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#91470 Look Mark! My Sponge Holder Prototypes

Posted by Pugaboo on 26 August 2015 - 09:57 PM

I finally got around to trying out my own version of Marks wonderful thrown sponge holders. I used my extruder to create the walls and a slab for the base. I did two slightly different versions. The one on the left in each picture I cut the walls all the way to the base, it seemed kind of floppy and unstable, but might firm up ok once drier. The one on the right in each picture I left about a half inch lip connecting the walls, it seems a bit more stable. Not sure if I am going to need to curve the corners of the walls a bit or if the whole thing is going to warp when fired. I guess I'll see won't I!

These are still in the wet stage and have them wrapped up overnight, in the morning I will unwrap and loosely drape and start the drying process. I am not going to decorate or do anything special with these as I don't want to invest too much in what could very well be a flawed design. If they both survive the kiln I will decide which I like the look of better and use that as my pattern from here on. Once that's decided I can have some fun with the decorating and texturing like I like to do.

Attached Files

#91283 Very Fine Sheets

Posted by Pugaboo on 22 August 2015 - 05:33 PM

I agree with Marcia, roll out your clay to the desired thickness on top of a piece of canvas, lay a piece of drywall on top of the sheet, flip it over so it now lays on the drywall with canvas on top peel off the canvas. Drop the drywall and clay sheet on the floor to settle the clay. Trim it to the size desired without lifting or manipulating the clay in any way. Put another piece of drywall on top of the clay so that you now have a sandwich of drywall, clay, drywall. Put this somewhere out of the way and allow to dry, don't mess with it. Your sheets of clay should dry flat. The important thing is to never lift a flat sheet of clay once you have dropped it to settle or you will get warping in my experience.

Once it dries flat when you fire it use either silica on the kiln shelf or clay disks to raise them up off the shelf so they can shrink without curling in the kiln. Some like to fire them standing upright but I have not tried this upright method yet I always use clay disks and never have curling from firing.

It takes some experimentation to find the techniques that work for you good luck and keep at it and you'll get it done.


#91174 Qotw: Is Your Artistic Practice A Product Of Genetics Or The Environment?

Posted by Pugaboo on 20 August 2015 - 08:02 PM

Trying to think if either of my brothers are artistic and one works for a crop dusting company that builds special built million dollar choppers. My other brother is special needs but has never shown, at least to me, any desire to be creative. My father gave me my no nonsense approach. He always said if you are going to do something do it right, do it the best you can and never get sloppy or cut corners. He also taught me that a girl is just as capable of using power tools as a boy. My mother is a magician with fabric. She designs and makes the best teddy bears you have ever seen. She is also a brilliant quilter. She would give me art supplies but never gave me a list of this is what you have to do with them she let me experiment and find my own creative voice.

I was home schooled for the most part. I do remember when I was real little watching my mother sketch out things and wishing I could do that as well. She made me hand drawn paper dolls with little designer outfits from magazines, I still have a box of them. I mentioned the story of wanting to draw like her when I was a child to her about a year ago and she said that I had far surpassed her in this area. I was very flattered as I still feel I am not good enough and that I have to get better at it.

All my life I remember the craving to CREATE. To make something anything wonderful. As a child the best holdiday gifts were art supplies and books. Heck those are STILL the best gifts. I got married young and directed my creative urges into designing clothes for myself and my daughter, I designed outfits without using patterns, if I could see it I could deconstruct it and make it again. As my daughter got older and wanted store bought Mom seriously, I took an at home correspondence art course and it was fabulous, all the thoughts and colors finally got connected to my hands. I took some artist workshops, one with Daniel Greene, that opened doors in my mind filled with colors and patterns. I drew, painted, designed until the stockpile was overflowing and My husband suggested I try selling some of it. To my surprise they sold and here we are over 25 years later and I look back and am surprised at how long I have been making a living selling my creations.

Most of the creative people in my family tree do it with fabric. I have an Aunt that designs wonderful purses and sells them in small boutiques for small fortunes lol. I have Aunts that quilt and sew and I have uncles that work with wood making beautiful hand crafted heirloom furniture pieces, the stuff you pass down in your family for generations because it just gets better with age. I do know of one cousin that designs and sells high end jewelry and does really well at it. One of the things my family always did was our holiday gifts between aunts, uncles and cousins all had to be hand made by ourselves. They saw it as a way to level the price field with differing incomes and I don't think they realized at the time that it also gave all of us an appreciation for hand made items.

