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Idaho Potter

Member Since 26 Aug 2010
Offline Last Active Nov 27 2015 07:58 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Mounting Ceramic Birds On Metal Legs

27 January 2015 - 06:33 PM

A lot depends on the size of your birds.  If you are doing life-size song birds, brazing/soldering rods will probably suffice, and you can make feet by soldering smaller pieces together.  Look at photos of birds to see how their legs (angle, position) extend from their bodies, and make holes in the clay to accomadate the wire.  I'd also look into craft stores and see if some clever person has made bird feet for sale.  Lots of woodcarvers and potters make birds, so maybe someone has anticipated the need.



In Topic: Multi-Piece Slip Cast Mold Help

27 January 2015 - 06:07 PM

If, as you have written:  " Having 6 individual molds is just to big and unwieldy I've found." is true, you will really learn what unwieldy is when you handle a mold for three vases.  If you intend to reuse the mold multiple times, as quickly as possible, you need to make the plaster between the vases at least as thick as the outside walls of the mold or there will be moisture problems.  Interior walls will take longer to dry, and that means any casting will take longer to set up because the plaster will be absorbing moisture from both sides.  


Most working molds need walls at least 1 1/2" thick (refer back to comments made by bciskepottery) and double that to 3" between what you cast .  Add up the depth of plaster needed, plus the size of vase (I've allowed 2.5") and you come up with a length of 16 1/2 " , width of 5 1/2", height of 5"; plus the base plaster which also needs to be at least 1 1/2" thick.  Actually, if the base is to be 16 1/2" long, I'd make it reinforced with burlap, or mesh of some sort and another 1 1/2" of plaster.  Hope you are strong, in good shape, and have a friend to help. Because when you fill the mold and have to dump the excess slip, I'm not sure the word unwieldy will any longer suffice.



In Topic: Need Info On Using Old Plaster

27 January 2015 - 05:29 PM

I've used plaster that's over five years old and the only difference I found was that it took longer to cure.  I keep it in it's original bag in a galvanized garbage can in a room away from moisture (I live in a fairly dry climate).


If the powder is lumpy or anything coarser than flour, I'd dump it, as it has absorbed moisture to some extent and in all probability will not cure (set up).


I'm with oldlady on how to mix.  Use about the amount of water equal to how much finished plaster you want, and sift the dry plaster onto the water until an island of plaster is showing.  Then--with your hand--gently mix the plaster into the water.  Try to avoid making bubbles as this weakens the end result.  NEVER use a whisk or briskly agitate the mixture.  If you are checking to see if the plaster is still usable, I'd start the mix with one cup of water and go from there.  If it hasn't pretty well set up in 15 minutes it might not be usable.  You should be able to feel heat from the plaster--if there's no heat, the plaster should be thrown away and you need to  buy some new.  


I know many people on the forums use pottery plaster, or dental plaster  and consider those the only ones fit for their work.  Unless I am trying to replicate something with really fine detail, I buy my plaster at Lowe's or Home Depot and it works just fine.  Even if I need detail, I might put the first two thin coats of plaster using the expensive stuff, but then use cheese cloth and my industrial strength plaster to finish out a mold.  No problems so far.


Just my thoughts,    Shirley

In Topic: Who Needs Art . . .

06 October 2014 - 09:29 PM

This past weekend I listened to the TED radio hour (you might be more familiar with www.ted.com ) that discussed creativity from the point of view of a scientist, an educator (this was  the only name I remember--Sir Keith Robinson), and performance artists.  I will go to the TED website and look into it further.  


The main premise was that artist's brains, during the creative process, light up in certain areas like a pinball machine, but their frontal lobe actually almost disconnects at the same time.  Seems we artists need to get out of our own way so that the process can continue.  Creativity works better when we subdue our subconscious and quit worrying about failure and/or what anyone else may think of our efforts.  


We all need art.  Robinson said that education is now being operated the way a Fortune 500 corporation would handle it.  Corporations no longer hire people with only one degree they want more paperwork to flap about.  He also said that the more education leans that way, the less innovative the corporations will be because they will have eliminated any creativity that doesn't fit the "bottom line".


Boy, I hope not.



In Topic: Where Does Clay Stand In Fine Art

01 August 2014 - 03:42 PM

I happen to work in the "decorative art" of ceramics, because that's where my heart and background come together.  I would love to be able to make a teapot, casserole, or anything functional with ease that I see (or infer) in works by other potters.  I am in awe of those of you who can sit down and make six bowls that not only  look like a set, but stack one within the other. I make functional work sometimes that I'm willing to sign my name to, but not on a regular basis.


Because my background is primarily in sculpture & painting, I tend to use clay for those purposes--either as a sculpture or as a canvas for painting. I hope that there are potters who, like me, work in a narrow slice of ceramics art and fully admire those whose sense of art has broadened their interest and endeavors. Regardless of whether you consider yourself an artist or artisan I hold you in high regard for the simple fact that once you entered the art arena, you've not backed up one bit.