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Member Since 15 Feb 2013
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 09:58 PM

Topics I've Started

How Often To Clean Your Kiln?

Yesterday, 04:12 PM

I have been wondering how often I should remove everything and clean out my kiln? Every time? Monthly? Every so many firings?

I keep a bottom shelf in there all the time, and am wondering how often I should remove it and vacuum, brush, etc everything including the walls and element grooves.

I brush off the shelves every time before using them and do kiln wash, etc. I also do a visual check of the interior before each use and have never had anything explode and am very careful with glaze drips and such.

Oh and yes I know to wear a respirator while doing the cleaning.


Festival Survival

02 November 2014 - 06:12 PM

I had an interesting day yesterday to say the least. I had a festival in North Georgia. I also had snow, wind, and cold. YAY

Setup was set to start at 7:30 am. I am usually one of the first to arrive since I like to take my time and not risk hurting my back. I decided to show up at 8:30 instead. You have no idea what a huge decision this was for me... I am always early for everything, I still can't believe I managed it. 😜

Secretly I am hoping the show promoter will tell me it's been cancelled when I pull up. I arrive and am told cheerfully that the show would go on that we were tougher than a little bit of weather. Hmmm Weather Advisory anyone? Pulling into the site the first view to greet me is a lone tent upside down in the middle of the field. It looked like a squashed spider with crooked spindly legs sticking out in every direction. The legs had a nice chunky profile though where the PVC weights were still attached and visible between the flapping shreds of the tent top. Has no one around here heard of the weather channel except me? 20-25mph sustained winds with 40mph gusts, rain, sleet, snow and Max temperature of 40-45. Woo hoo lazy sunbathing weather, oh wait I can't get a tan for the life of me so I guess I'll just do the festival instead.

I decide to set up my display but not to put up my tent, easy ups are not known for liking wind. I just didn't feel like practicing my tent flying skills. Lazy thing aren't I? I had brought extra weights. I usually have 4 25lb wrap around sand bag style weights that I use but I had raided the gym on my way through the garage and grabbed 2 25lb and 2 30lb kettle bell weights to add to this. I also grabbed my spiral anchors and an extra pack of ratchet straps. I was really worried about bending the frame trying to keep everything on the ground.

While setting up my displays I had to clamp the fabric covers down since they were flapping around like crazy. I zip tied all the wooden crates together and then to my tables. Whatever would I do without zip ties, wish I knew who invented them so I could send them a thank you note. I had to put pieces of wood under the table legs as the ground was wet and soft and they started sinking before I even had pots on them. Oh and why do they never sink equally? It's always to one side or the other, something really weird about that let me tell you. I zip tied my plate racks and sculptures to the crates and taped the plates to the racks. While I was doing this other artists would stop and ask, "aren't you worried about the rain?" My answer, "Nope pots don't care if they get wet and I have a rain coat and umbrella for me." They would answer, "oh" and wander off. Lol I guess my answer wasn't the one they wanted to hear.

From the looks of it about 1/3 to 1/2 of the artists didn't even show up. My husband said oh you mean the smart ones stayed home. Ummm... I set up what does that say about me? He just gave me a look. I guess he doesn't want cooked food this week huh. Mr. supportive stayed home with the dogs which is just as well having to listen to even one more person whine about the cold might have done me in.

The day progressed, the sun came out which was a blessing and made me even happier I didn't put up my canopy as it warmed up my space quite nicely. The wind was relentless and so was the cold. There was a handful of people braving the elements. I sold some items but nothing big. They didn't want to carry anything and expose their hands to the cold. If it was small enough to fit in their pocket they were interested but just barely. Spoon rests sold, colorful fall leaves did not. Personally I think Polar Bears have no need of leaves but find spoon rests useful for their big bear spoons. The show had the capability of be a great one if the weather had just cooperated. Thank goodness for spoon rests... Seriously spoon rests saved my rump.

By the end of the day I had the pleasure of watching another tent flip over, covered my show fees, supply fees, got paid for creation time, and made a little bit of profit as long as I don't pay myself for the time spent selling. I'm such a good volunteer I really must ask me to help out again! The booth behind me sold nothing, the booth next to me sold nothing, the booth on the other side never showed up. The booth diagonally behind me was a potter and he sold some. I'm thinking around $200 but it could have been more or less. The woman selling hats and scarves 2 booths down made a killing. Gee I wonder why? Any ideas??? Maybe I should have knitted little caps and scarves for my Pug sculptures and mugs then I might have sold some.

Towards the end of the show I am sitting there wrapped up in five layers of clothes fantasizing about Oldlady's closet full of wool sweaters. Weird but true, I actually got to debating with my self as to just how many layers of wool sweaters it would take to turn one into the Michelin man and have to be rolled away. Thank you oldlady for mentioning your lovely closet stuffed full of warm and toasty wool sweaters, I being a past Florida girl probably own 2, but at least it gave me something to take my mind off the loss of feeling in my extremities.

Anyhowwww sitting there wondering why I hadn't thought to bring a blanket a guy walks up and goes... "How can you be so calm? It's irritating!"

"Ummm excuse me do I know you?"

