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Idaho Potter

Member Since 26 Aug 2010
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 04:45 PM

#53415 Underglaze Issue

Posted by Idaho Potter on 25 February 2014 - 07:13 PM

Treat underglazes like you would artist's paints.  Mix them.  If a yellow is too brash, add a little white.  If a blue is too dark, add a lighter blue--not white--and you'll find you still have a dark blue, but it won't look black.  There's a great vibrant blue (Marine Blue) that should work great to brighten rather than lighten the dark blue.


 I mix orange with yellow to achieve the interior of an orange, or mix with red to create a beautiful persimmon.  Amaco's colors are so stable, and true to the color on their test tiles, that they can be used in a very painterly way.  The only ones that still give me problems are the greens  and very pastel blues and grays.  If you want a lighter color, white is probably not your best choice.  Want to lighten a red?  Try adding yellow with a tiny touch of white (unless you want pink)  Want to darken a red? try green with a tiny touch of black.


Regardless of whether you paint on bone dry (as I do) or bisque, another firing at cone 06 is wise.  I've never had underglazes run if the ware has been fired after application.



#51481 Going Over To The Dark Side With A Pug Mill-Never Thought I'd Say That

Posted by Idaho Potter on 31 January 2014 - 10:48 PM

The main difference, between de-airing  or no, is not having to wedge the clay.  You turn on the de-airing vaccum while still mixing the clay.  Then, leaving the vacuum working, you switch from mixing (let the auger completely stop) to pugging.  After you have emptied the pugmill, turn off both the vacuum and the pugger.  For heaven's sake, remember to open the vacuum line and release the pressure.  By the way, the vacuum pressure should be between 20 & 25 PSI before switching from mixing to pugging.


I use reclaimed clay for throwing, else why have a pugmill?  Mark, I don't work in porcelain, but porcelain is why they finally came out with a stainless steel Peter Pugger--because it's not supposed to compromise the clay. 


I've had my Peter Pugger for almost eleven years, and my back and wrists thank me.  It may keep me playing in the mud into my nineties, which is better than hanging out at the senior center's bar.



#45364 Fyi Re: Purloined Intellectual Porperty

Posted by Idaho Potter on 08 November 2013 - 10:22 PM

For many years, (painters) artists have set up in museums to copy the works of the masters--with the understanding that the work is attributed to the master and can only be sold as a copy.  Most artists wouldn't even think of selling them, but would gift them to family or friends.  The attribute is plainly shown on the FRONT of the copy/  It is an integral part of the painting. This was a good way to learn different techniques, and the original painter wasn't around to ask permission.  It was accepted with restrictions.


Back in the day when I headed up juried art shows, we would usually have at least three paintings entered that were direct copies of photos from National Geographic.  Those were returned to the submitting artist with a short bit of  literature on copyright infringement.  Some learned from this, others--never.


Copy if you want to learn techniques, but for heaven's sake, learn and burn!



#44802 Sink In My Classroom Solution

Posted by Idaho Potter on 29 October 2013 - 12:07 AM

How deep are your sinks?  If they are over 12" in depth, buy some plastic pipe that fits IN the drain hole.  Drill a lot of small (1/8" to 1/4") holes in the upper one third of the pipe.  Use a good tub caulking to fix it in place (over the weekend so it will cure),  the heavier particles will settle to the bottom and the clearest water will go through the small holes and then down the drain.  I'd still recommend using  a bucket for the first rinse,  At the end of the day dig out any goo, and recycle


My studio solution is regular double sinks positioned over double laundry tubs.  The sinks drain into the tubs  from a straight length of pipe and the laundry tubs have 16" stand pipes with the holes in the top third.  I have been using this system since 1985 and have never had to call a plumber.  (reference:  find directions for a plaster sink setup, and it's all there).  



#43142 First Firing of My Homemade Raku Kiln

Posted by Idaho Potter on 23 September 2013 - 08:26 PM

My first load usually takes about an hour, second is about 40 minutes, after that (kiln is hot by this time) subsequent firings take 15 to 20 minutes.  Another thing is if the day is cool - cold, have a propane heater on top of another propane tank and keep your glazed pots very warm.  I know, everyone says stack next load on top of kiln, NOT GOOD IF YOUR KILN ONLY OPENS FROM THE TOP.  Too much shifting of pots,  I use an old card table next to a propane heater--works fine.


I can't help you with all the science discussed, because I play it by ear--literally.  I have marked the knurled knob so I know where to set the propane for the first setting.  First load, I leave it there for 20 - 30 min, then turn it up according to how the roar sounds.  Can't describe it, it's just one of those things you get to know.  I only do two turn ups of gas and keep an eye on the glaze glossing which tells me when it's ready to pop the top. 


