn't it possible to use heavy tar paper to make a form? With that you might be able to adapt the technique you like and make it work. I've never done it but it's something to check out.

I have begun using my own bisque slump and hump molds and thats the way I would go. Essentially I build the piece I want but use thicker clay so it's stronger and I can roll texture and pattern into the wet clay when I use the mold and not worry about cracking. Take extra time to get it exactly the way you want since your pieces will pick up the details from the mold. You can use coils, the wheel or a slab roller to make them. I Dry it really slowly and dry it for longer than I think it needs. I bisque fire to cone 04. I date each mold I make so I can see how long they last, I haven't been doing this long enough to have any kind of track record on longevity. Kari Radasch and Chandra Debuse both use bisque molds in a variety of ways so I would start out looking up their techniques.


#98164 Mixing This Glaze As A Present For A Friend

Posted by Pugaboo on 28 December 2015 - 09:57 AM

Oldlady - WOW that is one beautiful load of glazed pieces! I want to touch and stroke them. I really like that iron red color as well. Did you make it using that base recipe and just adding RIO? I am feeling covetous.


#97999 My Journey In 2015 - A Big Thanks To This Community.

Posted by Pugaboo on 25 December 2015 - 10:26 PM

Wonderful progress! I agree this forum is amazing it's like having a pottery community living next door. I have learned and been pushed to try more on here than I can ever explain.

Keep up the great work it looks like you are fine tuning your style.


#97390 My New Mugs With 2 New Hand Painted Pugs On Them

Posted by Pugaboo on 15 December 2015 - 11:54 PM

I just finished these new mugs and wanted to share!

I mentioned elsewhere that I have designed a new mug size and shape for myself using my extruder and a plate I made as well. The photos show my new design. I have fired 1 blank prototype and it looked good so decided to go ahead and paint up a couple hand painted Pug mugs.

To get this started, the mugs in the pictures were created using my Scott Creek extruder with the expansion box and a hollow wooden die I designed. The handle was also made with the extruder and a commercial handle die. Once the mug body was pulled I added the slab bottom and the paddled the mug into a more pleasing shape. Well a more pleasing shape to me anyway since the extruded blank looked more like a stein than a mug. I gave it a nice round bottom portion with a waist that flows out into a nice curved lip. The handles were added added after the paddling. I didn't do anything too extreme to it as I need a surface I can paint on as well as get my transfers to adhere to but wanted more of a curvy shape to it.

The Pugs are free hand painted onto the surface, I just kind of made the first one up as I went along. After I got the first one done I then decided to try the same basic design but with a black Pug instead of a fawn. I didn't try to go for an exact duplicate, that's what transfers are for, I just wanted to use the same theme but with a different colored Pug. I painted the entire circumference of the mugs since I like a design that flows all the way around, I even decorated the handle.

I ran out of room to upload but I have even been working on a nice signature to hand sign my one of a kind pieces. This means even the bottom looks nice and I plan to take this even further as I see how the bottom fairs in the kiln.

I am calling this design Pug Blossoms and Bees. I haven't hand painted a lot of my mugs up until now as I haven't been real pleased with my mug results, I mean they were okay but the surface wasn't right for a handpainted image they needed to be fatter to give me more room to paint. I've done loads of boxes and some platters but not mugs.

The mugs are still drying so the colors in the photo will be more vibrant once I get them fired and then clear glazed. Am planning on a classic white interior and I will use Amacos Zince Free Clear on the exterior.

Oh and excuse the photos I snapped some quick pics when I finished today. I like to do this when I am working with a new design because all kinds of things show up in a picture that I never noticed while I was looking at it, it's kind of a way for me to check myself.


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#97022 How To Reveal Lace Texture

Posted by Pugaboo on 09 December 2015 - 09:06 AM

Since these are ornaments and not food items have you thought about using acrylic paint? It comes in gold and silver metallic and you can thin it to do a wash which would gather in the lace texture and accentuate it. It would of course have to be painted on after bisque firing but you would not have to fire again.


#96802 Making Spoons

Posted by Pugaboo on 05 December 2015 - 09:27 AM

Here are some pictures. The exaggerated curve is so the spoon will hook over the edge of the scalloped edge bowl. The spoons are 6 inches or less in length making it easy to hang on my bead rack. You can see an example of the bead racks in the kiln under another heading.

You can in the one picture here how I use the hole that I hang the spoons from in the kiln to make a nice way of adding my info/price tag for the set.

I also made a bisque spoon mold but it was more work than using the extruder like I do for these.


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#96789 Making Spoons

Posted by Pugaboo on 04 December 2015 - 10:27 PM

I've watched her make scoops and it is very elaborate but they turn out lovely. I do small serving spoons not scoops. I extrude a handle and roll out the bowl part. Extrude, cut to length, roll, use a round cutter to cut the bowl, attach the bowl to the handle, poke a hole in the end and pretty much call it a day. I'm not making "artsy" spoons yet just simple ones to add to my hostess sets. I sell mine for $10 but as I said they are very basic no design work except a texture rolled into the handle or a transfer applied to the bowl part, oh and no hand painting.