He points off in the other direction and I guess he can see me from his booth or something. I ask, "What is there to be stressed about? I can't control the weather, once I decided to do the show the only thing to worry about was tent or no tent, that decided there's nothing left to do but hope for the best." I told him the stress goes away when there are no options to choose from. He grumbled something and stalked away. Oh well another unhappy noncustomer. I really must work on my people skills.

The day continues, the clouds build, the temperatures plummet, the handful of wanderers stagger frigidly off to their cars and hey what do you know it's 5pm and I didn't blow away. YIPEE, success I am soooo good at this. lol The show promotor comes by and hands out checks for the $25 deposit we sent with our applications. Those of us still standing at the end of the day earned our deposits back. Woo hoo! I'm rich whatever shall I do with all the money!

The only thing good about tear down was that for the first time in 8 hours I wasn't shivering. Oh and the fact that it was really quick since I had no tent to take down... Really must think on this use of no tent policy of mine for the future just imagine all the stuff I could leave at home. On the other hands the medical bills to care for my skin cancer might eat into that joy some so I guess maybe it's best to just stick with a tent and take a bit longer to tear down.

Show survived, pots packed, car heater running full blast, I looked at my husband, grinned and said, "Gosh the life of an artist is so glamorous, so easy, no responsibilities, do what I want, not a worry in sight, it just doesn't get better than this."

He just rolled his eyes and said, "I think you froze more than your toes."



Using Pam On A Mold And Having And Issue With Fine Cracks

26 October 2014 - 10:15 PM

Can using Pam cause your seams to crack?

I haven't really used any kind of mold for making stuff before oh and I am not talking slip casting more like a hump or slump.

I found this old green plastic bowl, atrocious color but interesting shape it's round on the bottom but square on the top. I liked the shape so got it brought it home and made a stencil shape from the sides to use as a guide to cut out my clay. I need to add texture to the surface of the clay and it needs to be shaped in a curved manner, etc so I decided to build the form around the outside of the bowl using it like a slump mold. I have heard of Pam being used to "grease" a mold so the clay won't stick to it so sprayed the outside of the bowl with Pam. I built my bowl finished the outside seams, added my texture, firmed it up a bit with my blow dryer and using a piece of drywall flipped the bowl upside down and off the "slump mold". I sprayed the inside of the mold aka plastic bowl with Pam and then carefully settled my clay bowl into it. I added coils of clay to all the seams after scoring and slipping. I smoothed out the seams and even used a pony roller to make sure they were really nicely joined. I sat the bowl aside in the mold until it shrank enough to pull away slightly from the interior edges of the bowl. I then removed it entirely from the mold to dry on its own.

The first time I had a problem with the bowl it got through the glaze firing but came out with all these fine cracks on the inside and upon examination it looks to me like the cracks follow the seams and even radiate out from them... As if where I smoothed the coils into the surrounding clay also cracked. The second time I had a problem it didn't even make it to bone dry when upon very close examination I noticed these same fine cracks appearing. The cracks are only on the interior of the bowl not on the exterior at all.

Question... Can using Pam contaminate the surrounding clay so that when joining two pieces of clay together they will not meld and blend properly and cause cracks?

I am VERY familiar with building boxes, trays with handles, embellishing pieces with other pieces of clay etc and have NEVER lost a piece to cracking until I decided to try and use a mold sprayed with Pam. oh and I didn't use a plastic sheet as I have noticed it can leave creases in the clay if pressed up against it too tightly which inside of a mold would do even more than just wrapping a box to stop the drying.

Additional details:
Little Loafers cone 6
the bone dry bowl I already tossed into reclaim
the fired bowl I could try and get some pics of but the cracks are very fine and the camera might not catch them.
Nothing else in the kiln load cracked and I let it cool all the way down
Yes I have used the glaze combination before with no issues.
No the pieces were not dropped or banged in any way, it's my private studio, and I was extremely careful.

Soooo any suggestions why the cracks are appearing when they never have before? Any suggestions on what to use to get the clay to release from the mold?


Everything In This Photo Sold At 1 Day Festival... Why?

01 October 2014 - 05:02 PM

I was just reviewing what I sold this past Saturday at a one day festival. I took this photo just before the festival and used it as one of my images to apply to another festival. Everything in this photo sold. I don't normally use bright colors like this, orange especially but was feeling kind of "fall" and made the leaves then decided to make the bowl to display the leaves had extra clay so made the spoon rests and mini dishes, etc etc. Next thing I knew I had enough to create a grouping and titled this line of work, "Falling Brightly".

I wonder if buyers were also attracted to the fall colors and that's why everything sold from this one line of work? I sold other stuff, a lot of other stuff but this line was obliterated. This got me wondering, do you focus the colors you use on your pots to the season?


Collaborative Work

02 September 2014 - 04:48 PM

Old lady and I collaborated on a small dish and thought it would be interesting to post it on the forum. She made the dish and the relief design, bisqued it before sending it to me. I painted the design adding color and texture to the piece, then glazed with a clear glaze and fired it. It was fun working with her on this. She started the vision and I completed it, kind of a neat way of trying something new for both of us.

Have any of you ever collaborated on a piece with another potter? If so did you learn something new? Did you enjoy the experience and would you do it again?