If you're ever in Idaho, stop by and take a listen.




edit:  Meant to also say that I use three soft kiln bricks to balance my shelf (fiber under those bricks and kiln bricks under fiber with hard bricks under those).  My kiln measures 20" dia. by 24" height--including space below shelf.  Over the years, I've decided I'd rather fire smaller loads because frequently I'm the only one doing the firing and pose-reduction.  I can only keep track of limited number of things.  Don't multi-task as well as I once did.

#42164 New Guy, Strange Question

Posted by Idaho Potter on 06 September 2013 - 07:45 PM

Back when I was a woodcarver, I sharpened my own tools, and for the most part used regular sharpening "stones" that either used oil or water to remove the metal filings.  Over time, I found I liked man-made "stones" best because they sharpened faster and gave a good edge to the tools.  I own a ceramic stone--white--that can put a great edge on a flat beveled chisel, but don't think there's any way this could be done in a pottery studio.  The stone is white ceramic approx two inches by six inches by almost one and a half thick.  Surface testure is really fine, and I used it primarily for my detail chisels.  I also have a ceramic "stick" for kitchen knives, but it is brown with a coarser texture.  Whatever you use, make sure you are either using oil or water to flush the metal filings away so you don't nick the edges of any tools.



#41215 Top Ten Myths About Creativity

Posted by Idaho Potter on 22 August 2013 - 01:16 AM

When I was still just a painter, I was at a show and had set up my booth next to an older gentleman who did remarkable seascapes.  As we sat there for four days, he kept working on a painting, and the most frequent question he  was asked was, "How long did it take you to do that?"


His reply was always the same, "It has taken me sixty-two years, several additional months and a handful of days.  I have been an artist all my life, and everything I do is a culmination of every effort--success and/or failure--I have made producing art."


I feel the same.  If someone asks you how long did it take, just think back to the first time when art--in any form--excited you and made you create something, right then, right there.  For all our knowledge and experience is based on what we have done in the past.  Not being content with the past forces us to work hard in the present so we will continue to work into the future.



#41083 Hiring An Assistant

Posted by Idaho Potter on 20 August 2013 - 01:33 AM

Over the years, I have worked at many jobs--both as an employee and as an independent contractor.  I lived in a small town and full time jobs were hard to come by, so I put the word about that I could do small business payrolls, was well acquainted with the forms that were needed, and could track the businesses income & expenses.  At one time I probably had six or seven people I worked for. They'd bring their box of papers, checkbook registers, new hires, and once a month I'd do the P & L and twice a month the payroll.


If you hire part-time independents, they will charge enough to make sure your portion of FICA taxes are included in what you pay them.  Anything in the low to mid $20's is probably good for both of you.  Judging whether your hire is independent or not shouldn't be a problem, because if they are also working for other businesses--even if it isn't as a potter--which means they are independent.  They expect to work at various jobs for a variety of businesses.  The "bomb" doesn't exist.  It is a figment of someone's imagination who probably tried to skirt the tax issues and got caught.  Honesty really is the best policy

#40549 How To Make Simple Terra Sigilatta In A Plastic Bottle

Posted by Idaho Potter on 09 August 2013 - 06:15 PM

Benzine, I use Terra Sig when I want a burnished look without a lot of effort.  Applying it to pots and buffing it with an automobile polish glove or plastic grocery sack or--as Marcia suggested--a soft sponge.  I use it for horsehair raku, and for ware that I apply underglaze decoration.  I even (gasp!) use the dreaded Giffin Grip so the buffing goes faster. 


My Terra Sig is made the old-fashioned way of mixing my own clay goop until smooth, adding a dash of sodium silicate then let set for 48 hours.  I then pour off the top two layers and throw out the gunk at the bottom.  Stir well, and do the same again. 


I first started using terra sig as a way to make the foot of my pots smooth so they wouldn't destroy my grand piano (or Jim's).  Now I pretty much finish all my wares with it, as I like the smooth finish.  I think all ceramic ware should have this applied to the foot and wish I'd known about using it before I actually started using it. 


In pit firing and raku, using terra sig allows you to polish and shine parts of a pot and it makes a great contrast with the unpolished areas.  You end up with the unglazed areas in both shiny and matte black (caused by the carbonizing of the clay in post-firing reduction).


There's probably other reasons for other people, these are my uses. 


What was your next question?



