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Member Since 15 Feb 2013
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#125749 Heat Gun Options

Posted by Pugaboo on 24 April 2017 - 08:50 PM

I use both. The heat gun primarily for speeding up the drying of Underglaze to a paste consistency for silk screening. I also use it for heating up occasional pieces that I need to reglaze to help the glaze stick to the already glazed piece.

The blow dryer I use for firming up clay pieces to continue working on them. I also use it at times to make the glaze dry quicker on something, like the inside of a box form which tends to take longer to dry and I get bored waiting to move on to the next step.

I did learn to never use either tool to speed up the drying of a silkscreen... now that was an expensive lesson. I had to remake the entire screen.


#125709 Firing Flowers

Posted by Pugaboo on 23 April 2017 - 08:16 PM

I make, shape and assemble my flowers with wet clay. I poke a hole in them for a stem I add later. They are dried, then VERY CAREFULLY bisque fired. When the flowers are bone dry they are super fragile so handle them carefully as you load them in the kiln. Once bisqued they are glazed and placed on stilts to fire. When done I grind off any little spots from the stilts and add wire for the stems. There are several ways to make stems for flowers including using clay, I like wire because I can shape the finished flowers into bouquets and arrange in vases.

I should note I use Little Loafers cone 6 clay and fire in an electric kiln.

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#124935 Glaze Melding

Posted by Pugaboo on 06 April 2017 - 10:28 AM

I made myself some bead racks so I don't have to use stilts and can glaze the entire jewelry piece. Since you have what sounds like a small kiln you could make the bead racks to fit into the space you have.


#124823 Need Pictures Of Kiln With Pottery Fired Too Hot In It

Posted by Pugaboo on 04 April 2017 - 08:23 PM

Thank you everyone I am so glad I'm not the only one that thinks it's... well... plain stupid.... to allow unknown stuff to be fired in our kilns. I have saved a few photos and will follow the link to try and get a couple more. I will take the most graphic of the bunch and print it up and show the powers that be and then hang it in the kiln room and just point to it when I say no to firing mystery pieces.

Thank you all again you are amazing!


#124762 Need Pictures Of Kiln With Pottery Fired Too Hot In It

Posted by Pugaboo on 03 April 2017 - 09:14 PM

Yes I know a weird thing to ask for. I need a picture or pictures of what happens to a kiln when a clay body is overfired in a kiln.

I'm trying convince the powers that be that firing work made elsewhere, with unknown clay and glazes is something we don't want to do. That the risk of something going wrong if the person doesn't understand what happens to overfired clay in a kiln isn't worth risking our kilns over. A $10 shelf fee to fire these pieces just doesn't offset the danger to our equipment.

I called around and nobody around here will fire work unless it's made on their premises. I called some places in other states, most won't do it either but a couple do with some kind of weird cubic inch formula that sounded like more trouble than it's worth.

I want our policy to be if you want your pieces fired in our kilns you have to buy your clay from us.

The price of the clay includes a bisque and glaze firing. It seems to me if you know you are making something and you don't have a kiln then you can get your clay here to get it fired. If you are making something too large to fit in your own kiln then plan ahead and buy the clay from us. I realize they can still say it's made with clay from us and have it be from somewhere else but I just don't know how else to state it.

In my own kilns I won't fire something made outside of class by a student. I have no way of knowing what was used and I can't afford to lose a kiln or have one out of commission for any period of time. I've had too many people answer when asked....

Question: what kind of clay is it?
Answer: "it's white clay"
Question: what cone is it?
Answer: "what's a cone?"
Question: what temperature does it fire to?
Answer: "I don't know my teacher put it in the kiln"
Question: where did you get the clay?
Answer: "at the art store"
Or worse: "somebody gave it to me"
If answered at the art store do you have the receipt?
No I didn't keep it.
Sigh and on and on and on

I also know a lot are completely confused as to the difference between cone 06 and cone 6. In the past someone bought some pretty glazes and used them. When the kiln was opened it was realized they bought cone 06 NOT cone 6 glazes. When asked why they did that the answer was I thought it meant the same thing, it has a 6 in it! Grrrrrr

So I am looking for pictures to prove my point as to why we don't want to fire work made elsewhere with mystery clay and glazes. Nothing like seeing it to get a point across.


