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Member Since 15 Feb 2013
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#113201 Complete Beginner And Could Use Some Help.

Posted by Pugaboo on 15 September 2016 - 09:15 AM

I've used air dry clay in the past for kids projects and it's definitely different than stoneware clay. As others have said set that air dry stuff aside to use for other stuff later on and get a bag or 2 of either low fire or mid fire clay.

"Real" clay doesn't go to waste you can play on the wheel with it, wedge (smoosh) it back together and use it again. Play at making pinch pots, coiled pots, throw some, find an old rolling pin and roll it out and slab build stuff as well, etc etc. Even if clay dries out and becomes hard just put it in a bag with some water and it will soften back up and be usable again. Clay is amazing it's never wasted and can always be reused until you put it in a kiln. So while you are playing, learning and perfecting keep an eye out for a small kiln, if you live in or near a large city something will pop up.

As for low fire or mid fire.... I would go with a mid fire stoneware since its great for just about everything... Others might say otherwise.

To help fill in those forgotten ...ehem slept through as you say... Fundamentals, visit your local library and grab a few books on Pottery, ceramics, etc. I took a class and then checked out every book I could on pottery and learned more from the books and this forum than I did in the class.

Oh and don't forget to HAVE FUN!


#112742 My Newest Jewelry Pieces

Posted by Pugaboo on 07 September 2016 - 02:47 PM

Inside secret is it's amazingly easy to do, it takes a little time but I have included $10 an hour labor for myself in the wholesale price. I buy all the beads and wire wholesale and literally by the pound or by the multi 100 foot rolls, the ceramic beads take a miniscule amount of clay and glaze. Most of the time used in creating the beads is in the hole cleaning but I have been getting a better system for that set up and have already cut that time by half. Wholesaling at $120 means a retail price of $240, and that's a starting point for these sets going by the prices I have seen for pieces online. I will get better at making them and faster as well and adjust the price as I find the market bearing rate.

Thank you all for your wonderful input! I already have 2 shops asking for several sets each to see if they will sell in their locations. I've been a busy girl and made over 300 of the beads in various shades of blue ( I LIKE blue), as well as lilac, the Falling brightly. I did some plain white beads which I will be testing a set with little a pugs printed on the focal beads to see how they do. I have a few more ideas I am percolating around in my head that I will test out as time allows. I have 3 shows this month, 2 next and one in November as I also gear up for holiday sales. January is always a good month for experimentation, though there is the February show to get ready for... LOL

You all get all of this, as potters you never really stop just figure out ways to do more in the same time period.


#112740 Adding A 2Nd Medium To Booth

Posted by Pugaboo on 07 September 2016 - 02:30 PM

IF you truly want to do both them I would suggest doing as many combo pieces as possible with just a few total wood or total pottery. This could be as simple as a cutting board with a small ceramic bowl with it, or a ceramic spreader. Things like wooden spoons inside pottery pieces is already done everywhere and you would have a leg up in the fact that you make the spoons yourself. A wooden tray could have a pottery tea set on it. I'm sure you've thought of all this but I'm stressing that the MAJORITY of items are BOTH pottery and wood. Stress you make ALL your pieces wood and pottery to compliment each other and the customers might respond.

Not sure what category you would apply under, though a lot of smaller shows have a Fine Craft category and that would work. The larger shows would most likely give you some issues, unless you can explain your process thoroughly stressing the melding of the 2 forms. I've done shows where a potter showed up with a small stand of jewelry and was made to remove it because they didn't jury in with jewelry. Same with painters and a rack of photos, you will just have to test the waters and see which shows are more open to such things.

Good luck!

#112676 My Newest Jewelry Pieces

Posted by Pugaboo on 06 September 2016 - 07:47 PM

Hi all! Just wanted to share my newest design line of jewelry. I'm really excited about this addition to me repetroi. I also posted a couple photos in my gallery and will try to add more as I can. These are high end pieces using silver plated wire, semi precious stones, and crystals as well as glass and metal beads.

That said the most important part are the focal beads! I made them myself (of course!). I had to learn a whole new technique for getting the holes into these beads as they run differently than my usual beads and pendants. The largest are a little over an inch wide and the hole runs from side to side rather than front to back. That is a long hole to get clear of glaze let me tell you! There are 3 different sized leaf beads that I made in this piece the smallest only about 1/2 of an inch and the largest dangle bead on the necklace over an inch.