So I guess the answer is I was given a fertile creative field to grow in and blossomed when I dedicated the time to work at improving it.


#90684 Painting Underglazes On Bisque With Brushes

Posted by Pugaboo on 11 August 2015 - 09:55 PM


Great suggestion! I did something along the lines of what you describe when I first started using Underglazes. I took the full line of Amaco LUG underglazes and rolled out 2 sheets of little loafers then lightly scored the surface dividing into into equal rectangles. I used black underglaze and wrote the name in the first column. Column 2 and 3 put 1 coat of underglaze for each color, column 4 and 5 2 coats, column 6 and 7 3 coats. Bisque fired. Then I glazed using Amacos Zinc Free clear columns 3, 5, and 7. Glaze fired to come 6. Each row has the layers glazed and unglazed colors shown for each underglaze color and the columns show me how all the colors, layers applied and glaze look compared to each other. The only color I had pretty much disappear was Rose. So I don't use Rose unless I want to have a faded streaky kind of affect against another darker color. I keep these 2 "palettes" hanging next to my drawing table so I can refer to them quickly and easily while I am working.

The reason I did this was I needed to "see" how the colors changed in each instance so I can control how they look on a finished hand painted piece, especially important for portraits and such.

I think it's a good idea for newbies to do so until they are able to "see" the colors out of the bottle since they do change from wet to final firing.


#90482 Painting Underglazes On Bisque With Brushes

Posted by Pugaboo on 08 August 2015 - 10:07 PM

Babs- interesting. I do 95% of my painting at the greenware and bone dry stages and have never had any bloating issues. Do you mind if I ask what clay and cone you fire to? I use Little Loafers cone 6.

Seaweed- if you paint underglaze on greenware you bisque fire it after you paint it then dip it in a zinc free clear and glaze fire it. If you paint on bisque ware the underglaze reacts differently and I have found dampening the surface with water works. I keep a spray bottle handy and keep moistening the surface so the colors will float across the surface better. As to colors for cone 6, I have been very pleased with my color palette choices and would not even consider dropping to a low fire clay.


#90479 Low Fire Pottery

Posted by Pugaboo on 08 August 2015 - 09:16 PM

I have found to get really nice smooth finishes with underglaze that it helps to paint it on greenware at the leather hard to hard leatherhard stage. If you do it on bone dry I have used a mister to spritz the surface and then apply the underglaze with a water color wash brush. I think some of the streakiness might be from the clay absorbing the pigments too quickly and making it hard to get a nice even coat. If you have any painting experience think of how a watercolor wash goes on water color paper, you always dampen the paper before doing a wash otherwise you get streaks. I have found bone dry clay reacts a lot like dry watercolor paper. I also always apply the underglaze in up down layer then left right layer then the diagonal layer if I think it needs a final coat. Another thing I will do if it's on a fairly large area with no other decoration like for a background once it is dry, wear a mask, and lightly buff the underglaze with your index finger to smooth out any brush strokes. A final step is after this I sometimes also spritz it once more with water to dampen and compact the dry pigment.

There is no one answer in every undeglaze application to getting flat smooth underglaze layer you kind of have to try several methods and then remember (and this is the hard part!) which works under which circumstance.

I hope this helps.


#90257 Low Fire Pottery

Posted by Pugaboo on 04 August 2015 - 08:53 PM


I use a cheap $85 HP Laserjet Pro P1102w printer. I get the transfer paper from Decalpaper.com
The important thing is whatever printer you use it needs to use toner and print ONLY black and white no color. The toner needs to have iron in it that is what makes your image when you fire it everything but the iron brims away and it melts right into your glaze making it food safe, dishwasher safe, etc. You also need to print 1 sheet at a time giving the printer time to cool down inbetween or your could melt the transfer to your print head. I usually print a whole sheet cut out all the designs, which is a lot since I fill up every squar inch of paper, and by the time I have cut everything out I can print the next page, etc.

I would suggest getting a small pack of the transfer paper and see if you can find a printer to borrow to start unless you have one of these type printers hanging around. Test if it will do what you need before investing in a printer and a large quantity of paper.