#123816 Ceramic Transfers

Posted by Pugaboo on 15 March 2017 - 08:22 PM

Are you looking for color or monotone images? Images with lots of details and words or just simple patterns?

The type of imagery you are looking to use will often dictate the method of transfer needed to be used.

I use:
Mason Stain Transfer
Underglazes Transfers
Laser Transfers
Silkscreen Transfers
Color Ceramic Ink Transfers (purchased)

They all work depending on the look you are going for. More details on what you are trying to do might help so I can give you a better idea what method to use.

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#122790 Qotw: Are You Throwing Wearing Bling Bling?

Posted by Pugaboo on 23 February 2017 - 05:24 AM

I wear a simple gold wedding band and it never comes off... not even sure if it CAN at this point. It doesn't cause trouble most of the time, every once in a while I will be forming a piece that I have 3 fingers inside of and 2 out and the band presses against and makes a little mark.

I do wear a Fitbit unless I am throwing or handbuilding tall enclosed forms where the thing would drag along the side and cause havoc.

I wear several silver hoops at all times in my ears but so far have not stuck my head inside any pieces so they've not been a problem.

I design and wear necklaces and chunkier bracelets but not in the studio, those I only put on as I leave the house. I'm a walking billboard for those and have had people buy the piece I am wearing right off me. Weird but true.... ooo how pretty, thank you I make them... really? Can I buy? Sure go to bla bla site I have a bunch there.... no can I by THIS ONE.... umm sure? I've been wearing it and all... oh I don't care I have to have it..... ummmm okay.... Sale! The strangest things that happen.

Oh and I wear a silver ankle bracelet with a Pug on it, put it on when my first Pug died, have only taken it off for medical procedures since then. She was always at my ankle and she still is.


#122366 2 Questions?

Posted by Pugaboo on 15 February 2017 - 05:21 PM

My current festival range is $50-$150 for a 10x10 space, with a majority falling at $75.

Most of my festivals are 1 day events, all are local. For me at this point in my life traveling long distances and being away from home overnight just isn't possible. I have found I really like the 1 day events, if it's nice not too hot no chance of rain I don't even put up a canopy. I use an ez-up when I do use one and I weigh it down really well.

I kind of have a formula that I use to decide whether I return to a festival after the first time. My examples are all for 1 day local festivals which means no hotels, bring a bag lunch from home, only a couple gallons of gas at most, free parking, can walk there from home, etc. My only expenses are fees, materials and what I pay myself. If I make less than $250 I won't do it again. If I make $250-$350 I will give it another shot, this is especially true if there are other factors like weather that I think contributed to the low amount. When I reach $350 it goes into the lets try this again and see if my sales increase as people learn to look for me there. Anything over $500 is a definite do again. When I reach the $1000 mark it's skipping home clapping my hands in glee hugging the festival promoting on the way out. I have had a few $1000+ one day shows but around here with the average attendance of less than 3000 people I usually do between $500 and $750. I have had a couple that even though the sales were low, under $300, but I did get a large custom order from, that was delivered and paid for later, that I will do again since the custom order shows that there IS money to be had at the venue.

You have to kind of decide for yourself what your comfort level is and what amount makes it worth it for you to do it.


#122261 How Much Should I Have Made For My First Art Show?

Posted by Pugaboo on 13 February 2017 - 08:49 PM

Agree with everything said already. Every new festival is a new animal, you will have to learn which each location needs.