I hope you like them and hope a little hope for me since I used them in our art centers yearly competition.


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#112276 My Cone 5 Glazes Don't Vitrify At Cone 5?

Posted by Pugaboo on 30 August 2016 - 04:48 PM

Ummm this might be a silly question but did you put a cone on a shelf in the kiln when you fired? If so, did it reach a full and proper bend?

If it didn't then your kiln never reached cone 5 despite what the controller might have said.


#112237 My Favorite Clay Types + Glazes: Whats The Recipe For Perfect Bisque And High...

Posted by Pugaboo on 30 August 2016 - 07:40 AM

If you want to monitor the cones dropping during the firing place them where they are visible through your peep holes. Do NOT open your lid during the firing you will crack all your pieces and singe your eyebrows off at the least. When you look through the peep to check during firing be sure to wear eye protection like welders glasses. Cone 04 is 1945 degrees and cone 6 is 2223 degrees there abouts this too will vary somewhat depending on your kiln and this is VERY HOT and dangerous to mess with.

if you have a digital controller it will automatically shut off a the temperature programmed. The cones you can then check once it's cooled off to see if you got the heat work needed. Then you can adjust the next firing up or down, you start with the basic firing schedule in the manual and adjust from there. If you are using a manual kiln you will need to go by the manual how to place the control cones in the holder, when to adjust the manual knobs, etc. I do not have a manual kiln and have never fired one so can't help there as it is much different than with a digitally controlled kiln. What kind do you have?

I HIGHLY recommend getting a book on kiln firing from the library or visiting and talking with someone that fires a kiln to have them explain in more detail.

Also it's not just turning in the kiln and heating as fast as possible to desired temperature. You will need to hold at certain temperatures to prevent the pieces from cracking, bursting, blowing up etc. For bisque you heat up SLOWLY to get the pieces safely to the desire temperature. It's more like saying of putting a frog in a cold pan of water and slowly heating it up and it will stay there and cook to death whereas if you drop a frog in boiling water it will jump out. You want your pots to sit there and safely react to the temperature increases not shock them by going too quickly. I hope that makes sense. Again borrow a book or talk to someone you know that fires a kiln regularly. Watch them load their kiln and set the firing schedule, etc.


#112225 Clear Glaze Forms Bubbles At Edges & Rims

Posted by Pugaboo on 29 August 2016 - 09:14 PM

I would try making a few simple new pieces.

1) bare clay no slip, bisqued as usual and then dipped in clear. Check to see if it bubbles. If it does it might mean your glaze is incompatible with your clay.

2) clay with WHITE slip applied, bisqued as usual and then dipped in clear. Check to see if it bubbles. If it does it might mean there is an issue going on with your slip and the glaze.

3) clay with a colored slip applied any color BUT this blue, bisqued as usual and then dipped in clear. Check to see if it bubbles. If it does NOT it might mean there is an issue going on with the blue you are putting in your slip and the glaze. If this is the case try using a different stain to color your blue slip and test it out.

The last thing I am going to mention, and this may or may not be your issue so I would test for this as well. You may have your clear glaze too thick. I use Amaco Zinc Free clear and it is very touchy about how thick it it applied. Too thick and it can change stain colors under it, make colors run, crawl, pit, get cloudy, etc. To test for this I would make up a 6x6 test tile, cover the entire thing with your blue slip then divide the tile down into strips and apply 1, 2 and 3 coats of your glaze. Fire and check to see if only portions bubble or the entire thing does.

Good luck and I hope you get it figured out. It's so frustrating when a lovely piece is ruined and you are not sure why.


#112224 My Favorite Clay Types + Glazes: Whats The Recipe For Perfect Bisque And High...

Posted by Pugaboo on 29 August 2016 - 08:40 PM

What they all said, everything thing is relative. Type of Kiln, size of kiln, controller on kiln, exhaust fan on kiln, thickness of pieces, types of pieces, how heavy the load is, how sure are you the load is dry, etc.

Look up the manufacturers website for the kiln you are using and download their manual. Most manuals have a firing schedule or 2 in them as a starting point.