I use this technique to put custom names and dates on pieces even those that have the rest of it hand painted. It makes for nice clear legible wording and even better tell the customer to email you exactly what they want on the piece and simply cut and past that way there is less danger of getting it spelled wrong or something.

I hope this helps.


#89740 Qotw: What Makes Something Qualify As Hand Made?

Posted by Pugaboo on 28 July 2015 - 10:11 PM

What is Hand Made?

Since I helped open this can of worms (boy are you going to be wishing we were still on Pandoras box) this is where I come from...
Oh and this is going to get LONG, what is actually considered "handmade" and or "art" is a button pusher for me.

To me Handmade is created by the hands of the artist selling it. Not outsourced. If someone buys something and adds to it then it should be labeled "embellished". Use of technology and machinery to create a handmade item is okay as well as long as it takes creative input and the product put out is not 100% identical time after time. (This is tricky when it comes to photography and print making) and I'm not talking about using jewelery findings or adding purchased wooden spoons and like items to your pieces these are fine since they only enhance the product and are not THE product.

As a photographer other artists hated me because I wasn't doing "real" art. Snap a picture how hard is that it's not creative at all. I shot b&w infra-red and high speed 3200 films, I loved doing double exposures and such, I used a manual Nikon camera, had my own darkroom, developed my own film, wet printed my own photos, matted and framed my own work, wrote a poem to go with each piece, etc. But I still did nothing but click a button to most people, I didnt "hand make" anything.

Then as a commercial graphic artist I was frowned on upon by other "true artists" how dare I sully the world with art for monetary gain. A true artist doesn't create what sells they follow their muse. If said muse says stick garbage in a shopping cart well it still qualifies as handmade ART while for some of my art, which I sketched, then scanned, manipulated in the computer and printed using a special pigment printer, then manipulated some more after it was printed by painting, cutting, stacking, etc was crass garbage. Even now when someone asks why do you make this and not that, I say I make this because it sells, if I make that I end up dusting it for the next 10 years they look insulted that I consider its saleablilty before making it. sigh Still not hand making anything.

I understand the question of the artist rakuku in your gallery and because of this issue I tend not to show my printed art very many places. I sell it on my website and such instead and I state how I do it. But I don't number, more on this issue next. Doing festivals I would come across people that only offered "numbered prints" impressive right? Well I bought the last of an edition by an artist and a year later saw them again offering the same image. When asked about it was told, well the size was changed by half an inch so I can now offer it as a new series. Seriously? So to me a numbered print is a joke UNLESS they state on the piece that it is number ___ in the series inclusive of all sizes printed. "Print" Pet peeve addressed SORRY

Present Day:
I now use pottery to combine my photography, sketching and painting. Somethings I hand paint free hand style right in the piece, very labor intensive very expensive price tag. Other items I use handmade transfers of various types created from my own designs, some copyright free patterns, vintage wallpaper, etc, not so expensive though still labor intensive. My final level are items with mostly my own designs and artwork along with some copyright free border type designs put on the piece using laser transfers that I make myself, much cheaper and not so labor intensive. Want to guess which level I sell the most of? The one most people are fascinated by? The laser transfers! I personally would rather hand paint everything but it can take a year to sell something with this high of a price tag and I kind of like eating and paying my bills.

One of the things I do to keep the costs and labor expense down is to use machinery and technology. I have a Slabroller, a wheel, an extruder, an electric kiln, digital scale, a computer (which by the way I designed and built from the circuit boards out but I'm not a geek honestly), a scanner, 4 different printers, digital cameras, and access to the Internet. Can I do what I do without all of that? Sure but it's going to take way longer and be priced way higher and I'll propably have to get a day job to pay the bills while I wait and hope some high end buyer comes along to buy a piece. Every piece I sell is created by me with my own 2 hands, no helpers, no outsourcing, so is what I do considered handmade? Probably not to some.


#89572 Qotw: Are We Copycats?

Posted by Pugaboo on 25 July 2015 - 10:05 PM

A most excellent question!

My feeling is this:

All of us absorb things from the world around us, sights, sounds, smells, textures, etc. As artists our job is to percolate those things and release them back into the world in a way that shows our own creative interpretation of it all.