At a festival I do group stuff together by kind and also by color. Meaning baskets of mini dishes, spoon rests, mug display, etc. Then in another display it's stuff that is glazed to go together plates, mugs, bowls, as well as a Spoon rest, mug etc. This way people can see MUGS, if that is all they are looking for but I also give them a chance to see a full color line of items together so if they are looking for blue, or floral they can see how the pieces look together. The baskets I scatter throughout the tent starting at the front and all the way to the back. People make their own "sets" as they progress through the tent if a set if what they are looking for.

Sometimes I will get asked if I will give a discount if someone buys a whole set of mugs, tray, spoons, mini dishes, etc together. I usually say yes unless they are rude in the asking.. like I'm going to need a discount if I buy all this together. Ummm then the answer is no my prices are as marked. If on the other hand they say oh wow I love this and this and this, would it be possible to get a discount if I buy all of this? Then it's sure, let me help you find all the pieces that go together.

As a festival artist you learn to go loaded for bear, bringing more than you could possibly expect to sell, so that when that DOES happen you are prepared. You never know but at that particular show the only thing that might sell at all is wizzygigs and if you only brought 2 you are in trouble. If you have done the show a few times you can start to get an idea, I have sold 14 wizzygigs the past 3 times I did this show so I will pack 20 hoping for an increase in popularity.


#122255 How Much Do You Charge For A Mug?

Posted by Pugaboo on 13 February 2017 - 05:55 PM

I've got mine priced at 12oz -$22 and 20oz - $30 and I have the most expensive mugs around here. I just don't like making mugs and decided if I was going to have to make them I would get a price I could live with for them... they still sell at these prices and sometimes at festivals I think, Yay I sold a dozen mugs.... then sigh I sold a dozen mugs now i gotta make more before next weekend.

I think the price also has a lot to do with your location, big cities and the coasts seem to get more per mug out here in the boonies the prices tend to run lower.


#121967 Novice Firing Question

Posted by Pugaboo on 09 February 2017 - 08:28 AM

Tanvi504 - welcome to the forum.

There are a few issues with your plan and a few ways of getting around them.

Do NOT bisque fire your cone 5 clay to cone 5, your clay will be fully vitrified at that point and it will be impossible to get the white glaze to stick to it. Most Underglazes will remain dull if not covered in a clear glaze and some will burn out at cone 5 if not covered with a clear glaze.

Now for suggestions on how to get you where you want to go...
1) Paint your bone dry piece with a white underglaze
2) Paint your design work on using your underglazes
3) Bisque fire to cone 04
4) Glaze your piece with Amaco HF-9. This is a Zinc free clear that doesn't affect and cause strange things to happen with your underglaze colors. Regular clears can at time do so.
5) Fire your glazed piece to cone 5

Alternative suggestion...
1) bisque fire your piece to cone 04
2) glaze your piece with the white you have chosen
3) use Mayco Stroke n Coat to paint your design. This line of glazes turn glossy at cone 5. This will not work if your white glaze runs AT ALL. If it does it will cause your design work to move as well and possibly ruin it.
4) fire your glazed and painted piece to cone 5

Now I highly recommend making a couple of test pieces and try out both ways to see what turns out best. I hope this helps and good luck let us know how it turns out.


#121799 Hydrometer

Posted by Pugaboo on 05 February 2017 - 09:16 PM

Thank you both!

So here is my current plan after reading all the responses here as well as some glaze books and even manufacturer glaze sheets:

I plan to make up a bunch of small bowls, get the glazes to about where I think they should be using the dip a finger method, use the hydrometer, write that on the bottom of the bowl, fire it, check to see how the glaze has fired, then if needed adjust the glaze, repeat as necessary until I can get a suitable test fire with it, then write that number on the glaze container label.

With pottery there never seems to be a one size fits all kind of rule and I know the answer is always TEST TEST TEST.

Thanks again!
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#121511 Youtube Video Potters

Posted by Pugaboo on 31 January 2017 - 08:07 AM

I know you can gets books from the library on building a foot powered wheel, I think some here have even done so using mostly found items. Raku can be fired in a garbage can, pit firing all you need is some ground and a shovel. Yes I know that is a simplified version but it's possible to do pottery with very little.