I would suggest a slow bisque to begin until you are sure of water your pieces can handle anything else. I have an electric digital controlled kiln with a downdraft vent. I fire to cone 04 for bisque firing and my schedule takes about 13 hours to complete with a 10 minute hold at the end to help the heat even out in the kiln and get the heat work where I need it to be and a properly bent cone achieved. Oh! To start, as you learn ALWAYS use cones, on each shelf until you learn the cool and hot spots in the kiln.

Glaze firing, I use a slow glaze to cone 6 with a CNOS offset of 15 and with a hold added at the end to get the heat work where I need it and a perfectly bent cone. My glaze schedule takes about 8 hours to complete.

You can see with just the few answers you've gotten how different firing schedules can be that is why I suggest starting with a schedule printed in your manual.

Good luck!

#111970 Silkscreen Test Plates

Posted by Pugaboo on 25 August 2016 - 04:26 PM

Thank you everyone! Yes they are tests, needed to see how everything works together.

Joseph - yes there is a fade in the center. It's supposed to be more blue but came out too light. On the last smaller test I did with a slip of 10% blue I thought the blue distorted the flower colors too much so went with 5% this time. Now of course it's too light. Feel like the Goldilocks of slip coloring! In fact the background is a blend of blue, white and yellow. The blue is in the center of each plate fading to white then transitioning to yellow around the rim. I also think I need to narrow the yellow transition a bit more as well.

I am thinking of doing the backsides in the same yellow slip next time instead of the yellow glaze I did this time. If I do that I can add a bird or some butterflies to the backside to give it some interest as well. I have found I like adding little bits of interest or a mini surprise on the bottoms of my pieces. Right now it's just yellow with my logo silkscreened on it.

Oldlady - thank you! You as always are my most valued and appreciated friend. 😄 ( see? Still being good 😜)

I have also added additional silkscreened pieces to my gallery.


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#111925 Silkscreen Test Plates

Posted by Pugaboo on 24 August 2016 - 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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#111320 Supplies To Buy When Buying A First Wheel?

Posted by Pugaboo on 12 August 2016 - 10:08 PM

I'm fairly new to throwing about 3 years so here is what I figured out. I got some of those hardwood bats for my wheel used them a few times but they seemed so big for the size things I was making so never really used them, used the cheap plastic bats at the art center HATED them, they were warped and wobbled. I bought a Wonderbat system with the square inserts... LOVE IT. Like it so much ordered extra bats so I could make and set aside piece after piece. You have to remember though most of my stuff is fairly small since I do a lot of shipping if you do big a system like this might not work for you.

The wooden knife, as mentioned by others
A wire, bought or made whichever you prefer
Pin tool, to check bottoms until you get to where you "know" I've never actually used it for anything else it's too thick for cutting while hand building.
Sponge, you start out throwing too wet then use less water but I have a problem with my fingers locking and such so I use the sponge between my fingers and the pot to help control those unruly movements.
A rubber rib, experiment with a red, yellow and green and see which suits your style. They won't be wasted since I found I use them even more for hand building.
I bought chamois but ended up liking a piece of plastic better.
Trimming tools sad to say I am still using the cheapy starter set, they work just not as nice as a Bison.
As for an apron... When you start you might want a sheet of plastic! Seriously I was scraping clay of walls, dogs, and myself when I would inadvertently let things fly. I always wear an apron in the studio but have found a workshop hand towel over each thigh actually works better for the wheel.

Now the import at thing that made centering click for me. When you have your clay ball on your bat and you start centering, you look down at it and try and push or pull it with your hands to where your eyes tell you center is. DON'T. Instead put your hands on the clay in position to center then close your eyes, the clay will "tell" you where center is. I learned this trying to learn centering on the art centers wobbly bats. Once I closed my eyes and listened to the clay I knew what it wanted me to do to center it.

Other than all of that just be patient and it will come you can't be tense and throw or at least I can't for me it's a lot like meditating you center yourself as well as the clay. Watching someone that knows how to throw makes it look soooo easy and then when you start you try and do what they did and it all goes wonky... Again and again and again and again. You are scientific so think of it as cause and affect. If you push here it's going to make something happen there if you pull here something is going to happen down there, etc. Learning to throw will also improve your wedging skills since you will mess up lots wedge and try again.

Good luck I can hardly wait to see your fabulous glazes on pots you've thrown!


#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!