I think directly copying someone's work in order to sell it yourself is wrong. I go out of my way to bring my own vision to the pieces that I make. If I see one of the local potters making certain shapes or forms at our local art center gallery I tend to go the opposite way so as to not to copy their work in any way. They need to make a living and so do I if we all make the same stuff we only hurt ourselves.

I am currently teaching a series of classes on design for pottery. I show them how to make a simple form, plate, box, vase, etc. But the focus is on putting designs and artwork on their pieces. I created the class series because I get told all the time by other potters oh I can't put an image or design on my pieces I'm not an ARTIST. So I designed a series of classes to show potters that yes they too are capable of putting images and designs on their pots. I stress using their own sketches (not likely), photos and copyright free images.

I got asked during the first class aren't you worried that teaching us how to do this is going to affect your sales? I told them no becasue each of us has a different things that we are attracted to. I like boxes, pugs and pastel colors, you might like bowls, frogs and bright colors how is what you do going to affect what I do? That got them to thinking about what forms and patterns they like.

At the end of the class I told them, I hope you all enjoyed the class and will take the techniques I have shown you and push them even further and make them your own. I really hope they do, I am in fact excited to see what they come up with on their own as they explore their new knowledge.


#89562 Freestanding Retail/studio Location

Posted by Pugaboo on 25 July 2015 - 05:00 PM




Inspiring, too bad I live in a place where they have codes for the color of your shingles and everything else they can think of. Your story is amazing, congratulations on all your hard work paying off and I hope it continues to grow by leaps and bounds.

PS. I too would like to see the interior of the shop space.

#89561 Low Fire Pottery

Posted by Pugaboo on 25 July 2015 - 04:52 PM

Have you considered doing laser transfers for your words? You print them yourself so the price is really reasonable.

You make your piece, bisque fire, then glaze, glaze fire, finish by applying the transfer and firing again to bisque temp. If you want additional color use an overglaze to color in parts of the laser transfer. I have attached a couple examples so you can see the detail possible with this technique as well as a piece I added additional color afterwards in the red hearts.

Attached File  image.jpg   380.01KB   8 downloads

Attached File  image.jpg   82.15KB   5 downloads


#89358 Qotw: Would You Open Pandora's Box?

Posted by Pugaboo on 22 July 2015 - 10:17 PM

I find myself in a quandary ...
To open or not to open
What if I want to do both?

I like to plan, do, succeed

But my father instilled a strong sense of curiosity concerning the world around me. So I would measure the box, examine it, research it, learn all I could about it.... Then open it and see what happens.

I should also state I named one of my Pugs, Pandora.


#89353 Christening A New Kiln - The Kiln Gods

Posted by Pugaboo on 22 July 2015 - 09:54 PM

I have said for years that my husband is of the opinion we have magical Pixies that come through and clean the house up. Having them working the kiln sounds like an even better idea!

Aren't we supposed to put out dishes of cream or something to keep the house pixies happy???


#89269 Are There Any Laws Of Pottery?

Posted by Pugaboo on 21 July 2015 - 11:17 PM

*HUGS* Babs

It never fails when you absolutely need it something goes wrong. I've gotten in the habit of making 2 of most stuff just to keep the kiln gremlins confused.... Do we wreck this piece or that one? Grumble grumble grumble. Take that kiln gremlins!

My Mom appreciates the duplicates and doesn't seem to mind I mark the bottoms of hers "artist copy". The ones the gremlins do get to generally end up in recycle or if only slightly whacked then somewhere around my house.

I hope the next firing goes better. Heck glue all those shards together and call it modern art!


#88821 Hardening On Underglaze

Posted by Pugaboo on 13 July 2015 - 09:39 AM

I think it's interesting the way we all have different methods of using underglaze. I start painting it on at the soft leather hard stage all the way up to bone dry depending on the look I am going for. Then I bisque at 04 and will sometimes continue to add design to a piece with underglaze at this stage. Sometimes I fire at bisque again sometimes I just glaze and fire.

On soft leatherhard up to leatherhard I can get really nice watercolor type washes, bone dry gives me very sharp lines and clean up is easy if I make a mistake. I can also carve into the designs doing it this way. After bisquing I will add details I want separated clearly from the colors around it like highlights and contrast. I almost always rebisque if I do a lot of black or dark blue as I have found those colors are really touchy about have a glaze put over them without setting the underglaze. They will have color shifts or even run into the clear on top of it.