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Member Since 15 Sep 2013
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 04:48 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Help! Newbie Struggling With How Much Water?

18 May 2017 - 11:57 AM

I know the feeling.


When you watch someone else, it looks like they are working with clay the consistency of thick yogurt.  When you try it, the clay feels like almost set concrete.


Follow the advice above and just keep trying.  It took me about two years (intermittently at evening classes) to get the clay to centre and cone up and down.  It's just a case of getting in the zone, try it with your eyes closed, and pushing the clay with your mind as much as with your body.  It's a whole body workout, not your fingers, not your hands, not your arms, not your shoulders, not your back or your stomach, but all of them working together.


Experts make everything look easy, the rest of us have to practice, practice and then practice some more.

In Topic: Nine Warning Signs Of An Amateur Artist

11 May 2017 - 03:14 AM







lol - sounds like my mum.  If I asked her "how do I........ spell/make/cook/sew/.......  She'd reply with "how do you think you ........." and then talk me through my own answers.


Actually, thinking about it, I do the same when I'm teaching Bikeability.  The kids ask are we really going to ride on the road and I say, what's Bikeability all about, and they remember what I told them at the beginning - riding your bike, safely, on the road.


I sometimes wish you could just get a straight answer from people, but in reality, I think you learn more the other way.

In Topic: Teaching Ceramics to Adults

05 May 2017 - 08:38 PM


Any help would be appreciated.  We can't afford to buy greenware....we are totally supported by donations, so we really need to have someone teach us this necessary skill


Thank you in advance for your help


Sharon Wertz, ACBVI, Phoenix.


Hi Sharon, welcome to CAD forums, and good on you for volunteering.


I'm too far to away come and help, but slip-casting (pouring) is (to me) the easiest job in the studio.


Like everything though, you will need to test, test, test and make good notes.


  • Start with a two-piece mould.  Apply mould straps so mould cannot openup.
  • Using a soft brush, make sure there is nothing inside, no dust, old clay, spiders nests........
  • Stir your bucket of slip thoroughly for several minutes.  If it's been hanging around for a while you might want to sieve it.
  • Using a plastic jug with an open-bottomed handle scoop up some slip.
  • Pour the slip into the mould until it is full to the very top.
  • Hang the jug on the rim of the bucket, so it drips back into the bucket.
  • Set a minute-timer for 10 minutes.  I use 10 for earthenware, 20 for stoneware slip, but this differs depending on heat and humidity.
  • Meanwhile, find a pair of flat sticks or an old fridge shelf and place over top of bucket, to hold upturned mould.
  • When timer goes off, use a plastic tool to cut a small v-shape (10mm by 10mm max) from the setting slip in the pour hole so you can see the thickness of the cast.
  • Re-set timer for more if needed.
  • Pour slip from mould back into bucket.
  • Leave mould upturned on sticks until slip stops running out.
  • Leave upside down, or right way up for several hours (again this depends on humidity), until you can see the clay start to shrink away from the mould.
  • Use thin end of plastic tool (lucy tool - http://www.cromartie...85_800x479.jp)  to remove clay from the pour hole.  This action is a bit like scraping round a bowl with a spatula to remove all the cake mix.
  • Undo mould straps. Place mould on side with seam horizontal.  
  • Use thick end of plastic (lucy) tool to gently prise the two halves of mould apart, then lift top half of mould away from bottom half.
  • Allow to dry a bit more, then carefully remove "pot" from mould.
  • Put the mould back together, with mould straps and leave in a dry, airy place for <>24 hours before re-using (depending on, yes, you've guessed, the humidity.
  • Place pot on thick piece of foam and fettle (clean up the seams etc) when leatherhard.

Wash, rinse, spin, repeat


The really difficult bits are deciding how long to leave the slip in the mould, and knowing when to open the mould, and the physical size and weight of some of the moulds.


Not enough/too much time = too thin or too thick castings.  Opening the mould too soon usually results in tearing the pot apart as it is still sticking to parts of the mould.  Leaving too long for a simple vase, say, might not be a problem, but for a complex figurine, the shrinkage can pull the pot apart.


You can allow any boo-boos to dry completely and then throw them back in the slip bucket, or start a new bucket and add water.


You can add (I recall) up to one third recycled, dry slip to a bucket of new slip without too much problem.  More than that and you need to read this article: http://www.ceramicin...ul-slip-castingand then this one: https://static1.squa... Procedures.pdf.  It's a bit heavy going, but doable.



Good luck   :)  

In Topic: Filling The Kiln With Tiles

04 May 2017 - 01:46 AM

My firing was successful.  


Cheap terracotta clay was rolled out to 16mm thickness on a hand operated mangle/wringer.  


Cut with a commercial tile cutter.


 Allowed to dry to leather-hard, then carved by scouts.


Allowed to dry very slowly for four weeks before firing.


Not familiar with your clay, but I've never had any clay blow up.  How thick are you making them?  How well wedged is the clay?  How long are you drying them for. 


The cause for blow-ups is moisture.  If the tiles have air bubbles, the inside surface of the bubble will take forever to dry as it is not exposed to the air, and cannot evaporate from the surface, only through the bulk of the clay.  The outside surface forms a crust (during the drying/shrinking process) making it hard for the moisture deep within to evaporate out.

In Topic: Tips For Shipping Pottery In Crate

01 May 2017 - 05:04 AM

Having just returned from a two-week holiday and a five-hour drive (152 miles) home, I felt I needed another holiday to recover.  


Maybe a five-hour drive (including driving around London) is different in the UK to the US.  Too many people driving too many cars.  


I'm in awe of the distances you guys will drive.