#39831 How Much Warping To Expect In Bisque Fire

Posted by Idaho Potter on 29 July 2013 - 03:26 PM

Jayne, you used to do figurative sculptures, and if you still are, firing the irregular shape sculpture on its side could cause additional stress to the bases and set everything askew.  Unless you could keep the sculpture and the base on an even level, I think warping is a definite possibility. 


Most of the discussion here has been about plates and platters.  Unless your recent work resembles those items, I don't see how it pertains to sculpture.  Seeing as it is a bisque firing, you can arrange your sculptures close enough to touch.  I think if a sculpture is created in an upright position on a base and, is intended to be in that same position when finished, that is how it should be fired.



#39513 If You Could Have Three People From The Ceramics World, Living Or Dead To Din...

Posted by Idaho Potter on 24 July 2013 - 06:33 PM

I would invite my current favorites--all from these forums.


John Baymore for his wisdom and humor,

TJ  for his humor and I want to know more about Canada

Jim "Offcenter" for his humor and common sense

add Benzine because he finishes my favorite quartet


They are all potters who willingly share their knowledge and leaven it with humor.  Add beer or wine and it's a party!

#39508 Best Wire Tool - Diy

Posted by Idaho Potter on 24 July 2013 - 05:43 PM

I understand the foil cap to foil the creepies, but--silly me--thought the thicker wire was for sending messages.  Aren't you the voice in my head?


BTW, my grandson plays in a band (who would have thought?) so I get guitar strings anytime I need a handful. 


All joking aside, I like the regular cut-off wire tools, but students who refuse to place the wire and only pull ONE handle have cost me at least 3 new wires each session.   AArrrrrghhh!



#38559 Plate Repair

Posted by Idaho Potter on 09 July 2013 - 03:01 PM

I agree with Doris and Diane,  I would either find a way to make a rack (holder) for each half and beautify the exposed edge, or find some way of hanging them.  It broke after the post-firing reduction as I see the exposed break isn't carbonized.  You can take a black marking pen (Sharpie) and leave it like that, or I like Diane's idea of gold accent (gold pens or even Rub & Buff).  You've heard of diptych (a two piece painting where the viewer fills the intervening blank area with their {gestalt}  imagination).  I think your dual fishes fit the bill very well.


The one thing I wouldn't do is glue the pieces together.  Start a new trend with diptychs or even triptychs--and do them on purpose.  I love the idea, but don't want to steal your thunder, so I will wait awhile.  Your work is so imaginative, this should fit right in.



#37923 Making a mold

Posted by Idaho Potter on 28 June 2013 - 02:06 AM

Evan, all joking aside, you need cottle boards. Plaster expands as it cures, and if you confine it to a box where the sides are screwed together, you are likely to have the mold split/crack when you are unable to release a corner as the plaster cures. Cottle boards and ratchet clamps are staple items when making a mold. As to what type of boards to use, look for the smoothest surface (at least one side) and lumber or plywood work well once they are sealed and a release agent is applied. You really need to be able to release the form quickly and easily.

Also, if this is your first mold, make your application in layers. Cover the object you are taking a mold from with splashed/flicked on (by hand) layer that gets all the detail you need. Then apply another layer and reinforce it with strips of burlap or some other open weave cloth (only necessary if the mold is large and will be used multiple times). When the plaster has set then pour the next batch of plaster to cover everything and fill up your "box". Jiggle the table a lot to get the bubbles to rise to the top (bubbles weaken the mold) or lightly tap the boards with a rubber mallet.

I never measure plaster and water. I pick my container fill it with water equal to the amount of plaster I figure I can mix and apply before it starts to set up. I then slowly sift the plaster over & into the water--without stirring--until it forms an island. I then (wearing gloves) reach into the bottom of the container and gently lift and mix with squeezing motions. Don't stir with a stick or mixer of any sort--way too many air bubbles.

Good luck!


#37507 Trying to mount a large, heavy ceramic piece to wall

Posted by Idaho Potter on 22 June 2013 - 12:47 AM

Do what AYJAY suggested, look up french cleat on Google. There's even a YouTube showing how to make one. I've used this method to hang heavy wall pieces and it's simple to make and easy to hang the piece without a lot of help. I hadn't realized you could get metal ones (I've always used 3/4" plywood), so you'd have to choose the one that would work best for your work. I am not in favor of hanging wire because it seldom holds an artwork (especially a heavy one) flat against the wall. The other thing I'd do besides--as Marcia suggested-- checking out the wall material at the museum is to have a conversation with the museum's curator--they will know what has worked best in past shows.