The art center here is $35 a month for studio time and $25 for a bag of clay which also covers the cost of glazes and firing. I know several ladies that participate on very limited incomes but love clay so much they make it work. There is even a once a year festival where they can set up and sell their work and make a little money to help pay for the other costs.

All the bells and whistles are great in a studio but the determination to do clay is overcomes everything.


#121386 Choosing An Angle Grinder

Posted by Pugaboo on 28 January 2017 - 05:39 PM

Wow thanks everyone! Lots of great info... thank you for all the extra safety tips I will definitely use them, I am a firm believer in safety first! I think I will get a smaller model so it's easier for me to control and I will try and get one without a lock on switch or if it has one not use it. I am comfortable with power tools but also treat them with respect, loaded gun respect since they can do just as much damage if not used carefully.

My kilns at home I keep kiln washed and know my glazes so other than the once in a blue moon pencil eraser size dot of glaze I only have to do anything with the shelves when the kiln wash starts to flake and chip. Then I go outside, use my mask and a hand tool that looks like a big eraser but has rough stuff on it. It only takes about and hour to remove the old wash and then replace it.

The issue I have now is.... drumroll please....

I got a job. Yup someone actually decided to hire me.

I will be the new Pottery Director at our local art center. I am thrilled to be able to do something I LOVE and actually get paid for it. It's also nice that it is part time so I can still continue growing my own business. I have found I love teaching and it allows me to spend more time doing that as well. I think it will be a good fit, just have to implement some changes to improve it for everyone.

In preparation for taking the job I have gone through and checked what needs work and such. Well quite frankly the kilns are in desperate need. One of the first things I noticed is that their kiln shelves are approaching modern art status. They don't look like they have been kiln washed in years, nor has most of the glaze been removed, I sliced my thumb open just picking one up to see if the other side was any better, there was a jagged glaze blob right on the underside. Sigh that was fun. So anyhow there is no way I am getting them in any kind of shape without a major tool to help me... hence the angle grinder search. Personally if I owned them I would just buy new ones, but then if I owned them they wouldn't be in the shape they are in.

I think I also figured out the reason they are having so much glaze run off their pots and onto their shelves... their thermocouples are shot, or at least that's my opinion. One of them looks more like a broken corroded pipe than a solid round tipped thermocouple and they use the same thermocouples that my kiln uses so I know what they should look like. I have no idea what cone it's actually firing to, I looked for some cones to put in and test with the load of pieces but couldn't find any anywhere, I'll have to bring some from home to get started helping me figure out just what is going on inside that kiln. I won't know for sure until I fire a load with cones in several places throughout the kiln.

I am also going to have to patch some of the kiln bricks, they haven't been using a shelf on the bottom but placing pots right on the floor, along with the accompanying globs of glaze.

Don't even get me started on the second kiln that's for another day and another question on brick repairs and digital controller repairs.


#121176 Poor Basic Skill Sets, And Their Consequences

Posted by Pugaboo on 24 January 2017 - 09:09 PM

When I took my classes Wheel consisted of basically one session watching the teacher at the wheel and then getting on it and trying myself. Not much instruction, I had no idea about so much and have just been figuring it out myself with help from here, videos, books, etc.

First thing I discovered was I couldn't center for the life of me until I closed my eyes. As soon as I did this the clay TOLD ME what it needed. I find closing my eyes to center the clay also centers me. Puts me in the right frame of mind and more connected to the clay. I tell my students now to listen to their clay it's telling them what it needs. It's funny when they close their eyes and try centering that way for the first time and they go, "OH! I knew exactly what it needed to make it centered!" Such a simple thing yet often overlooked. I only teach basic Wheel as I feel it is my weakest forming method mostly because of back issues. But I try and give them a good foundation to build on as they practice on their own.